The only treatment for anaphylaxis – a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction – is epinephrine, and the sooner it is administered the better the outcome.
Carrying the medication at all times is paramount, but many leave their auto-injectors at home or don’t carry epinephrine because they have not previously been diagnosed with an allergy. Any delay in receiving the drug while waiting for emergency responders can mean the difference between life and death.
A novel app that can help save lives in this type of emergency has been developed by the School of Business Administration at Bar-Ilan University working together with Magen David Adom (MADA), Israel’s emergency services.
The “Epimada” app was recently launched and already has hundreds of registered users. Using proximity-based algorithms much like those of ride hailing apps like Uber, MADA uses the app to dispatch a registered allergy patient to urgently help another patient in immediate need of a epinephrine.
In Israel there are approximately 20,000 people with epinephrine auto injector prescriptions and this number is on the rise. The app connects with allergy patients who may be close enough to arrive significantly faster than an ambulance.
“The potential of leveraging patients carrying the same medication to respond in emergencies is enormous,” says Professor David G Schwartz of Bar-Ilan University. “With hundreds of allergy sufferers signed on and more to follow, we hope that this initiative helps save crucial minutes to first epinephrine use.”
Could an app like Epimada become ubiquitous in the US? Yes, but first appropriate “Good Samaritan” legislation must be passed to shield those with epinephrine from liability when responding to a call.
The food allergy community is tight-knit and we believe eager to respond in an emergency. Establishing a network of nearby epinephrine carriers would only help to ensure epinephrine is located and administered in a timely fashion.
Would you sign up to participate if such a service were offered? Comment below and let us know.