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FDA Changes Expiration Dates for Some Epinephrine Injectors

September 14th, 2018

By: Jack Nicol

If your aging relative has been advised to use an epinephrine injector for severe allergic reactions, you may be aware that there is a shortage of some kinds of epinephrine injectors. The shortage could seriously impact those who need them, leaving them without the life-saving medication they need in an emergency. To combat the shortage, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently adjusted the expiration date of specific lots of injectors, so that patients can use them for a longer period of time rather than disposing of them and getting new ones.

What Are Epinephrine Injectors Used For?

Epinephrine injectors are used to reduce symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. They help with symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as dropping blood pressure, swelling, and difficulty breathing. The allergic reaction might be caused by various things, like a bee sting or food.

The injector contains a pre-measured amount of medication that is delivered either under the skin or into a muscle. The medicine causes the muscles in airways to relax and the blood vessels to constrict. It’s important that all of the medicine is injected to ensure it is effective.

When Should the Injector Be Used?

Sometimes people aren’t sure if they should use their injector when an allergic reaction starts. Experts advice that the injector be used as soon as the person thinks they could be having a severe reaction. It is better to use the medicine when it is not needed than to not use it when it is. Some of the symptoms of a severe reaction include:

  • Tightening of the airways.
  • Wheezing.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Sneezing.
  • Swelling.
  • Hives.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Confusion.
  • Feeling faint.
  • Loss of consciousness.

Usually when a person picks up their prescription from the pharmacy, they will receive two injectors. It is important to carry both at all times in case one fails to work when it is needed. Also, sometimes a reaction is serious enough to need two injections.

After using an epinephrine injector, it is still important for the person to receive emergency medical attention, even if the symptoms have gone away. Severe allergic reactions can last as long as 12 hours.

If your aging relative has a serious allergy that requires an epinephrine injector, a home care provider can help keep them safe. Home care providers can assist with avoiding allergens, such as by reading food labels to be sure the ingredient isn’t present. If the person has a severe reaction, a home care provider can call for emergency assistance and stay with them until help arrives. 

Sources
https://www.webmd.com/allergies/news/20180821/fda-extends-epipen-expiration-to-tackle-shortage
https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a603002.html
https://www.webmd.com/allergies/allergies-when-to-use-auto-injector#1

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services in Palm City, FL, contact the caring staff at BrightStar Care of Jupiter. Call today (561) 741-1200.