EpiPen prices have become a popular topic of discussion in the news recently, as the cost of epinephrine has skyrocketed. Lila Kertz, a pediatric nurse practitioner with Washington University at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, weighs in on common questions about EpiPen – including price increases.
EpiPen is used for people who have serious, sometimes life-threatening allergic reactions — also known as anaphylactic reactions. These severe allergic reactions can be caused by:
- Food allergies
- Insect bites/stings
- Certain medications
With so many children affected by these severe allergic reactions, many parents feel that the EpiPen price increases are extremely unreasonable. If you are unable to afford the EpiPen, speak with your pediatrician or allergist to see if there are any samples or coupons that could help lessen the financial burden.
A few of the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include shortness of breath, swelling of the throat, and skin irritation. The EpiPen auto-injector gives the body a sudden burst of adrenaline, which improves breathing and reduces swelling for the person who is having an allergic reaction.
Anaphylactic reactions are extremely unpredictable, so it is important that as a parent you create an action plan and take a few precautionary measures. Here are a few important tips for you to follow:
- Carry the EpiPen at all times. The EpiPen can save your child’s life in the case of a serious allergic reaction. Make sure it is available to use in all situations, including at school or sports.
- Replace all expired EpiPens. If the EpiPens are past their expiration date, it’s likely that they will not be effective in a life threatening situation. Be proactive in checking the expiration dates.
- Do not break up your two pack. A small percentage of patients have a biphasic reaction after receiving the first dose of epinephrine and need the second dose, so it’s important that you are prepared with both in case this occurs.
If you have to use the EpiPen on your child, make sure to call 911 and take your child to the closest emergency department for evaluation.