Following recent media reports commenting on issues with the supply of EpiPen® (Senior) Adrenaline Auto-Injector in the UK, we wish to reassure our supporters that we are in continuous dialogue with all the distributors of Adrenaline Auto-Injectors (AAIs) in the UK and we will continue to keep you updated about any supply issues as we receive them.
There are supply constraints of Senior EpiPen® due to manufacturing delays from the contract manufacturer, Meridian Medical Technologies, a Pfizer company. As a result, some steps are being put in place to assist in the stock management. Mylan, who distribute EpiPen® in the UK, have confirmed with us that Junior EpiPens® should be unaffected.
Lynne Regent, Chief Executive of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, said:
“We understand that when patients and their families are unable to get their prescriptions for Adrenaline Auto-Injectors fulfilled, this is worrying. If you have been prescribed EpiPen® Senior, to be well equipped during this time, we advise you to check the expiry date on your medication and, if needed, get a repeat prescription from your GP well in advance.
If you are struggling to get your prescription fulfilled, in the first instance your pharmacist should contact Mylan either through Alliance Healthcare or directly. If you remain concerned, visit your GP and, if necessary, they can prescribe an alternative medication.
We advise you to continue to carry your AAIs with you everywhere at all times and follow your usual risk management techniques to avoid your allergen and reduce the likelihood that you will experience a severe allergic reaction and need to use your adrenaline.”
The pharmaceutical companies who distribute AAIs have their own customer care departments and formal complaints procedures. If you have any concerns we encourage feedback to be given directly to the organisations responsible. Please speak to Mylan customer services in the first instance on +44 (0)1707 853 100.
You can also contact our helpline and information team at [email protected] or call 01252 542 029 for support between Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.
What is anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis (pronounced ana-fill-ax-is) is a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction that can be fatal. Severe symptoms such as a swollen tongue, difficulty breathing or becoming unconscious usually develop suddenly, often within minutes after being exposed to an allergy trigger such as a particular food, insect stings or certain drugs. There’s no cure for anaphylaxis, so people at risk have two options: manage their condition and carry adrenaline, a life-saving emergency medication. You can find out more about anaphylaxis in our anaphylaxis factsheet here.
What is an Adrenaline Auto-Injector?
Adrenaline is the first line treatment for severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) and is available on prescription in a pre-loaded injection device known as an Adrenaline Auto-Injector or AAI for self-use in an emergency. The AAIs prescribed in the UK at present are Emerade®, EpiPen® and Jext®.
It is estimated by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence that over 200,000 people in the UK (including children) are at risk of such a severe allergic reaction that they are prescribed emergency adrenaline. You can find out more about adrenaline in our adrenaline factsheet here.
How do I check the expiry date on my AAIs?
Your AAI devices will have instructions for use printed on the outside and generally will have a shelf life of up to 18 months. The expiry date will be printed on the casing.
Each of the three companies who distribute AAIs run an expiry alert service. If you register your device and expiry date with them, they will send you a reminder when it is due to expire.
Whichever devices you have been prescribed, it is important that you keep your AAIs in their original containers to prevent light exposure, do not store them above 25°C and do not freeze them. If the liquid in your AAI appears cloudy or discoloured, it should be replaced with a new device.
What should I do if I have concerns about my prescription during a supply issue?
If you are worried about your prescription, we advise you to visit your GP and discuss this directly with them. If necessary, your GP can prescribe an alternative medication.
What should my pharmacist do if they are experiencing issues?
Your pharmacist should contact Mylan either via Alliance Healthcare or directly through their customer service department (+44 (0)1707 853 100) for updates regarding any issues they experience.