THE pocket-sized adrenaline injections can be the difference between life and death.
But what exactly are they, and is there a shortage of them in the UK? Here’s what we know.
What is an EpiPen?
EpiPens are adrenaline devices used by allergy patients.
They work by injecting a dose of epinephrine to treat anaphylaxis caused by allergies.
Anaphylaxis causes the immune system to overact to an allergen and can be fatal.
Epinephrine autoinjectors were first brought to the market by EpiPen in the 1970s.
The market has since expanded to include brands such as Altellus, Anapen, Emerade, Fastjekt, FastPen and Jext.
How much do they cost?
NHS patients can get buy an EpiPen for the prescription charge of £8.80.
The true cost is much higher, costing the NHS around £45 per pen.
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Is there a shortage of them in the UK?
Mylan, the US manufacturer of the life-saving adrenalin jab, has warned of months of global supply issues affecting UK pharmacies.
Two types have been affected: EpiPen 0.3mg and EpipPen Jr 0.15mg.
Pfizer, the company that supplies the EpiPens, expects the supply issues to stabilise by December.
Allergy sufferers have now been told they can still use their pens up to four months after the expiry date, but should still allow lots of time to replace them.
Anyone who is concerned that their EpiPen has run out should contact their pharmacy to see if they have them in stock.
If your EpiPen is out of date and you can’t get a new one, speak to your GP about other options – they may be able to prescribe you a different brand.
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