EpiPen shortage causes concern for parents in Charleston

posted by Brad Streicher, Reporter/MMJ - 

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

As kids head back to school, some parents are having a hard time finding EpiPens they need to keep their kids safe in the event of an allergic reaction.

Lisa Savage can attest to that.

"A life-threatening medication that has been on the market for over 50 years is suddenly not available. It's unbelievable to me," Savage said.

Savage is trying to find an EpiPen just when the Food and Drug Administration says there's currently a shortage of EpiPens across the country.

Now that her 13-year-old son is back in school, Savage said finding one is critical.

"He's been in anaphylactic shock three times in his lifetime and the EpiPen has saved his life," Savage said.

Jonathan Savage is allergic to peanuts and shellfish, two things that are easy to come by as an eighth grader in Charleston.

Jonathan can remember those near-death experiences well.

"It was sort of scary. But a lot of those emotions were kind of washed away when you're on the epinephrine because it gives you sort of an adrenaline rush," Jonathan said.

Several pharmacies said over the phone on Wednesday that they were out of stock on EpiPens.

Because of the shortage of EpiPens, the FDA announced recently that people could push back the expiration date of their old devices.

Doctor Sterling Harper of Summerville Medical said that may be an option, but it's not one he's quick to recommend.

"I think until there is a controlled, double-blind study comparing expired products to non-expired products. We should be respecting the labeled expiration dates on the products," Harper said.

The same FDA notice extending expiration dates also said people should still get rid of expired EpiPens as soon as a replacement is available.

That has Lisa worried.

"If he's in anaphylactic shock, I don't feel confident administering that in the hope that it would work," Lisa said.

Several doctors recommend looking into off-brand epinephrine injection devices.

Charleston County School District nurses recommend Auvi-Q to parents and students.

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