1 October 2018
The Department of Health & Social Care has issued urgent guidance relating to supply disruption of Mylan EpiPens for all health care professionals who prescribe, dispense or administer adrenaline auto-injectors.
A summary of the guidance is below. We would strongly recommend reading the full guidance document, which you can download from the bottom of this page.
- Adult and child auto-injectors are only prescribed and dispensed to those who truly need them, as any additional issuing to patients who are worried about the shortages could exacerbate the overall supply situation.
- Repeat prescriptions and supply are managed diligently and patients advised of the following:
- It is important to note that when validating the expiry date of an adrenaline auto-injector, the product expires on the last day of the month indicated, eg a device labelled ‘April 2019’ does not expire until the end of April 2019.
- Certain batches of adult EpiPen can be safely used for four months after the expiry date has passed - please see further information about these batches in the guidance. Where possible, prescribers should not prescribe a replacement adult EpiPen whilst the original is within the extended use by date.
- Patients should be advised not to dispose of their expired devices until they have replaced them.
- Due to ongoing constraints affecting EpiPen 300mcg and Epipen 150mcg devices, some adults and children may need to switch from their usual device to other alternative adrenaline auto-injector devices that may be more readily available. The different brands of adrenaline auto-injectors are not used in exactly the same way and therefore specific training and advice is required for each of the devices - please see information on these alternative devices in the guidance document.
- Junior adrenaline auto-injectors (150mcg) must only be dispensed in line with the existing established guidance, ie to children under 30 kg. Other children weighing more than 30kg need to be given adult auto-injectors (300mcg) – see further information in the guidance document
- Prescribers should work in close collaboration with their local pharmacies to understand which devices are available. Prescribers and pharmacists should work together to ensure patients who are switched to an alternative device are trained appropriately and understand how to use the new device.
- Prescribers and pharmacies should regularly check the Specialist Pharmacy Services website for additional updates to supply and clinical guidance.