EpiPen® Brand in Short Supply. There are alternatives!
School has started, and many parents and teachers are finding it hard to locate the name brand EpiPen® (epinephrine injection, USP) for use in allergic emergencies before the patient reaches the emergency room. A student or teacher at risk of allergic reactions needs this portable life-saving injection available at all times in case of a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. In an August 17 article by Chris Sommer of KRLD 1, the recent shortage of the Mylan EpiPen® (2) was highlighted along with some reassuring news.
Manufacturing changes for the EpiPen®, due to an FDA violation in Sept, 2017, (3,4) have resulted in reduced production and a supply shortage of EpiPens for allergy sufferers. However, there is good news about alternatives. KRLD’s interview reported this quote from Dr. Rajiv Pandit, "For many years, EpiPen was our only option, but there are other products that are now currently available.” (1)
Dr. Pandit recommends that you request your prescription be written for an “epinephrine auto-injector” rather than for “EpiPen" by name. “That gives the pharmacist the opportunity to select one of the other products that are now available," added Dr. Pandit. (1)
Dr. Pandit also mentioned two alternative epinephrine auto-injection products that are available: Adrenaclick (5) by Amedra Pharmaceuticals and Auvi-Q 6 by Kaleo, with this advice, “They don't work exactly like the EpiPen, so it's very important that if you get one of these other products - which work just as well - that you take the time to understand how to use them, just as you would for the EpiPen." (1)
Also, Teva Pharmaceuticals has just received FDA approval to produce a new generic epinephrine auto-injector. That product is not widely available yet. (7)
According to Dr. Pandit, parents should never send their allergic child to school without auto-injectable epinephrine. Here are some other important considerations if you or someone you know is at risk for anaphylaxis. (6)
- Anaphylaxis is an emergency medical condition that can quickly progress after initial symptoms begin.
- Individuals with asthma and/or allergies who have had a severe allergic reaction at one time are more likely to experience anaphylaxis.
- In the U.S., the number of anaphylactic events has risen in recent years.
- Common allergens that trigger anaphylaxis include food, insect stings and bites, medications, and latex.
- Data estimates food-related allergic emergencies average sending someone to the hospital every 3 minutes.
- Peanut allergies are becoming more prevalent in children.
- Learn to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis and know how to respond.