Commonly, using drugs past their expiration date is terrible for your health. Sometimes you might be caught in a bind that makes you think of using an expired EpiPen.
EpiPens are designed to treat anaphylaxis, an acute condition caused by an allergy to several insect bites, drugs, and food. Using one immediately after the reaction begins is very vital to your survival.
If you struggle with severe allergies, you know how essential EpiPens are, as the single medication can be vital in saving your life. There is a chance that you had one for so long that you’ve forgotten the expiration date when you have been very cautious to avoid getting an allergy reaction.
Also, due to the expensive nature of EpiPens, you might still want to keep it around even if you know it has expired. So, what do you do if you find out you have an expired EpiPen? Read on if you don’t keep an EpiPen past its expiration date.
How to Check if Your EpiPen has Expired?
To check if you have an, your EpiPen is going wrong; you will need to check for the expiration date. So, how do you know if you own an expired EpiPen? The expiration date is usually located on the auto-injector syringe.
However, the different EpiPen brands might place the expiration date elsewhere. If you do not find it on the device body, you can look around the device until you locate the best before the timeline.
Another place to check for an expiration date would be on the auto-injection box if you were careful enough to keep it around. You can easily find the production and expiration timeline printed on the box, sometimes on the front or back.
If you cannot find it there, search for it on the small ends, close to where they give extra information like the lot number of the medication. Most products follow a numerical date setting, such as 21/08, which translates to the 21st day of August.
Sometimes they can write it as Aug 21, which means the same thing, which means it is best to use the EpiPen before the day printed on the medication.
How Does an EpiPen Work?
There is no cure for food allergies, the most common being nuts and seafood. In recent times, there has been a rise in allergy reactions, and while the best advice is to stay away from those kinds of food, you cannot be too careful, and that’s where EpiPens come in.
EpiPens contain an active hormone as its main ingredient that helps to calm the oversensitive muscles triggered by the allergy. They also help to reduce swelling and free up the airways that usually cause harm to the body. If the allergy affects your stomach muscles, an EpiPen can still help relax them.
However, EpiPens are viewed as just first aid, and you will still have to see a doctor for further examination and treatment.
Is it Safe to Use an Expired EpiPen?
You cannot find a doctor or manufacturer that will advise you to use an EpiPen or any other medication after it has expired. So, the answer is no; you should never place yourself in a situation where you need to use an expired EpiPen.
On closer inspection, if you notice that the injection has changed in color when the expiration date is near or when you don’t store it properly, you also shouldn’t use it. You are not the first person to have considered keeping your expired handy in case of an emergency, but you are doing yourself more harm than good.
Getting a new EpiPen is not a budget-friendly purchase, with an average cost of $500. Even with the money, you can still not purchase an EpiPen without a prescription. Due to their delicate nature, a doctor needs to approve them before you buy them; considering all these, you might want to extend your visit to the doctor to get a new prescription.
Instead of holding on to an expired EpiPen due to financial constraints, you can search for discount coupons, promo codes, and good deals for a new EpiPen. Money shouldn’t be a criterion for deciding when to change your EpiPen whenever it expires since most health insurance can reduce the price.
How Long After an Expiration Date is an EpiPen Still Good for Use?
It is uncertain whether an EpiPen is still good for a few days or more after it has expired when the manufacturers have stated a timeline. That’s because before an expiration date makes it on top of any item, especially medications, the producers ensure that they subject it to several tests.
A combination of different ingredients makes up an EpiPen; as expected, the compound cannot stay potent after a period. You can only get an effective product when it is still within the expiration date. Even at that, you must store your EpiPen in proper condition.
That’s because moisture, sunlight, and very high temperatures can affect the potency of your EpiPens, regardless of the expiration date. Several people might have reported using medication after the expiration date, but it usually forms tablets.
The auto-injection form of EpiPens makes it even more prone to going bad quickly after it has expired. This quick dissolution after expiration applies to most liquid medications since they disintegrate more rapidly than single-dose pills.
There is a high chance that as your EpiPen expires, it has already lacked its power, so there is no assurance it will work for you. It is riskier to use an expired EpiPen because it can defeat the purpose of saving your life when you have an anaphylaxis attack.
Side Effects of Using an Expired EpiPen
There are no direct side effects of using an expired EpiPen because even up to a year after expiration, studies have shown that it might still be 70% effective. However, this doesn’t guarantee they will become effective when you use them.
The side effect that comes with using an expired EpiPen is the aftermath of when it doesn’t work to get your anaphylaxis under control. When the EpiPen fails to stop your body from reacting to the allergies, your life is at risk.
So instead of the expired harming your body directly, the lack of an adequate reaction to calm the allergy will be what you should worry about.
What to do with an Expired EpiPen?
If an EpiPen is expired, you should dispose of it properly because of the way it is produced. EpiPens do not have needles, but they are still classified as sharps, and you need to follow a few steps if you plan on getting rid of them properly.
First, you need you can try disposing of it in a sharps container if there is one provided. You can also dispose of it via bleach or detergent packaging. The goal is to ensure that you don’t infect someone else when they come in contact with the EpiPen.
The next place to check for a disposal channel is your local pharmacy or hospital. When shopping for the medication, you can ask if they offer the service to be sure before taking the expired EpiPen there. If the pharmacy or hospital can help you, they will direct you to a drug takeback box, where you can dump the device.
In some states, the fire department or the police provide a disposal box to help the locals get rid of their sharps. It doesn’t hurt to ask in their offices if they can accept your device, as it might just be one of the best ways for you to dispose of your Expired EpiPen.
Can You Only Use EpiPen for Allergy Reactions?
While EpiPens are very popular and the well-known name for epinephrine medication, several others are available. You can also find allergy treatment devices like Audi-Q, Symjepi, and Adrenaclick, auto-injectors. So, if you come across any of them, they serve the same function and are available in most pharmacies.
What Can Make an EpiPen Last Longer?
You cannot make an EpiPen last longer than its expiration date, so it is best to stick with the manufacturer’s timeline. While the EpiPen is still within its recommended date, you should ensure that you store it properly, as it can affect its potency and shelf-life.
It is simple to store EpiPens; keep it at room temperature and away from moisture, and you should be good. In addition, keeping an EpiPen in the freezer won’t prolong its life so you can use it past its expiration date.
Do They Exchange Expired EpiPen For New Devices?
For now, there are known approved program that allows you to exchange your expired EpiPen for a new one. If there were to be one, the manufacturers must be involved to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Since Epipen are expensive, many people have tried to get an exchange or reduced cost of refills, but non is up and running yet. It would be best if you avoided unauthorized institutions or individuals that take out expired EpiPens and refill new ones at an affordable price. It is risky to partake in and use such EpiPens.
Epipens are auto-injectors that work to reduce the adverse effects in the case of accidental ingestion or contact with an insect that causes allergies. When an EpiPen is not administered, it could lead to death, but many cautious people might never have to use it before it is expired.
That’s because EpiPens last for about a year, but it still doesn’t mean that it is terrible once it’s expired. Expired EpiPens are usually more harmful when it doesn’t help suppress the reaction, which can be life-threatening.
While it is not advisable to use an expired EpiPen, if you are caught in a difficult situation, you can still inject, as a few studies support that there is still some potency left after the expiration date.
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