By: Dr. Raphael Strauss & Dr. Robyn Kreiner (Strauss Allergy & Asthma, Commack & Westbury, NY)
Back-to-school for our food allergic children means not only new sneakers and backpacks but new epinephrine injectors for the school nurse. The media has been running stories about the shortage of EpiPen, the most prescribed brand of epinephrine injectors used to treat life-threatening anaphylactic allergic reactions. While the availability of Epipen has been impacted by intermittent manufacturing delays, several excellent alternatives are available. Generic epinephrine injectors are available. Also, AUVI-Q, produced by another company is readily available exclusively through the mail-order pharmacy ASPN. AUVI-Q is more compact and easier to use than other injectors with high patient satisfaction.
Finally, a recent study demonstrated that epinephrine injectors lose potency very slowly over time and are still useful long after the expiration date. If cost or availability is an issue we recommend that patients may hold on to their injectors for personal use for up to a year past expiration. Schools and day care centers, however, are not permitted to take expired medication.
In short, there is no reason to increase your back to school anxiety. Call for an appointment to review your options and the emergency action plan for your child or yourself.