Epipen shortage affecting Tri-State families - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Epipen shortage affecting Tri-State families

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EpiPens EpiPens
Josh McKeown and his mom, Nikki. Josh McKeown and his mom, Nikki.
EpiPen boxes at Palmyra Schools EpiPen boxes at Palmyra Schools
Epinephrine auto injectors Epinephrine auto injectors

An Epipen could be the difference between life and death for someone who has an allergic reaction. The problem is it can be difficult to get a hold of one right now.

"One of the hardest parts is when your friends are eating something that looks really good but then you can't have it." said Josh McKeown. "He's allergic to tree nuts, specifically cashews so he has to be careful about what he eats."

The FDA reports there is a shortage of the popular brand Epipen which is used to reverse allergic reactions. The shortage is due to manufacturing delays which is concerning for families that rely on that medicine.

At Palmyra schools, they have boxes with Epipens readily available in the case of an emergency.

"We participate in the Epipens for Schools program where we are given free Epipens where we are allowed to use them on anyone that is having an anaphylactic reaction." said school nurse Jennifer Jones.

There are other options to the popular brand Epipen. Sometimes they are harder to get. That's why Jones said if you do purchase another type of auto injector epinephrine, you need to make sure your child knows how to use it.

"When a child or an adult is used to using a certain brand of Epipen but for some reason has to change brands, it can become an added anxiety at that time." explained Jones.

"My son's life depends on that. If he has an allergic reaction, that could be a matter of an outcome that is less than favorable for him." said Josh's mom Nikki who purchases a different brand of epinephrine auto injector. "We have been blessed that we have never had to give my son an injection yet and he was three when he was first diagnosed and he's now eleven and a half. Have we had some scary moments? For sure."

The auto injectors contain the drug epinephrine which reverses the effects of an allergic reaction. Over 3 million people are prescribed the Epipen.

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