EpiPens, auto-injectors with epinephrine, are vital for people with severe allergies. Since the prices for these devices have greatly increased over the past few years, and many insurance policies dropped the coverage for them, researchers wanted to see how these pens perform even after their expiration date, and determined how long they were safe to use.
The increasing EpiPen prices ‘inspired’ this study
Epinephrine is essential for people suffering allergic reactions, as it helps them relax their muscles and reduces the swelling, thus saving their life. However, starting with 2007, EpiPen prices have started going up by an overwhelming 400 percent. Even the cheaper version of the medicine is available for $300.
Therefore, researchers decided to see if people could still use an EpiPen even after the expiration date had passed, and the answer is yes. In a study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers from the University of California at San Diego state that EpiPens are safe to use up to 29 months after their expiration date.
In case of emergency, even expired EpiPens are safe
Indeed, they become less potent over time. However, 29 months after the expiration date, they still have 90 percent of the epinephrine left. Even after 50 months, they still have around 84 percent of the substance, which is more than enough to prevent anaphylactic shocks.
However, researchers warn patients to be careful. It is best if they did not rely on expired EpiPens, as their life depends on them. The study is meant to show that, in case of an emergency, an expired auto-injector is safe and has the potential to stop the shock. If you have the possibility to purchase an in-date EpiPen, do not hesitate to do so.
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