EpiPen Shortage Update for Families suffering from Allergies
When Back-to-School time rolls around every year we always remind the parents of kids with asthma and allergies to stock up on more than notebooks and tissue. It’s a good time to make sure you’ve got the inhalers and EpiPens your child needs to get through the school year safely, too.
Parents of kids with allergies typically need two boxes, or four pens, to make it through the year. Two for the school nurse’s office, and two for home.
Unfortunately, a 2018 EpiPen shortage may make this task difficult for parents this year.
According to Pfizer, the manufacturer of EpiPens, the company is experiencing “manufacturing constraints” that are making distribution at some pharmacies “iffy.” Generic EpiPens have been approved by the FDA but haven’t made it to market yet, making these distribution problems even more of a challenge for parents who may already have been challenged by the high price of epinephrine.
In response to the shortage, the FDA has reviewed certain lots of EpiPens and has chosen to extend the expiration dates on some pens. Thus, the first step for your child will be reviewing your current EpiPen lot to see if your current pens will tide them over until supplies stabilize. You can call our offices if you need help with this.
You can view the list of lots and the new expiration dates here. You will typically find the lot number on the top of the box your pens came in. Your pharmacy can also help if you’re having trouble finding your lot number.
What if your current batch of EpiPens is not part of the extension?
If that’s the case, we may be able to help you locate a pharmacy that currently has a sufficient supply to fill your prescription. With five locations throughout the state we sometimes have access to information other clinics won’t have. While receiving your pens may require a bit of a drive it’s worth it to know your child will have the lifesaving EpiPen on hand should he or she need it.
Mylan, the company that markets EpiPens, has also offered a hotline for parents looking for a place to fill their prescription. You can reach this hotline by dialing 1-800-796-9526.
Another option may be to explore whether your child can use one of the Epi alternatives out there, like Adrenaclick or Auvi-Q. You may have to speak to your insurance company about whether they’ll cover these alternatives. Even if your insurer doesn’t cover these alternatives normally some have been making one-time exceptions in response to the EpiPen shortage.
It doesn’t hurt to ask!
If you’re lucky enough to have an EpiPen that won’t expire for a few months anyway, we here at the Adult and Pediatric Allergy Associates would like to encourage you to wait on your refills. You’ll really help parents who have an emergency situation now. By the time your pens actually expire you might have managed to wait this shortage out. And at the very least, you won’t contribute to the current problem by replacing pens that don’t need to be replaced yet.