EpiPen Shortage Sparks Back-to-School Concerns Among Parents

Premier Health Now

Back-to-school shopping is an annual tradition that takes families on an annual scavenger hunt to locate supplies such as pencils, paper and new clothes. For others, however, the most difficult thing to find on their list is a particular item that can mean the difference between life and death.

EpiPen® is an epinephrine auto-injector that delivers life-saving medication to allergy sufferers in the midst of a severe reaction, but they are in short supply. Many families are struggling to locate them for their children as they head back to school.

Premier Health Now asked family practitioner Joseph Allen, MD, of Vandalia Family Care how parents can meet and overcome this challenge.

Dr. Allen explained that though the shortage is certainly not good news for parents, there are a few things they can do to better prepare their children to face this challenge as they start a new school year.

“The first thing is to do your best to avoid the allergen as best you can, whether this is bees, or a specific type of food,” said Dr. Allen. “Parents should also have a discussion and put a plan in place with the school nurse, teachers and counselors before they begin the school year. If a reaction takes place, call 911 immediately and locate an EpiPen® as soon as possible.”

Though there are no immediate solutions for the shortage, he explained that relief is in sight as plans are already in motion to produce a generic version of the device that will increase the supply and lower costs. Until that time, however, planning and vigilant care will continue to be important factors for maintaining a happy and healthy school year.