Within the body, epinephrine is formed from tyrosine. The process begins when the enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase hydroxylates tyrosine to L-DOPA. Next, L-DOPA formed in step one undergoes the process of decarboxylation, and becomes dopamine. The dopamine is then hydroxylated again, yielding norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter. Finally, norepinephrine is methylated to form epinephrine.
Epinephrine may be artifically produced by the reaction of catechol and chloroacetyl chloride. This resulting compound is then reacted with methylamine, which is then reduced to a hydroxylic compound. Epinephrine may then be separated using tartaric acid.