Twitter Q&A on the AAI Shortage with Lynne Regent

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As many will know, there is rising concern over the national shortage of Adrenaline Auto-Injectors – the devices best known by their brand names, such as EpiPen, Emerade and Jext, which are the first and only port of call in the event of a serious anaphylactic reaction. Many families are finding it impossible to fulfil their prescriptions. On @allergyhour over on Twitter last week we put some questions to chief executive of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, Lynne Regent. Here are her responses below:

Q: How long before expiry should we request more auto-injectors from our GP?
Lynne: One month

Q: Aside from those EpiPens granted an increased four month usage beyond their expiry dates, in an emergency how long are expired EpiPens OK before we can no longer use them?
Lynne:
The activity of Adrenaline Auto-Injectors does reduce after the expiry date, however they are safe to use beyond expiry unless the liquid is discoloured and contains particles – then it should be discarded. If in doubt please ask your pharmacy to check with you.

Q: Schools are refusing out of date pens. How can we work to allow schools to use/keep expired EpiPens until the supply issues are resolved?
Lynne:
Schools may require a letter from a GP or a pharmacy to explain the circumstances. If you have any difficulties please contact our helpline on 01252 542 029.

Q: My chemist has no pens in stock. What should I do?
Lynne:
You may need to revisit your GP to ask if they can prescribe an alternative medication, and call the customer service lines for the pharmaceutical companies. For full details see our statement.

Q: The situation seems to be getting worse before it gets better. What is the time frame for all unfulfilled prescriptions to be filled and full stock to be returned?
Lynne: We are unsure when stock levels will return to normal. We will continue to be in contact with the Department of Health, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency [MHRA] and the pharmaceutical industry for the most up-to-date information.

Q: We know Brexit may further complicate things. What are the contingency plans?
Lynne: We can’t answer this question on Twitter – it is a complex question that requires a wide-ranging debate.

Q: Will the approval of a new generic EpiPen in the US ease the situation over here? Will it be available in the UK?
Lynne: To our knowledge no requests have been made to get another adrenaline auto injector licensed in the UK.

Q: What should people who have no pens, and can’t get any from their pharmacist, do?
Lynne: Call the customer service lines for the pharmaceutical companies – full details on our statement.

Q: What is the Department of Health doing to work with you at the Anaphylaxis Campaign?
Lynne: We have been in direct contact regarding the availability of Adrenaline Auto-Injectors in the UK and they are working with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the pharmaceutical industry to manage the situation.

Q: Why are some batches of EpiPen OK to have their expiry dates extended where others are not?
Lynne: Mylan UK have obtained acceptance from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to extend the use of specific lot numbers following rigorous testing.

Join @allergyhour every Thursday, 8.30-9.30pm, for the chance to share recipes, thoughts and info about living and coping with allergies. 

 

 

The new allergy regulations – FAQs & the chance to ask an expert

EVERY THURSDAY evening, from 8.30 to 9.30pm, we run an Allergy Hour (#allergyhour) on Twitter – a forum for allergy people and parents to ask questions, rant, rave, swap tips, share recipes. Last night the folks at the Anaphylaxis Campaign kindly offered up one of their experts to answer specific questions on the new EU allergen labelling laws. Today they’ve put together a handy FAQ guide to deal with some of the issues that came up. See here for more. It covers everything from how the laws will be enforced to where businesses can get advice. Continue reading “The new allergy regulations – FAQs & the chance to ask an expert”

Is no reason good reason? More on allergy labelling

Allergy labelling: make it clear

SO, THE ANAPHYLAXIS Campaign has sent a speedy and detailed response to my email – big thanks to them. Still waiting for the FSA, mind.

Anyway, the Campaign has outlined the reasons for the labelling changes we’re so het up about and it looks like the issues causing most concern (removal of the ‘contains allergen’ box, not standardising the way allergens are highlighted in the ingredients list and the banning of the word ‘gluten’) are actually by-products of the legislation.

In other words, they came about because the legislation is concerned with many labelling issues (including nutrition, country of origin and date marking), and no-one gave much thought to the impact the clauses would have on allergy information.

Continue reading “Is no reason good reason? More on allergy labelling”

An email to the Food Standards Agency

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The weekly shop + food allergy = how it feels

FOLLOWING MY blog posts on the issue and countless angry Tweets the FSA has asked me to email my concerns about the new food labelling legislation to them directly. So I have. The letter’s below.

I feel very strongly about this and am considering launching a petition to have this legislation amended. If you have concerns, too, please let the FSA know (email at the bottom of this post).

Continue reading “An email to the Food Standards Agency”

News: live web chat on kids and allergy

Questions and Answers signpostDISCOVERING your child has a food allergy isn’t just a question of diagnosis and treatment. Each day throws up fresh challenges and it’s not always easy to find the answers.

So the chance to speak one-on-one with an expert is a godsend. Which is why I’ll be tuning in to this Thursday’s live web chat with paediatric allergy supremo Professor John Warner.

Continue reading “News: live web chat on kids and allergy”