What You Need to Know About the EpiPen Shortage the FDA Just Declared

May 9, 2018, 7:13 PM UTC
Global Pharmaceuticals Brands
Photograph by Chris Ratcliffe—Bloomberg via Getty Images

There’s officially an EpiPen shortage underway. On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added the authorized generic version of Mylan’s popular epinephrine auto-injector, as well as Impax Laboratories’ Adrenaclick to the the FDA drug shortage list. The products are used to counter severe allergic reactions, including to peanut and other food allergies.

So why is there an EpiPen and generic epinephrine shortage all of a sudden? The FDA noted that manufacturing issues are hitting both of the companies involved (Mylan’s EpiPen is actually manufactured by a unit of its partner Pfizer.) It’s unclear exactly how long these manufacturing issues will last.

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Americans who rely on EpiPens and similar products still have options, however. “Although EpiPens remain available from Mylan, there have been reports of local supply disruptions and Mylan has reported intermittent manufacturing constraints,” said FDA spokesperson Lauren Smith Dyer in a statement. “However, Mylan continues to release the product and the firm has provided a number which will be posted on our website to help pharmacies and patients locate EpiPens if they experience any difficulties.”

The FDA also points out that a competing product from Kaleo called Auvi-Q is still widely available. But patients who may need to stock up soon in the midst of the shortage should also be careful—the injection methods and epinephrine dosages may be different from the EpiPen, so it’s important to ask your doctor or pharmacist about the proper way to use a different device.

And if you happen to have severe food allergies and are running low on epinephrine, doctors suggest that you place an order as soon as possible and be especially careful around potential allergens.

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