May
22

I’ve been hearing news reports about an EpiPen shortage over the last couple of weeks. Even FARE, the national food allergy advocacy group, appealed to the FDA to take action, citing multiple reports of patients having difficulty getting their hands on Mylan’s EpiPens and generic EpiPens.

We aren’t in need of renewing ours anytime soon, so I haven’t panicked over it yet. However, I’ve been hearing stories from parents in Facebook food allergy groups having difficulty getting EpiPens from their pharmacies, or the ones they are given expire within 6 months, rather than the usual 12 months we all expect.

If you are trying to figure out your best game plan, here are some options:

  1. Call Mylan customer relations at 800-796-9526 for assistance. This CNN article included a quote from Mylan encouraging people to call and that they’ve been able to successfully locate alternative pharmacies for patients who are having trouble finding EpiPens.
  2. Consider other epinephrine devices. The other main competitor product is called Auvi-Q, featuring voice directions and a compact size. This includes the same epinephrine drug that is in the EpiPen, but uses a different delivery system. If your have commercial insurance and it doesn’t cover Auvi-Q, they have an Auvi-Q affordability program which may help. We had good luck using this program in the past. You can also explore a prescription for the Adrenaclick, which is most well-known for being sold at CVS as an alternative to the EpiPen. This epinephrine product gained popularity as a less expensive option compared to EpiPens when they were under scrutiny for pricing last year. Some parents have reported confusion in using the product because it has an extra step than the typical EpiPen, however they generally get the hang of it. Unfortunately, I’ve heard the Adrenaclick trainer does not automatically come with the medicine. You can find instructions on how to get a free trainer on the Adrenaclick FAQ page. It is the 10th question on the page.
  3. Hang onto your EpiPens a bit longer. I am not a doctor and cannot give medical advice, however, I encourage you to read about the Expired EpiPen Safety Study testing the medicine’s efficacy after expiring at 12 months. They reported that 29 months after expiration, the pens contained at least 90% of their stated amount of epinephrine. Pens 50 months — more than four years — past the printed expiration date had more than 84% of the medication. Link to study abstract.

You can always reach out to your physician or allergist for help as well, as they may be able to offer counsel. Remember, it’s important to keep 2 epinephrine auto-injectors on you at all times, and if any epinephrine auto-injector is used to call 911.

 

You can find more of my food allergy posts, tips & recipes on my Food Allergy page. I’d also love to connect with you on my Marketing Mama facebook page and twitter. This post, and all posts on this blog, are written from my experiences as a parent of a child with food allergies. I am not a medical expert and encourage you to consult with a doctor on your personal medical situation.

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