For those of you Facebook hero’s that have discovered how cheap epinephrine is by the ampule is now touting that everyone should be asking their doctor for a script of that and for a syringe please stop. I applaud your good intentions, but it truly isn’t a viable option. Pull up a seat and I will explain.
Yes, it is a cheaper….a lot cheaper. However, there is a trade off here and it’s time….that when it comes to the need to use epinephrine to counter act an anaphylaxis reaction there is precious little of. You see when opening an ampule of anything you first need to sterilize the top with an alcohol swab and then essentially crack the top off. (Each ampule does have an etched line around the neck to help with breaking it off) Even in an ideal setting you don’t always get a clean snap. (Since were talking about an emergency situation use you can most likely throw any semblance of a clean break out the window.)
Now that the vial is open remember to sterilize the top again. You must also make sure that before drawing any of the solution out of the ampule that you are using a filter tip needle on the syringe. Don’t want to draw up any glass shards. You may keep the person from suffocating, but failing to use the filter tip may result in micro pieces of glass being injected into a person. This could result in internal micro cuts throughout the body causing internal bleeding and/or high susceptibility to infection.
Let’s assume that you have done everything correctly to this point. (Did you draw up the correct amount of liquid?) Now you need to switch needle tips. (The filter tip doesn’t trap the glass, it just keeps it from contaminating the epinephrine in the syringe.) With the tip now changed you are ready to administer.
My point here is that again although this is a cheaper alternative it is not a viable alternative. It is a time consuming process in order to ensure the safety of the person receiving the medication. Which is why the brand name Epipen comes in the preset pens. Unless beyond the shadow of a doubt you know you can safely transport and maintain the integrity of the ampules, syringe, and needle tips don’t. You also have to ask yourself are you the kind of person that can maintain their cool to help administer the correct needed dose to save someone.
I’m sorry, but it is a much better idea to pony up the money from the pens than it is to try and quickly get through that process. Since I’m already on my soap box and I have everyone’s attention let me enlighten you to something that the manufacturer of Epipen doesn’t want you to know. THERE IS A GENERIC ON THE MARKET.
That’s right boys and girls there is a generic to Epipen on the market. It is significantly cheaper. (By a couple of hundred dollars.) The problem is that there aren’t enough studies out to prove that it’s an “AB” rated generic. To translate there isn’t enough data that allows for pharmacies to just change it to the generic that exists. When getting a prescription from your doctor for an epinephrine pen ask them to write it for just that. Saves time and money.
That way you don’t have to wait for congress to legislate something and you could start hitting the manufacturer in the bank account. Instead just lean on your legislature to start making inquiries into why the FDA is dragging their feet on getting the “AB” rating studies done.