What Are the Most Common Epinephrine Side Effects?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2019
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Epinephrine is often given to patients to treat allergic reactions or numb the mouth before dental procedures, but the medication itself can sometimes cause discomfort or even severe medical problems. Some of the most common epinephrine side effects are considered minor, including nausea, vomiting, anxiety and dizziness. Other effects of epinephrine are more serious and constitute a medical emergency, because some patients may have high blood pressure or difficulty breathing. The patch of epinephrine that is often given before dental procedures tends to have different side effects, many of which are considered serious, including irregular heartbeat, seizures and fainting.

Some common epinephrine side effects are minor, though they should be mentioned to a doctor if they persist or cause a lot of discomfort. For example, many patients sweat more than usual and may feel weak and anxious after taking the medication. Dizziness, shortness of breath and pale skin also are considered rather common epinephrine side effects. Some patients may become nauseous and start vomiting or experience headaches, so feeling generally ill after a dose of epinephrine is often considered common. Patients who cannot deal with these side effects are encouraged to tell their doctor so another medication can be used for the next dose, if more than one is necessary.


There are more serious side effects that may occur with epinephrine, with difficulty breathing being a common issue. In many cases, this drug is supposed to improve the patient's ability to breathe during an allergic reaction so, if it gets worse after a dose of epinephrine, a doctor should be alerted immediately. Some patients also experience high blood pressure after a dose, which is usually signaled by confusion, chest pain and irregular heartbeat. It may be difficult to see or hear properly, because blurry vision and ringing in the ears may be experienced and a bad headache often accompanies these issues. Patients who notice these epinephrine side effects usually need to see a doctor immediately for treatment.

In some cases, epinephrine is mixed with other drugs, such as lidocaine, because the mixture of these two substances can numb the mouth before a dental procedure. For this reason, additional side effects may be noticed. Minor lidocaine and epinephrine side effects tend to be nausea, lightheadedness and some irritation where the medication was applied. There are, however, more serious side effects that may occur, including irregular heartbeat, fainting and seizures. Some patients also may experience vomiting, shortness of breath or sudden mood changes, all of which typically call for emergency treatment.


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Post 3

@turquoise-- I do! It's not surprising though because epinephrine is a synthetic adrenaline and too much adrenaline causes anxiety. Some people get affected more than others.

It has an important role in minor medical procedures though. It's often given with lidocaine to numb the patient, keep the airways open and prevent the heart rate from dropping too much. Unfortunately, it can cause an already worried patient to have an anxiety attack.

Post 2

Does anyone experience severe anxiety from this drug?

Post 1

I was given epinephrine at the dentist's office once. That was the worst experience ever! I reacted very badly to the drug. I became dizzy, confused and developed a migraine that lasted the rest of the day.

I don't allow my dentist to use this drug to numb me anymore.

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