The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned on Wednesday, May 9, that EpiPens and some generic versions are currently experiencing a shortage.
The injectors can be life-saving in many cases, and many people rely on them when they go into anaphylactic shock after eating something they're allergic to or being stung by a bee.
EpiPen Shortage In US: FDA
According to the FDA, the EpiPen made by Mylan, as well as the Adrenaclick alternative, are both experiencing supply and distribution problems in the United States.
"Although EpiPens remain available from Mylan, there have been reports of local supply disruptions and Mylan has reported intermittent manufacturing constraints," warns FDA spokesperson Lauren Smith Dyer.
Mylan keeps adding more EpiPens to replenish stocks, and the FDA will update its website to indicate availability so that patients and pharmacies can more easily locate the product.
For the time being, however, EpiPens and generics may be hard to come by, and those in need might not be able to get their usual brand due to the shortage. Going without them is not an option for those experiencing severe allergic reactions. So what can be done in this case?
EpiPen Alternatives: How To Survive The Shortage
Dr. James Baker, the CEO of the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) and University of Michigan professor emeritus, warns that people have to be careful during this time, as they will not be able to go to the pharmacy and get an EpiPen on the spot just like that.
First of all, people should carefully check their epinephrine auto-injectors supply, and if they're running low, they should get more before they actually run out. It may take time to find one, so ordering a replacement in due time could be crucial. At the same time, people should also check the expiration dates on the EpiPens they have on hand.
Learn How To Use New Brands
On the bright side, while some EpiPens and generic versions are experiencing shortages, other brands are more readily available. One such brand is Auvi-Q, so customers could try out this alternative.
When trying a new brand, however, figuring out how to use it could be slightly challenging, and an anaphylactic shock is not the time to learn how to handle the new brand.
With this in mind, it's highly recommended that people learn how to use the new brand before they actually need it. Each brand of epinephrine injectors works a bit differently. The medication is the same, but the way it should be injected differs.
When buying a new brand of epinephrine injectors, it's best to ask for a demonstration on how to use it.