Study: Majority of US Adults Prescribed Epinephrine Report Not Using it in an Emergency


Study shows people said their epinephrine wasn’t available or thought it wasn’t necessary

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL – (JUNE 21, 2018) – The most effective, life-saving treatment for a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is epinephrine. Yet a new study shows in an emergency, 52 percent of adults with potentially life-threatening allergies didn’t use the epinephrine auto-injectors (EAI) they were prescribed.
The new study, published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), examined 597 surveys representing 917 people. Some adults provided information both for themselves and their child with an EAI prescription.
“The majority of people surveyed (89 percent) filled the prescriptions they were given for an EAI,” says Christopher Warren, PhD(c), lead author of the study. “But almost half (45 percent) said they didn’t have their EAI with them during their most severe allergic reaction. This was despite the fact that 78 percent of the people responding had been hospitalized for their allergy at some point in their lifetime. Another 21 percent said they didn’t know how to use their EAI.”

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ACAAI recommends that anyone who has been prescribed an EAI should always have it with them and that they should always carry two as the possibility exists that a severe reaction can reoccur. Moreover, epinephrine should be administered at the first sign of an anaphylactic reaction. This is particularly important for those who have had a previous anaphylactic reaction or who have both a severe allergy and asthma.
“It’s not enough to simply pick up your EAI prescription,” says Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, ACAAI member, and co-author of the study. “You need to know how to use your EAI and always carry it, to be prepared for an allergy emergency. It could save your life.” About half the survey participants said an EAI was accessible (within five minutes) all of the time, while 44 percent said they personally carried at least one EAI all the time. Fewer than 25 percent of those surveyed said they routinely carried multiple EAIs.
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If you are unsure of how to use your EAI, talk to your allergist and ask them to walk you through the steps for use. To find an allergist near you who can help create a personal plan to deal with your severe allergies, use the ACAAI allergist locator.
Watch ACAAI’s YouTube video – featuring Dr. Gupta – on why it’s important not to fear epinephrine, as well as a video on how to use an EAI.
The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of

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  1. The cost is terrible. It can be used once, and at $100-700 a use, it better be essential. One believes they can use it if benadtyl doesn’t work.,so high cost will not be wasted. Also i carry a large purse to carry 2 ipePen, ip bromide nasal spray, benadryl, and benadryl cream . Many will not caryy a purse large enough to handle this , like a guy… It must be kept on oneshelf at all times, and it is temp sensitive. It can not be left in vehicle,or place where there is heat. I am on a fixed income and had a $310 deductible. i had an ER visit that cost $1000, them told to buy EpiPen. cost $310. Dr advised GoodRx, so i got it for $145 with coupon, and store did not want to sell it at that price… Took 2 days, for them to say ok, then said this is only one left. … i react to all forms of soy, even the smell, but have many types of response.depending on the form of soy:: hives, red rash covering body, angio-edema, and/or anaphylaxsis. So i react to most medicine, and would end up in ER after taking 2 pills. IV;s of benadryl and pepsid would improve breathing ability. Learned most mediicine contains a form of soy the hard way. … i have heard many people == have children needed one for school and home. had to miss mortage payment to purchase. if more than one child, might even lose their home.. Better than losing child, so they gave up all . With a child one can not know if they are reacting and at what level as soon as an adult….. COST is terrible, with volume now required cost should have come down. Why hasn’t this been handled?


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