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Fault found in life-saving allergy pens

MORE than 2,300 potentially life-saving injection pens used by allergy sufferers to stop them going into toxic shock have been recalled by the Irish Medicines Board.

The Jext pen is used in emergencies to stop someone with a severe allergy going into anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.

Fourteen-year-old Emma Sloan died in December on the street in Dublin city centre after an allergic reaction to peanuts.

PRESCRIPTION

Her mother was refused an emergency adrenaline pen injector by a pharmacy because she did not have a prescription.

Emma's death prompted Health Minister James Reilly to look at ways of making adrenaline pen injectors more accessible.

However, the Irish Medicines Board has recalled several batches of Jext pens – a total of 2,368 – because of a potential quality defect that could lead to injection failure.

John Lynch, the IMB's director of compliance, said: "This recall is precautionary."

He added that while the defect could affect a very small number of pens, the board had not received any reports from patients or the medical profession of any such failures.

Mr Lynch urged patients who normally carry Jext pens to "adhere to current medical advice that they carry two pens at all times".

Anyone using an adrenaline pen in an emergency is also advised to seek immediate medical attention.

Seven lots of Jext pens have been recalled, and users are being advised to exchange affected ones at their pharmacy or clinic.

About 5pc of adults and 3pc of children in Ireland have severe food allergies.

Of 689 people admitted to hospital in 2012 for anaphylaxis, more than half were under 17.

The numbers do not include those treated at home or by their GP.

DIFFICULTY

The recall affects certain batches of Jext 150mcg (Junior) Solution for Injection and Jext 300mcg Solution for Injection, both in pre-filled pens.

Manufacturer ALK-Abello estimated that the difficulty applies to an average of one in every 2,500 pens per batch.

The IMB said it has been working with ALK-Abello in order to obtain replacement stock and has also worked with other suppliers to procure sufficient supplies of alternative adrenaline pens.

Full details of the affected batch numbers can be found on the IMB website at www.imb.ie

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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