People with severe allergies keep EpiPens within close reach but getting your hands on a new one maybe a bit more challenging.
The Food and Drug Administration added the epinephrine injectors, both the brand name and generic, to a list of drug shortages this week.
While the drug isn’t running low, federal officials said the mechanics of the devices are facing manufacturing delays and limiting supply to pharmacies across the country.
Especially for parents, it has them wondering if it will be in supply when they need it.
Almost a year ago, when Addi Neyens was diagnosed with several food allergies, her parents acted quickly. Cleaning out their cabinets of any foods posing a risk, learning to read labels, setting up procedures to prevent and respond, no more eating out, and getting those devices with medication to help address a life-threatening reaction.
Addi’s mother Jayme Neyens said, “Even educating our closest family. We’re hosting almost every holiday now just so I can ensure she’s safe.”
Inside the home of just turned two-year-old Addi, a lot of precautions are taken to safeguard the little girl from her seven food allergies.
Jayme Neyens said, “Dairy, egg, peanut, tree nut, lentils and peas, and she was previously allergic to wheat, oat and soy as well.”
One key line of that defense is auto-injector devices, often referred to as an EpiPen, with doses of epinephrine to reverse the severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis two of those allergies can cause and Addi’s mother Jayme Neyens has already had to use it once.
Jayme Neyens said, “It’s this surreal feeling because you’re having to administer a shot, an emergency shot to your child, and she was laying on the floor, and I didn’t think I had it in me.”
Neyens said they carry the devices everywhere they go, and next month, they’ll need to get new ones.
“My daughter’s EpiPens expire this month, and when I call the pharmacy to see if I’m going to be able to fill her prescription since we need to carry two at all times, they can’t tell me if next month they’ll have them readily available for her or not,” said Jayme Neyens.
With the FDA warning of a shortage, Neyens said that has her possibly looking at other drug stores and options.
Neyens said, “If we find one available, possibly paying the full $350 for it or crossing our fingers and praying that next month when our insurance will pay for it, one will be available.”
Neyens said it’s a device they can’t go without because it doesn’t take much to trigger Addi’s allergies.
Neyens said, “Unless you’re aware of the allergy, you wouldn’t know by looking at my daughter that she has life-threatening allergies.”
Neyens said they do keep the expired EpiPens but the issue is after that date, the mechanics in the product are not guaranteed to work.
Mylan, the distributor of the device, said they’re working to see increased production and shipments.
The FDA said if people encounter issues finding Epi-Pen devices, contact Mylan Customer Relations at 800-796-9526 for assistance.
Saturday, May 19, Jayme Neyens has organized the first Davenport Hometown Heroes Community Walk for Food Allergies.
It will raise from for research, education and awareness about food allergies for FARE.
Right now it is scheduled to being at 9:30 a.m. on Credit Island but Neyens said with the flooding she is looking for a back up location.