Difference Between Adrenaline and Epinephrine

Adrenaline and epinephrine are two names of the same hormone. Usually, such words do not mean the same; however, it is not the case for this pair of words.

In most cases, you will notice that both have slightly different; Adrenaline and epinephrine are two names of the same hormone.

Adrenaline and Epinephrine are both used as drugs to treat shock, anaphylactic allergic response, cardiac arrest etc. The two are very similar in appearance, and when injected, will both raise blood pressure.

However, they have different functions in the body. This article will tell you what is the difference between Adrenaline and Epinephrine:

Adrenaline vs Epinephrine

The main difference between adrenaline and epinephrine is that the adrenaline is the British-approved name whereas epinephrine is the internationally-recommended name for the hormone produced by the medulla of the adrenal gland for the same substance. Although both adrenaline and epinephrine are involved in the fight-or-flight response, they play different roles in the body, with adrenaline being released in response to a stressful, thrilling, hazardous, or scary circumstance while epinephrine released in response to stress.

Adrenaline vs Epinephrine

Adrenaline gets released when the body is under attack by a foreign substance — like when you get stung by a bee or bitten by a dog.

It’s responsible for preparing your body for battle — increasing your heart rate and tightening your muscles so that you’ll be ready to fight.

Epinephrine is the chemical name for adrenaline. It’s a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands to help the body respond to stress and deal with dangerous or harmful situations.

This can be Epinephrine levels can increase when you’re nervous or stressed, which can make you feel sick, dizzy, or sweaty and cause your heart rate to increase and your blood pressure to drop.

Comparison Table Between Adrenaline and Epinephrine

Parameters of ComparisonAdrenaline Epinephrine
TypeAdrenaline is a hormone in the body.Epinephrine is a sympathomimetic drug in the body.
Another nameEpinephrine is another name for adrenaline.Norepinephrine is another name for epinephrine, and some people call it adrenaline.
ResponseAdrenaline is a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and helps control heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.Epinephrine is a drug that responds to stress and fear, along with other emotions.  
StructureAdrenaline is made of phenylalanine.Epinephrine is made of tyrosine.
ReceptorsAdrenaline has adrenergic receptors with multiple subgroups (α1, α2, β1, β2, β3), and several subtypes of the α2 subgroup (α2A, α2B, α2C).Epinephrine binds both α and β adrenergic receptors.
PropertiesAdrenaline gives you more energy because it stimulates your nervous system, increases your heart rate, and opens up your airways, allowing you to breathe more easily. Epinephrine also dilates blood vessels and stimulates the liver to produce glucose (sugar), which provides more energy.  
Founded byAdrenaline was founded by Friedrich Stolz and Henry Drysdale Dakin independently in 1904.Epinephrine was founded by Friedrich Stolz, a German chemist, in 1904.
ApprovalThe BAN(British Approved Name) has given its approval to adrenaline.INN (International Non-Proprietary Name) has given its approval to Epinephrine.

What is Adrenaline?

When you hear the word adrenaline, you probably think of something exciting like a roller coaster ride or a life-or-death situation.

Treating heart disease with adrenaline is nothing new. It’s been used for decades to treat certain types of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions).

Adrenaline is also a common treatment for acute heart failure — when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs — and cardiac arrest (when the heart suddenly stops beating).

In these cases, adrenaline helps the heart keep pumping until other treatments can affect it.

Adrenaline is also sometimes used by people who have congenital heart defects that cause blood to move more slowly through their bodies. In these cases, adrenaline causes blood vessels called veins to constrict, creating higher pressure in the veins near the heart and forcing more blood back into the heart. 

This treatment can slow or even temporarily stop bleeding in severe cases that may otherwise require surgery. The constriction of veins also helps prevent fluid from building up in the lungs during surgery.

What is Epinephrine?

Epinephrine is a hormone that occurs naturally in the human body.

It is secreted by the adrenal gland and part of the autonomic nervous system, regulating unconscious actions such as breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, and digestion.

A person’s body will produce small amounts of epinephrine all the time. However, it is also readily available at most pharmacies as an over-the-counter drug. People use EpiPens to treat severe allergic reactions.

The drug works by binding to certain receptors in the body called alpha-1 receptors.

When this happens, certain chemicals increase in the body, which can help restore normal blood pressure and other bodily functions.

The drug also relaxes muscles in the lungs, which helps prevent respiratory failure in serious cases.

Epinephrine may also be given intravenously or through an injection into a muscle. It usually takes effect within minutes, although some effects can take up to 15 minutes to occur.

More than likely, you or someone you love has experienced an allergic reaction before.

Foods like shellfish, nuts, and berries are common triggers for these reactions, which can cause symptoms like itching, hives, and swelling, leading to difficulty breathing and shock.

Main Difference Between Adrenaline and Epinephrine

1. Adrenaline is used in medicine to treat cardiac arrest and low blood pressure (hypotension), while epinephrine is used to combat anaphylaxis.

2. Adrenaline is a hormone that helps your body deal with stress and dangerous or harmful situations, and epinephrine can be helpful in a situation where you need to fight or run away from something and have extra energy. Still, it can also negatively affect your body if it isn’t controlled.

3. The main difference between adrenaline and epinephrine is that they are made of different amino acids. Adrenaline is made of phenylalanine, and epinephrine is made of tyrosine.

4. Adrenaline does not contain any sulfur, so it has different chemical properties than epinephrine. On the other hand, epinephrine structure contains sulfur, carbon, and hydrogen.

5. Adrenaline is a hormone released into the bloodstream during stressful or dangerous situations. Epinephrine, on the other hand, is an adrenal gland hormone that has a similar chemical makeup as adrenaline but is produced by the body itself.

Difference Between Adrenaline and Epinephrine


Adrenaline and epinephrine are two of the most vital hormones that assist the body stay healthy both internally and emotionally.

If the event occurred before or during trauma or is considered traumatic, it is probably adrenaline. If the event occurred later and was not itself traumatic, it is likely epinephrine.

Despite the fact that they perform many of the same functions, their imbalance can result in a variety of health problems.

Hopefully, this will help you distinguish between these two hormones in your research to pinpoint the best hormone for treating your condition.


  1. https://www.jci.org/articles/view/109718
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/280235a0
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