National shortage of EpiPens leaves parents scrambling as school starts

EpiPen shortage

ATLANTA — A shortage of EpiPens is hitting local pharmacies just as children head back to school.

Channel 2's Linda Stouffer talked to Dr. Stanley Fineman, an allergy specialist, who says he is fielding lots of calls from concerned parents who need to keep the life-saving allergy injectors on hand.

"This has been a real problem especially for school children going back to school," Fineman said.

EpiPens are the most popular autoinjector of potentially live-saving epinephrine, which is used to treat serious food and insect allergies.

The injctors are in short supply right now because of manufacturing delays and shortages.

TRENDING STORIES:

Fineman is working make parents aware of alternatives like generic versions of the name-brand drug.

Fineman said parents might not be as familiar with medications like Adrenaclick or Auvi-Q, but they are just as effective.

"This one as far as we know is not having production problems," Fineman said of Auvi-Q

Because EpiPens are delayed around the nation, parents may not be able to find the injectors on a certain day. Pharmacists suggest checking back or calling around to other stores.

One question Fineman said he hears frequently is whether or not parents can keep expired EpiPens on hand for emergencies. He said it's not a good idea.

"The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) puts an expiration date on it because that's when they feel they can be assured the dose is proper," Fineman said. "Don't trust it."