According to a letter published on Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine, epinephrine injections remain viable for some time after they expire. This new information could save countless of lives as the medication’s surging prices are putting users in unprecedented situations, many individuals being unable to change their EpiPens on an annual basis.
If All You Have Is an Expired EpiPen, It’s Worth Taking a Shot
The study found that four years after their official expiration date, EpiPens can still pack enough juice to save the life of an individual in distress. For families who cannot afford to spend $600 per year on a two-pack of epinephrine, this is good news.
Ever-surging epinephrine prices have created quite the scandal. The medication is vital for individuals with severe allergies as, in most cases, an ambulance cannot reach a patient before their airways close due to shock. However, $600 a year for a medication you might or might not need is a steep price.
That’s why F. Lee Cantrell, a San Diego pharmacist, decided to test the potency of 40 expired samples of EpiPens and EpiPens Junior. While the injectors did lose part of their potency after they expired, 50 months after the stamped expiration date, the devices still retained around 84 percent of epinephrine concentration – enough to keep a patient alive and responsive during an anaphylactic shock.
The Medicine’s Shelf Life Might Be Extended
Until now, doctors were keen on reminding their patients to replace their EpiPens once a year. Now, considering the latest research, increasingly more physicians are asking Mylan, the main manufacturer of epinephrine injections in the United States, to revise their product’s shelf life.
In September last year, Heather Bresch, Mylan CEO, expressed the company’s desire to extend the shelf life of EpiPens from 18 to 24 months. Her declaration came after Mylan faced heavy fire for increasing their main product’s price from $100 in 2088 to $600 in 2017.
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