Advice on EpiPen shortage

November 15, 2018

You may have heard about problems with supplies of EpiPen Junior® 150 mcg in the UK. EpiPen contains adrenaline (which is also known as epinephrine). Children with severe allergy have these pens for the emergency treatment of a severe allergic or anaphylactic reaction.

The NHS has written to all parents of children with EpiPens via their family doctors, explaining the situation. You can read this letter here.

In the letter the NHS makes the following important points relating to adrenaline pens:

  • Please do not ask for a repeat prescription of EpiPen until the expiry date is close (the expiry date is the last day of the month shown on the pen).
  • You may be given a different device (called Jext or Emerade), which contain epinephrine (adrenaline). Make sure you know how to use these pens, as they are used in a different way from EpiPen.
  • Your doctor may give you a 300 mcg adrenaline pen if your child weighs more than 25 kg (4 stone). Experts have agreed that this is safe to use in these children, even though the label says that it is for people weighing 30 kg or more.
  • If the only pen you have available is out of date, you can still use it if your child has a severe allergic or anaphylactic reaction. It is not dangerous, but may give a lower dose of adrenaline.

If your child has a severe allergic or anaphylactic reaction you must always give them their adrenaline pen straight away. Call 999 and say ‘anaphylaxis’, even if your child starts to feel better. Say you think your child has had a severe allergic reaction and that you have given them an adrenaline pen. Tell them if the pen was out of date.

As listed in the NHS England letter to all parents of children with EpiPens, below are web links to the videos for how to use EpiPens and other adrenaline pens: