Sunday, August 28, 2016

Save a life, cost a fortune?

Certainly, one of the big news stories these days is about a product that many have never heard of, and fewer than that likely need: the EpiPen. This device injects epinephrine, a potentially life saving drug to those suffering a massive allergic reaction, using a convenient, automatic injection system that just about anyone can use with minimal training. But the rise in its cost to the consumer over the last several years has been dramatic, and many who need the drug can no longer afford it. Here is an article from Self, penned by Korin Miller, in which she discusses this situation with several physicians, including myself.

Within the article, there is reference made to the Adrenaclick, an alternative to the EpiPen. More than that, there are generic epinephrine auto-injectors on the market as well, which are even less expensive. While these devices deliver the exact same dose of epinephrine in the same way as the EpiPen, the mechanisms themselves are different. Whereas the EpiPen only requires popping off a cap and using the injector, others may involve caps on either end, be a bit harder to hold, or have an exposed needle. So if you are going to use such a device, which would still be appropriate and effective for the condition, familiarize yourself and those likely to use it thoroughly with its details, features, and use before deploying it with the at-risk individual. There is no time to learn how to use an injector while someone is having an anaphylactic reaction. This is clearly a topic which should be reviewed with your personal physician, to be sure that a potentially life saving treatment is available when needed.

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