Using the Auvi-Q Auto Injector: An Overview

The Auvi-Q Auto Injector, like an EpiPen, is for the emergency relief of Type I (anaphylactic) allergic reactions.

The Auvi-Q injects the body with epinephrine to reduce severe allergy symptoms such as itching, hives, flushed skin, swelling of the tongue, lips, roof of the mouth, throat and chest tightness, difficulty breathing, and low blood pressure.

Epinephrine in the Body

Epinephrine, also called adrenaline, is a natural hormone secreted by our adrenal glands. When we feel threatened, the brain sends signals the adrenal gland to release epinephrine. The epinephrine energizes major muscles in our body, helping us respond to a perceived threat.

Once released, epinephrine affects different areas of our body in various ways. In the lungs, it triggers a relaxation of smooth muscle. The lung’s bronchioles relax and respirations are expanded. Epinephrine also narrows blood vessels to prevent low blood pressure and dizziness or fainting.

These effects on lung and blood vessel tissue are why we use epinephrine injections to counteract life-threatening allergic reactions. It is why those at risk for anaphylaxis are encouraged to carry an EpiPen, or an Auvi-Q auto injector.

The Auvi-Q Auto Injector

EpiPens and the Auvi-Q serve the same purpose. The advantages offered by the newer Auvi-Q are:

  1. It gives voice and visual cues, guiding users through the injection process.
  2. Giving the injection is a “press and hold” action. The holding time, which is five seconds, is audibly counted down by the Auvi-Q device.
  3. A retractable needle mechanism that helps prevent accidental injection is activated by the “press and hold” action.
  4. It is easy to carry in pocket or purse. The Auvi-Q is about the height and width of a credit card and just over a half inch thick.

After watching a short demonstration video (at, it is apparent almost anyone could use the Auvi-Q correctly simply by following its audible commands. There are also printed instructions and diagrams in the box and on the device.

The Auvi-Q is not dependent on a battery for use. The injection mechanism works independently from the electronic components. It is available in two prescription strengths, one for those weighing 33 to 66 lbs., and one for those over 66 lbs.

Using the Auvi-Q

To use an Auvi-Q the device’s voice instruction tells you to:

  1. Pull the device out of its cover. (With a tug, it slips out of its case much like a credit card being pulled of a wallet slot.)
  2. Pull off the red safety cap. (This exposes the black needle mechanism end of the device.)
  3. Press and hold the black end of the device against the middle of the outer thigh for five seconds. It works through clothing. (A “click and hiss” sound indicates the injection mechanism has been engaged, and the audible five-second countdown begins.)
  4. Seek medical attention immediately, slip the Auvi-Q back into its cover and give it to a healthcare professional for disposal; and get a new Auvi-Q prescription from your doctor—they can only be used once. (Epinephrine has a short half-life, so symptom reduction is temporary - and why immediate medical attention is necessary.)

It is hard to imagine giving an emergency injection could be any simpler.

Sources: Medical News; Auvi-Q
Photo credit: Dan4th Nicholas / flickr

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