July 10, 2019
Allergists can teach patients how to use alternatives
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 10, 2019) – As parents start to plan for the upcoming school year, many are worried they won’t be able to find needed epinephrine autoinjectors due to a shortage of EpiPens. Despite the shortage of EpiPens over the last year, other autoinjectors are available in pharmacies and should be considered by anyone who has a severe allergy that might result in anaphylaxis.
“No one should fear they won’t have epinephrine in an allergy emergency,” says allergist Todd Mahr, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “Your allergist is a great resource to help you find either an EpiPen or one of the other epinephrine autoinjectors on the market. All autoinjectors contain epinephrine, and that’s the needed ingredient to halt an anaphylactic reaction. Your allergist may also be able to assist you with copay programs to help defer costs for some of the products.”
Here’s what you need to know about your options for available autoinjectors:
- Shortages of EpiPens are ongoing, depending on where you live. There are two generic versions widely available with some shortages also seen regionally.
- Auvi-Q products (three doses) are available through a specialty pharmacy and, starting July 11, will also be available at Walgreens.
- Adrenaclick and generic Adrenaclick are available with some shortages.
- Symjepi is available in two doses, but this is not an autoinjector. It is a pre-filled syringe that patients must inject themselves.
If you have expired autoinjectors and experience an anaphylactic reaction, it’s better to use an expired device than nothing at all as the epinephrine might be good after the expiration date. However, with alternatives available, no one should have to rely on expired medication.
“No one with severe allergies should ever be without their life-saving medication, including epinephrine, despite a shortage or costs,” says Eleanor Garrow-Holding, President and CEO of Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT). “Individuals need access to epinephrine, as anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition, and epinephrine is the first line of treatment.”
Ongoing issues with access to epinephrine auto-injectors are a concern for anyone at risk of anaphylaxis, which is potentially life-threatening. But patients have more options now than even a year ago.
“This is especially important for food allergic patients, for whom avoidance and epinephrine treatment is their only therapeutic option” says allergist Thomas Casale, MD, Chief Medical Advisor of Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE).
Work with your pharmacist or allergist to find available epinephrine autoinjectors. If you are unsure of how to use a new autoinjector, your pharmacist or allergist can help. Use the ACAAI allergist locator to find an allergist in your area.
FAACT’s mission is to educate, advocate, and raise awareness for all individuals and families affected by food allergies and life-threatening anaphylaxis. FAACT is also your voice for food allergy awareness, from keeping children safe at school to dealing with workplace issues or simply taking the family out for a bite to eat. Managing a food allergy on a daily basis involves constant vigilance. FAACT is here to support you in managing your food allergies – today, tomorrow, and into the future. For more information, please visit us at www.FoodAllergyAwareness.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterst and Youtube.
Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) is the world’s leading food allergy advocacy organization and the largest private funder of food allergy research. Our mission is to improve the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments. FARE is transforming the future of food allergy through innovative initiatives that will lead to increased awareness, new and improved treatments and prevention strategies, effective policies and legislation and novel approaches to managing the disease. For more information, please visit www.foodallergy.org.
The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.