9 Things About Food Allergy You Might Not Know
6. Is there a difference between different manufacturers of epinephrine?
There is no difference in the epinephrine contained in the automatic injectors that are available. The differences involved are differences in the device used to administer the epinephrine. For example, in the Twinject, two doses are supplied, but the second dose is not administered via an automatic injector but via a traditional syringe device. The generic is the same device as the Adrenaclick, which is an automatic epinephrine injector but it does not contain a sharps protector. Also the technique of administration is slightly different from that of the other automatic epinephrine injector, the EpiPen, which does contain a sharps guard to prevent an accidental needle stick. Because of the differences in these devices, make sure that you receive the same device that you were trained on. [Editor’s note: Since this article was written, the Auvi-Q (Allerject in Canada) auto-injector has also become available.]
7. How should auto-injector of epinephrine be stored? What if you live in a very hot or very cold climate year-round?
For information regarding the storage of the autoinjector, check the package insert. That said, you may find the advice given on the insert to be impractical. It is more important to keep the device with you even if it cannot be stored as described in the package insert. Therefore, in real life, the issue of keeping the injector with you trumps the storage suggestions supplied in the insert.
8. If you are having a severe allergic reaction and only have an expired auto-injector of epinephrine or one where the liquid is discolored, what should you?
First, when you pick up an auto-injector at the pharmacist, check the expiration date and write it down, as you should refill the injector before each expiration date. If, however, you have forgotten to do this, or find that you have an injector which is out of date, even one in which the liquid has turned slightly brown, it is safe to administer the drug. It will probably not have the same potency as would be found in the unexpired injector, but it will still have some effect. It is best to take advantage of that effect since the administration of an out-of-date epinephrine injector is not harmful.
9. How do we dispose of expired auto-injectors of epinephrine properly?
Injectors should be disposed of at a facility which has a “sharps disposal protocol.” Some pharmacies do have sharps disposal facilities, hospitals have such facilities, and physicians’ offices also have them.