Intravenous Heparin as an Adjunct for the Treatment of Anaphylactic Reactions in an Emergency Department
Intravenous Heparin as an Adjunct for the Treatment of Anaphylactic/Anaphylactoid Reactions in the Emergency Department
  • Phase

  • Study Type

  • Status

  • Study Participants

To determine if intravenous unfractionated heparin (with standard therapy) for treatment of anaphylaxis results in faster time to recovery.
Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening entity that requires both immediate recognition and aggressive treatment. Although anaphylaxis is infrequent, comprising only 1% of approximately 1.03 million visits to the ED each year that are related to allergic reactions, it is none the less a generally under-recognized and under-treated disease, that is worthy of study due to the potential for a fatal outcome. Recently, there has been renewed interest in a commonly used and inexpensive drug (heparin) as a novel component of therapy for anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions. Heflin eft al. induced anaphylactoid reactions in pigs and compared intravenous unfractionated heparin in one treatment arm to standard therapy (intravenous epinephrine and diphenhydramine) versus placebo. The study revealed that heparin rapidly reversed the shock similar to that of standard emergency treatment. Of course this single study done in pigs will not change practice, but it does warrant further investigation into the role that heparin plays in anaphylaxis in humans.
Study Started
Dec 31
Primary Completion
Dec 31
Study Completion
Dec 31
Last Update
Jan 09

Drug Intravenous heparin

Intravenous heparin as an adjunct for the treatment of anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions in the Emergency Department. To determine if a single bolus of intravenous unfractionated heparin (in conjunction with standard therapy) given to patients with anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions results in a faster time to recovery when compared to standard therapy alone.

Drug Saline

Standard treatment (epinephrine, corticosteroids, diphenhydramine, and H2 blockers) and saline.

2 Placebo Comparator

Standard treatment (epinephrine, corticosteroids, diphenhydramine, and H2 blockers) plus an equal volume bolus of normal saline after the first doses are administered.

1 Experimental

Standard therapy plus a one-time bolus of heparin at 80 U/kg (maximum dose of 10,000 Units) given immediately after the first doses of standard treatment.


Inclusion Criteria:

18 years and older
English speaking
Meets one of the above definitions of anaphylaxis
Signs/symptoms onset <12 hours will get epinephrine or will not get epinephrine because of contraindication to epinephrine administration.

Exclusion Criteria:

History of Intracranial Hemorrhage at anytime
Known Cerebral Vascular Lesion (i.e. Aneurysm, Arteriovenous malformation)
Ischemic CVA within the last 3 months
Suspected Aortic Dissection
Active Bleeding
Known Bleeding/Clotting Disorder
Closed Head Trauma within the past 3 months
Major Surgery (Abdominal/Thoracic) within the last 3 weeks
Active GI Bleeding
Currently taking Warfarin
Allergy to Heparins
History of Heparin-induced Thrombocytopenia (AHA contraindications to fibrinolytic therapy 2005, Micromedix 2007)
No Results Posted