FDA: U.S. Experiencing EpiPen Shortage

The FDA said the spot shortages don't mean patients cannot obtain EpiPens or generics, but they may have to look harder or use a different brand.

The Food and Drug Administration has added EpiPens to its list of drug shortages, stating there have been disruptions in supply in parts of the U.S. even though the manufacturer Mylan is still making and distributing the treatment and a generic version. According to NBC News, federal health officials said May 8 that patients should still be able to find the treatment despite shortages.

More than 400 patients in 45 states have reported difficulties with filling prescriptions for Mylan NV's allergy devices and other epinephrine auto-injectors since May 2, James Baker, chief executive officer of patient-advocacy group Food Allergy Research & Education, told Bloomberg. Most patients told FARE that they haven;t been able to obtain the allergy devices at all, while others said they had to wait several weeks to acquire one.

EpiPens are auto-injector devices designed to simply and quickly deliver a dose of epinephrine to stop anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic attack that can be experienced by people after eating a food they're very allergic to or after a bee sting if they are allergic to insect stings. The devices are routinely carried by people who have life-threatening allergies, or parents of children who do, for use in emergencies.

The FDA said the spot shortages don't mean patients cannot obtain EpiPens or generics, but they may have to look harder or use a different brand. According to the FDA, a second supplier of auto-injectors, Impax or Amneal Pharmaceuticals, is also reporting a shortage of its Adrenaclick product, but another auto-injector maker named Kaleo says its products are available.

"Based on the information provided by the manufacturer, the FDA anticipates the EpiPen shortage to be short-term," an FDA spokesperson told NBC News.

According to Baker, people who carry Epipens or other auto-injectors should check their supply and its expiration dates now. "The first thing they should do is check their own injectors, checking out [expiration] dates, to make sure they have enough time so they're not going to be without the injector," Baker told NBC News. "The second thing is to look at alternatives.”

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends that patients understand how to use a different brand of auto-injector than the one they may be used to, as "although the medication is the same, the method for injecting it is different for each brand."

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