Junior Epipen Shortage: Letter to Parents and Guardians

15 October 2018

To all patients/users of Junior Epipen (shared through GPs)
Gateway Publications Reference: 08554

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Junior Epipen® shortage

As a parent or carer of a child with a severe allergy you might already know about a
problem with the supply of Epipen Junior 150mcg which is expected to last several
months. Experts in children’s allergies have developed this advice to support you:

If you have your normal supplies of EpiPen Junior, please continue just as you
normally would. That means:

  • It is important you continue to try and avoid the things your child is allergic to as
    much as possible.
  • If your child has a severe allergic or anaphylactic reaction you must always give
    them their adrenaline pen straight away, call 999, as you would normally and
    say ‘anaphylaxis’ even if your child starts to feel better. Say you think your child
    has had a severe allergic reaction and that you have given them an adrenaline
    pen.
  • Check the expiry dates of all your EpiPen Juniors. You should note that the
    expiry date of a pen is the final day of the month listed on the device eg for a
    November pen, the final date is 30 November.
  • Please do not ask for a repeat prescription until the expiry date is nearly
    reached, as stocks of pens will be kept for those who need them most.

If you need a replacement Junior EpiPen and have not been able to get one
supplied:

  • During this shortage you might be given a device called Jext® or
    Emerade®.

    • This might say Epinephrine on it but it is exactly the same drug.
    • These pens are used in a different way so you will need to read the
      instructions and/or watch a training video to learn how to use it.
    • Your GP or practice nurse can give you advice on your new pen and
      there is a list of websites at the end of this letter which have more
      information.
    • If you have been given a pen that is in-date, but not your usual brand, it
      is better to use this, than using an out-of-date pen that is your usual
      brand.
  • If your child weighs more than 25kg (4 stone), your GP should prescribe a
    300mcg adrenaline pen when the pens you have expire. The pen might say it is
    for children who weigh more than 30kg but experts have said that during this
    period of reduced supply it can be used for children who weigh more than
    25kg.
  • If your child has a severe allergic or anaphylactic reaction and all the adrenaline
    pens you have are out-of-date you should give the out of date pen, then call
    999 saying ‘anaphylaxis’ even if your child starts to feel better, as you would
    normally. Say you think your child has had a severe allergic reaction and that
    you have given them an adrenaline pen.
  • An out-of-date pen might give your child a lower dose of adrenaline but it is not
    dangerous and is better than waiting for an ambulance to arrive

When new stock does arrive, which we expect to happen in the next week, we will
prioritise people who have out-of-date pens.

Yours faithfully

Dr Aidan Fowler
National Director of Patient Safety

Below are web links to the videos for other devices: