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Making Sure Kids Are Prepared if They Need Epinephrine Treatments in School

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Epinephrin Treatment Products graphic with icon on an epinephrin injector and three photos of children in situations where they might need one: a child eating a sandwich in her elementary school cafeteria, boy boarding school bus with backpack, and a young girl smelling flowers.

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Kids are back to school, which, for many parents, means making sure epinephrine prescription products are available and ready to use when needed—including during the school day. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to make sure patients, parents, health care providers, school nurses, and pharmacists have the most updated information about the availability of these widely used products. You should talk to your doctor about the different epinephrine products that may be available if your pharmacy does not have the treatment you generally use.

Many people rely on epinephrine to treat life-threatening reactions to bee stings, certain foods, or other allergens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 13 children—roughly two in every classroom—has food allergies. And according to the Journal of Asthma and Allergy, approximately 5 to 7.5 percent of people will experience severe reactions to insect stings in their lifetime.

It’s no surprise that demand for these products tends to increase as parents send their kids back to school in the fall with newly refilled prescriptions. What can you do to make sure they can get the medication they need to start off the school year? Follow the FDA’s news and timely updates on this topic. 

The FDA alerts consumers and health care providers when medicines are hard to access, informs them about the availability of certain widely used medicines, and lets them know about other medicines that have the same indication. The agency also works with manufacturers to help make sure patients have access to an adequate supply of medicine.

Remember that, for epinephrine or any other medicine, it’s important to pay attention to expiration dates and labeled storage instructions. Expired medical products, or products that have not been stored according to labeled conditions, can be less effective due to a decrease in strength or pose potential safety risks due to changes in chemical composition. See Don’t Be Tempted to Use Expired Medicines for more information.

Adverse reactions to epinephrine include anxiety, apprehensiveness, restlessness, tremor, weakness, dizziness, sweating, palpitations (sensation of heart racing), pallor (paleness), nausea and vomiting, headache, and respiratory (breathing) difficulties. Rare cases of serious skin and soft tissue infections have been reported after epinephrine injection.

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