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October 01, 2011

Are You Able to Use Expired EpiPens Safely?

Though one should always use an EpiPen that is not expired, it is better to use an expired EpiPen to treat anaphylaxis than to do nothing at all.

Some Canadian researchers studied expired EpiPen auto-injectors 1 to 90 months past the expiration date.

What they found was that the older the EpiPen, the less effective it was due to decreased epinephrine bioavailability. The inverse correlation was 0.63 (months past expiration and decreased epinephrine content).

As long as the solution is clear without precipitates or discoloration, it's fine to use the EpiPen. BUT, still better to use an EpiPen that is not expired!!!

Reference:
Outdated EpiPen and EpiPen Jr autoinjectors: past their prime? J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2000 May;105(5):1025-30.
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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