EpiPen shortage ‘likely for rest of the year’

New advice is being issued over the EpiPen availability as supplies of adult and junior EpiPens are likely to be limited for the rest of the year.

  • Certain batches of adult EpiPen (300mcg) can be safely used for four months after the expiry date has passed.
  • Patients should not dispose of their expired devices until they have replaced them. If no new devices can be obtained parents / patients should be advised to use expired devices in an emergency as this is safer than not using them as this is not dangerous but the potency of the adrenaline may have reduced.
  • Training will be required if receiving different device.
  • Junior adrenaline auto-injectors (150mcg) in all 3 brands – Epipen, Jext and Emerade – should be reserved for children weighing under 25 kg during this shortage period. Children weighing more than 25 kg should be given adult auto-injectors (300 mcg).
  • Each patient should have a maximum two AAI devices available at all times
  • To manage the existing supply of EpiPen Junior® and other replacement products over this short-term period it has been necessary to put in place national contingency arrangements to ensure that patients with the greatest short-term need have priority access to the 150mcg adrenaline auto-injectors as they become available.
  • See a patient/parent letter about the EpiPen Junior shortage and relevant advice here.

In the onset of symptoms of anaphylaxis, patients should:

  •  Immediately use an adrenaline auto-injector device.
  •  Immediately call an ambulance or send someone to do this. Say this is an emergency case of anaphylaxis*

*Please note- ambulances carry adrenaline 1mg/1ml (1 in 1,000) ampoules, which are not affected by the shortage

If no new devices can be obtained parents / patients can use expired devices in an emergency as this is safer than not using them, as they are not dangerous but the potency of the adrenaline may have reduced.

However, patients are advised that using an in-date device, even if not of the usual brand, is preferable to using an expired device.