Why you should practice with expired epi-pens

Posted on: Mon, 09/03/2007 - 11:58pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Please take a look at this video on youtube.

I'll wait. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


This guy makes two mistakes. One is that he doesn't hold the pen in long enough. But, even worse is that he has his thumb covering the hole at the end of the epi-pen. It's a common mistake -- and it can prevent the pen from firing. If you notice, it takes a few attempts before his does inject.

I think this is an excellent lesson on why we need to practice not only with a trainer, but also with an expired epi-pen. With a trainer you might not notice making that mistake, but with the real thing you would.


This link was originally posted by onedayatatime for a different reason. But, I felt it was a useful learning tool. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Tue, 09/04/2007 - 1:30am
doofusclo's picture
Joined: 12/03/2006 - 09:00

You know I have practiced with expired pens and will again. But I have thought about taking a couple of them to my pediatrician to pass on to those people he is telling about food allergies for the first time. You know they could practice and maybe not be as scared about not knowing what it is like. I don't know if the doctor would take them. Education is key for everyone.

Posted on: Tue, 09/04/2007 - 2:01am
smudgesgarden's picture
Joined: 02/26/2006 - 09:00

we practice with expired pens on fruit like oranges or apples. depending on what time of the year it is and what fruit is in season. i didnt relize that you shouldnt put you finger over the top. you learn something every day.

Posted on: Tue, 09/04/2007 - 3:40am
ajgauthier's picture
Joined: 04/13/2005 - 09:00

...another reason is to actually see the needle afterwards so you aren't completely freaked out during a reaction! You can also watch to see the solution draining to know why you have to count to 10.
that's the one thing the trainer doesn't prepare you for
30-something survivor of severe peanut/tree nut allergy

Posted on: Tue, 09/04/2007 - 5:34am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Jesse and I just practiced yesterday with expired EpiPens and I'm fairly sure we had our hands over the hole on the end as well.
We hadn't done this in quite some time and each of us made a mistake. I was hesitant - even though I was putting it into a lemon.
Jesse didn't hold it in long enough. He put it in, pulled it back out and then put it back in again and resumed counting.
So, we both have to do it again - but I have a lot of expired Epis.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
There but for the Grace of God, go I.

Posted on: Tue, 09/04/2007 - 7:29am
mama2aidan's picture
Joined: 07/09/2004 - 09:00

I let the teacher use an expired one every year. It helps for all of the reasons stated above...and gives them a little less anxiety.
I know when I used it on Aidan the first time I was petrified...and after using it and seeing immediately the results it eased my mind. I tell them to count to ten...and they can also gauge how hard to *stick* him. Firmly...not jabbing I emphasize over and over.
It relieves them and me. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
I also emphasize not to put your thumb because of missfiring. and to grab Aidan tightly nd hold on to him.
To expect a little blood and a little bruising. BUT THAT IT IS OK....because they just saved his life.
So for so good. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Tue, 09/04/2007 - 8:57am
booandbrimom's picture
Joined: 08/23/2000 - 09:00

I didn't know that either. However, I've given it now three times (probably with my finger over the hole) and it's worked so I don't think it's particularly touchy.
Explains why you see people demo'ing the pen holding it in a fist though.

Posted on: Tue, 09/04/2007 - 9:14am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

(edited), you cannot reuse it even as a practise. The needle can not be put back in.

Posted on: Tue, 09/04/2007 - 9:34am
ceross's picture
Joined: 01/27/2004 - 09:00

I agree that the trainer does not prepare you for what actually giving the Epi is like. I practiced on an orange with an expired pen a while back. I have several expired and several now outgrown Epi Jrs at home. I offered them to the school nurse but was told that they're not allowed to use them in training anymore.
How do you dispose of your expired Epi pens? I asked the nurse at our pediatrician's office if I could give them to them for disposal and let's just say she was less than willing or helpful.

Posted on: Tue, 09/04/2007 - 11:09am
Daisy's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by booandbrimom:
[b]I didn't know that either. However, I've given it now three times (probably with my finger over the hole) and it's worked so I don't think it's particularly touchy.
Explains why you see people demo'ing the pen holding it in a fist though.[/b]
I think one of the other reasons for NOT holding your finger over the hole is that sometimes people hold them backwards & it can fire into your thumb.
A nurse mentioned this in a First Aid class.

Posted on: Tue, 09/04/2007 - 11:15am
booandbrimom's picture
Joined: 08/23/2000 - 09:00

Quote:How do you dispose of your expired Epi pens? I asked the nurse at our pediatrician's office if I could give them to them for disposal and let's just say she was less than willing or helpful.[/B]
I carried the last one around for about a month. My husband gave it to me for the sharps container at work, but I kept forgetting to put it in (it's on another floor). I saw a sharps container at a rest area while we were travelling and dropped it there.
By far, the easiest thing if you remember is to bring it to the hospital and ask them to dispose of it in their sharps container.


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