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EpiPens - still good after expiration date?

17 replies [Last post]
By ConcernedMom on Mon, 02-25-02, 05:12

Recently, our pediatrician (whose son needs an EpiPen for a shellfish allergy) told me that EpiPens are actually good for a year after their expiration date. I thought this was good to hear since they are expensive and do seem to expire in a year. I will still buy fresh EpiPens every year, but I think I will use the previous year's Epi as a backup.

Has anyone else heard of this from their doctor?

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By Corvallis Mom on Mon, 02-25-02, 05:29

I have heard (and believe) that if you are very careful about temperatures and all, they may be good for as much as 6 months after the exp. on the pen. I have been told by three different pharmacists and two docs, however, that you should only use an expired pen if you have to, since it is possible that the drug has become oxidized or decomposed without any visible signs.

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By smack on Mon, 02-25-02, 14:07

Corvallis Mom raises a good point as far as the visible signs, they say to discard if liquid becomes cloudy, or isn't clear anymore. Even the ones I have sitting on top of my fridge that expired over a year ago still haven't turned cloudy.
Don't trust using ones that have expired!

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By Xena66 on Mon, 02-25-02, 18:49

Hi! I have a friend who is a nurse and she says that Canada ships expired medication to 3rd world countries expired up to year after their expiration date. Apparently they are still useable. But it is a good idea that you just keep them as back-up and use unexpired ones first. Also, schools insist on having unexpired medication supplied as well.
Epipens actually have a 2 year shelf life from their manufacture date but not necessarily by the time you receive them from a pharmacist. You can, however, request to receive brand new ones and the pharmacist will just order them in.
Good luck! :-)

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By ConcernedMom on Mon, 02-25-02, 19:52

I would definitely only use an EpiPen that is past its expiration date only as a backup, but its good to know you don't need to get rid of them right away. Thanks!

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By on Sat, 03-02-02, 06:58

Wow, I wouldn't have thought of this one. I was told by the pharmacist that one Epi-pen I had that had one month left before it was due to expire was no longer any good because it had become cloudy. I have four Epi-pens that I keep current right now and I think I have about three or four expired in the kitchen cupboard.

I've also heard that if you absolutely HAD to, an expired one would be better than none at all.

Xena66, I was pleasantly surprised when I had my last batch re-filled to find that I got ones with expiration dates 18 months down the line instead of what I had been getting - a year.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


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By williamsmummy on Sat, 03-02-02, 10:07

I use the out of date epi-pens for practice . I even gave one to williams class teacher and told her to use it on an orange.

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By Chicago on Sat, 03-02-02, 15:51

This question was asked at the last FAN conference and the speaker (an allergist who is on their board) said that if a reaction occurs and you only have an expired Epi, use it. It may not be as potent, but it will not be harmful.

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By ConcernedMom on Mon, 03-04-02, 05:04

Here's a related question - how do you properly dispose of old EpiPens anyway, like when they do become cloudy?

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By Suz-a-loo on Tue, 03-05-02, 03:42

I activate them in a HUGE bunch of paper towels. I then put the epi back in it's original container and then in the box and discard in the garbage. I figure it's best to get the epinephrine out of there in case someone happened to come in contact with it and accidentally poke themselves with it.

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By Jonah'smom on Tue, 03-05-02, 15:42

In regards to discarding expired epi-pens, I think it's not the safest thing to place these in the trash, even if there is no actual medication in it. If someone down the garbage line was poked, they wouldn't know if it had been contaminated by blood and would have to undergo hepatitis and HIV testing and lots of anxiety. I am a nurse, so I just take mine to work and place them in the sharps container, but if you don't have that option I would recommend bringing them to your doctor's office and asking them to dispose of them safely. Also, some pharmacies will do this for you.

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By skanb on Tue, 03-05-02, 21:24

Our local fire department will take activated epi-pens too. The local ER didn't want them unless we used it en-route to their place (and I work at the hospital!) Good luck! Kristi

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By on Wed, 03-06-02, 05:13

Concerned Mom, I remember your question being raised before about what to do with the expired ones. I spoke with my pharmacist at the time and he said that I should bring them into the Medical Center and have them put in the biohazardous waste container.

The thread that this was discussed in would be quite old now, but I know that there were a few good ideas about what to do with them if you didn't have a Medical Center close to dispose of them. I'm not even clear what to search under or I'd try to find it for you.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


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By on Wed, 03-06-02, 05:25

Concerned Mom, I found the thread! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] It's under Living with PA, entitled Epi-pens nearing Expiry and I re-raised it for the different input you might get from that as well.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


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By ConcernedMom on Thu, 03-07-02, 04:49

Thanks everyone for your helpful suggestions. It occurred to me that when I take the Epi into the pharmacy for a refill, they just keep the old one, but when I call it in, then I still have the old one. I will just take my prescription in when its due then.

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By erik on Tue, 01-14-03, 00:33

raised for Klutzi - (asking about epi-pen expiry dates)

[This message has been edited by erik (edited January 13, 2003).]

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By Peg541 on Tue, 01-14-03, 01:34

I was advised by someone I trust that an expired epi pen is better than no epi pen at all.

I keep them for one year. My son carries only fresh ones but I have one fresh one and one expired one in my purse.

I let him practice on oranges with the expired ones.


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By cynde on Tue, 01-14-03, 01:38

We take our expired epi-pens into the pharmacy where we get the prescrition refilled. They accept them.


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