Epinephrine is the only treatment that will stop a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis (anna-fih-LACK-sis). Epinephrine comes in the form of easy-to-use auto-injectors or a syringe. It is only available through a prescription from your doctor.
If you or your child has severe food allergies, you need to carry two epinephrine devices at all times. For children, this might mean having more than one set of medicine. For example, the child may need to keep one set at school and one set at after-school care. Another set typically remains at home. For adults, two devices might be enough.
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What types of devices are available?
What are the differences between the different brands?
What are other epinephrine options available?
How does it stop anaphylaxis?
What is the role of antihistamines in treating anaphylaxis?
How do you inject epinephrine?
What if you accidentally inject yourself?
What do you need to know about temperature storage?
Epinephrine is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis. Several epinephrine auto-injectors and a pre-filled syringe are now available in the United States. There are also generic versions. Each contains the drug epinephrine. But, each device has its own unique set of instructions for use. Understanding the differences is important so that you get the device you want and you know how to properly use it.
The chart below summarizes the key facts about each of the available epinephrine devices. More details are available at the manufacturers’ websites. These websites also have videos that show you how to use them.
Pharmacists must follow state and federal regulations when filling your prescription for epinephrine. You should keep this in mind when filling your prescription.
There are many states in which the pharmacist can substitute a generic form of the prescription. This must be on the prescription in writing. The pharmacist must also get a verbal approval from the doctor. If you or your doctor prefer to receive a specific brand name, your doctor must write the brand name and “DAW” (dispense as written) or “do not substitute” on the prescription. This notation prohibits the pharmacist from dispensing a generic form of the prescription. Before you leave the pharmacy, make sure the pharmacy fills your prescription exactly as you and your child’s doctor expects.
Remember to speak to your child’s doctor about which epinephrine product is best for your child. Each device works differently. Make sure that you have been trained to use the device that you leave the pharmacy with. Also, review the training video for that device.
Copay card provides a maximum benefit of $300 per EpiPen® two-pack (up to three cartons per prescription) and can be redeemed up to six times. If your pharmacy does not accept the card, your pharmacist can call Mylan to confirm at 1-800-796-9526 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday). Mylan also has a Patient Assistance Program.
Patients can register on the product website for an e-mail reminder when their medicine will expire
Use the Mylan's Epinephrine Injection, USP Auto-Injector Savings Card to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for a maximum benefit of $25 per generic two-pack. It can be redeemed up to three times. If your pharmacy does not accept the card, your pharmacist can call Mylan to confirm at 1-800-796-9526 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday). Mylan also has a Patient Assistance Program.
Patients can register on the product website for an e-mail reminder when their medicine will expire.
Patients with commercial insurance may save up to $30 per carton, up to three per prescription. If you have any questions, call 1-800-422-5604.
Training devices are available for free via web or telephone.
*Available as a single injection or a two-pack.
** Epinephrine, USP auto-injector is the authorized generic of Adrenaclick (not currently available).
There are other options that do not auto-inject the epinephrine. Glass vials of epinephrine with needles/syringes may be in emergency kits as seen on airplanes. There is also a new pre-filled syringe device that you can use to inject epinephrine. This device works differently than the auto-injectors. Be sure to have your doctor, nurse or pharmacist demonstrate how to use your device.
Kids With Food Allergies (KFA), a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, hosted a free educational webinar on Feb. 26, 2014, featuring two of our medical advisors, Michael Pistiner, MD, and Angela Nace, PharmD. They discussed:
Unfortunately, some people cannot afford to buy this potentially life-saving medicine. If this is the case for you, there are options to help. On our blog, we offer up-to-date details about:
Up to 25% of severe allergic reactions that occur on school campuses happen to people who are experiencing their very first anaphylaxis reaction. Since these people (children, staff and visitors) have not been previously diagnosed with allergies, they may not have their own epinephrine auto-injectors on hand. Most states have passed legislation to allow schools to stock undesignated epinephrine as a part of their emergency medical kits. This allows specified staff to treat someone suffering anaphylaxis, even for their very first allergic reaction. Many states are looking beyond the classroom to other areas where food allergy triggers could be present. In any public space where food is present – such as sports and recreation venues, summer camps, amusement parks, movie theaters – there is a risk for an allergic person to come in contact with their allergen. To find out the status of epinephrine laws in your state, visit www.aafa.org/epinephrine.
Children show their support for Pennsylvania’s epinephrine stocking bill.
1. Product information for AUVI-Q. kaléo, Richmond, VA 23219. July 2019.
2. Product information for EpiPen. Mylan Inc. Basking Ridge, NJ 07920. July 2019.
3. Epinephrine Injection, USP auto-injector, the authorized generic (AG) of EpiPen®, Mylan Inc. Basking Ridge, NJ 07920. July 2019.
4. Product information for Epinephrine Injection, USP autoinjector, the authorized generic (AG) of Adrenaclick™. Lineage Therapeutics. Horsham, PA 19044. July 2019..
Medical review February 2014, June 2014, January 2015. Updated January 2016, August 2016, December 2016, January 2017, February 2017 and July 2019.