Wednesday 19 September 2018

Allergy sufferers here reassured amid fears of global EpiPen shortage

There are concerns the manufacturer of the adrenalin jab EpiPen will be hit by supply problems. Stock Image: REUTERS
There are concerns the manufacturer of the adrenalin jab EpiPen will be hit by supply problems. Stock Image: REUTERS
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Irish people at risk a of a life-threatening allergic reaction have been reassured of sufficient supplies of a vital adrenalin jab, despite warnings of a potential global shortage.

EpiPen is manufactured by  Meridian Medical Technologies, a Pfizer company

EpiPens work by reversing the life-threatening symptoms of severe anaphylaxis, which include a drop in blood pressure and constricted airways.

Anaphylaxis left untreated can progress rapidly and be fatal if a person's heart or breathing stops.

Alternatives

However, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) in Ireland said yesterday it was not aware of any current shortage of EpiPens here.

Darragh O'Loughlin, of the Irish Pharmacy Union, said it was not currently on the list of medicine shortage for pharmacists.

He said if the device became scarce, there are two alternatives available including the Jext adrenaline auto-injector.

"There was a shortage of EpiPen nearly two years ago but there are alternatives," he added.

People with potentially serious allergies are often prescribed adrenaline auto-injectors to carry at all times. They should be used as soon as a serious reaction is suspected, either by the person experiencing anaphylaxis or someone helping them.

Mylan said problems had been caused by manufacturing delays at its supplier Pfizer.

Pfizer said it was "working tirelessly to increase production and expedite shipments as rapidly as possible".

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News