Exploring alternatives to EpiPen amid shortage

HealthBeat

There are other options for auto-injectors than Epi-Pen

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The nationwide shortage of EpiPen continues but there are alternatives you can use when a life-threatening allergic reaction happens.

While most families are shopping for notebooks and new jeans, the parents of kids who suffer from severe food allergies also have to ensure they have epinephrine auto-injectors both at school and at home.

“To help their child be safe and included in all activities,” said Lisa Gable with Food Allergy Research an Education.

Gables said there continues to be shortages of the most commonly known injector — EpiPen.

The Food and Drug Administration urges people to keep and use their EpiPen for up to four months past their expiration date — but get immediate medical assistance afterward.

The FDA also fast-tracked approval of alternative injectors to fight allergic reactions.

“The challenge is those products are not accessible and available at all medical centers as well as retail operations,” Gable said.

Most national pharmacies carry only the EpiPen brand but that is slowly changing.

“Kaleo recently got Auvi-Q, so that it could be introduced a Walgreens,” Gable said.

You can find a list of independent pharmacies that carry alternative injectors on Healthmart.com.

Ensuring that prescriptions are not written for a specific brand name will improve the odds of getting the prescription filled by pharmacies and covered by your insurance.

“Make sure that you get as much flexibility in the way that they write that prescription,” Gable said.

KELOLAND News reached out to the Sioux Falls School District about EpiPens. Here is what they said:

“I talked with our Health Services Coordinator, Molly Satter and she said, for students with known allergies and their own supply of Epipen(s), we will work with families on an individual basis to determine options. If their Epipen has a lot number that is identified by the FDA as one that can be extended, we will allow the use of that with a release form on file (https://www.fda.gov/media/127690/download). Families are also advised to work with the doctor and check with various pharmacies on availability. Our stock Epinephrine (which is used for unknown/first time allergies) is not expired.”

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