FDA extends EpiPen expiration dates because of shortage

By Jennifer Phillips
Original article from Fox Carolina

GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) –
Christine Wiethop gets an allergy shot once a week.

“I would usually get a reaction in my mouth that kind of an itch or tingling, my tongue could actually go numb,” Wiethop said.

She would get sick, so she tried to monitor her diet. She found out she’s allergic to grass. mold, and certain fruits and vegetables.

“I can eat lettuce and carrots, raw and can eat apples and watermelon raw- everything else has to be cooked,” Wiethop said.

In case she has a reaction she uses Auvi-Q. It’s like an EpiPen and contains the drup epinephrine, which is a hormone used to counteract allergic reactions.

I’m always prepared in case it goes beyond that,” Wiethop said.

Right now there’s a nationwide shortage of EpiPens. Therefore, administrators with the FDA are extending expiration dates by four months on certain EpiPen injectors.

“Unfortunately, this is a real medical problem and in fact an emergency,” Dr. Emmanuel Sarmiento said.

He’s an allergist with the Allergic Disease & Asthma Center in Greenville County.

“As a doctor, I always tell people that or my patients that you need to make sure that your medicine is not expired,” Sarmiento said.

If possible he encourages his patients to use other options like Auiv-Q. He says it only takes five seconds to use and has a smaller needle than an EpiPen.

“I just gave a talk to school nurses to tell them it’s not an alternative because it’s the same medicine, equally good,” Sarmiento said.

He says now Greenville County school nurses are aware of the shortage and other options.

“I just gave a talk to school nurses to tell them it’s not an alternative because it’s the same medicine, equally good,” Sarmiento said.

Wietop carries one with her everywhere.

“I feel like it’s just a backup plan so it doesn’t make me so nervous that I’m frazzled trying to get it,” she said.

Those extended expiration dates don’t apply to EpiPen Junior. For a list of injectors that can be used beyond its expiration date click here.

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