Although there are a few different brands of epinephrine autoinjectors, the EpiPen is by far the most well known. Intended for people with serious allergies who are at risk of an anaphylactic reaction, epinephrine autoinjectors inject you with a single dose of epinephrine—a hormone that works to counteract the allergic reaction. All Pharmasave On Centre pharmacists are knowledgeable on these products and happy to help answer any questions you have. For those of us that need an EpiPen, it’s important that we have them with us at all times, know how to use them, and know that the medicine isn’t yet expired.
Wait—those things expire?
The thing that slips past many an EpiPen carrier is that those autoinjectors come with an expiry date, and if you use them past that deadline, it can’t be guaranteed that they’ll work. Your autoinjector should have an expiry date at least 12 months away from your date of purchase (talk to your pharmacist if you receive one with a tighter expiry), and once that date passes, it’s time for replacement. The EpiPen brand’s expiry date and lot number can be found at the base of the injector, in light writing on a black background. If you’re having trouble identifying when yours expires, bring it on in and one of our trained pharmacists would be happy to help you!
Other Conditions for Replacement
Other than expiration, there are a few other ways you can compromise your epinephrine autoinjector. According to EpiPen’s website, your autoinjector should be cared for in the following ways:
- Always store EpiPen® in the carrier tube with the safety release on until you need to use it.
- Keep EpiPen® at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.
- EpiPen® can be exposed to temperatures between 15° to 30°C.
- Do not keep EpiPen® in a vehicle during extremely hot or cold weather.
- Protect your EpiPen® from light.
- Submerging EpiPen® in water can compromise the delivery mechanism.
If you haven’t done well with the instructions above, it’s best to replace the unit entirely.
Do I Need a Prescription?
If you have prescription benefits and want them to cover the cost of your autoinjector, you will need a prescription from your physician in most cases. Contact your benefits provider to confirm your specific situation. However, EpiPens are available over the counter without a prescription as well—so if you’re covering the cost yourself, you can head straight to the pharmacy instead! Please note, there is a different version for children weighing less than 66 pounds, so always give your pharmacist the full information when requesting your autoinjector.
What Else Should I Know?
Allergies can be serious business, so it’s important that you have all the information you need. Ask your healthcare provider or one of our expert pharmacists all of your questions so you can be prepared. There’s no such thing as a silly question—this topic can be tricky to wade through, and your safety is our priority! So check your expiry, review the care instructions, and pop on in to get that autoinjector replaced. We’ll see you soon.
*This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.