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Amid EpiPen shortages, alternatives are available

An EpiPen lies on a table.

Aug. 16, 2019—Is it time to replace the EpiPen you carry in case of a severe allergic reaction? If so, reports about an EpiPen shortage may worry you, but other epinephrine autoinjectors are available that pack the same lifesaving medicine.

Other lifesaving options

An EpiPen is one type of autoinjector. And some pharmacies have run out of them. But all autoinjectors contain epinephrine. That's the key medicine needed to stop a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

So if you can't find an EpiPen, you should consider using one of the other options, advises the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). They are sold in many pharmacies. For instance, one alternative is a generic version of an EpiPen.

It's important to talk to your doctor if you think you might need an alternative to your EpiPen. Your doctor can:

  • Tell you about the other treatment options available.
  • Explain how to use them.
  • Potentially help you find an EpiPen elsewhere.

Don't toss your old EpiPen

In the meantime, if you have a severe allergic reaction, it's better to use your expired EpiPen than nothing at all, notes the ACAAI. The medicine in your old EpiPen may still work.

But with more options offered now than even a year ago, you should not have to rely on an expired autoinjector to save your life, the ACAAI emphasizes.

Learn more about anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is an emergency. Learn more about anaphylactic shock.

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