EpiPens may prove effective 4 years past expiration date, researcher says

EpiPens may contain enough epinephrine to counteract serious allergic reactions more than four years past the device's expiration date, according to a research letter published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine.

For the research, pharmacist F. Lee Cantrell tested the efficacy of 40 expired EpiPens and EpiPen Juniors. While EpiPens do lose potency overtime, Mr. Cantrell found the devices retained 84 percent of their epinephrine concentrations 50 months past expiration.

"In every pen we tested there was enough to give what would be considered a therapeutic dose," he told Reuters. "If my kid's having a life-threatening reaction, and I had no alternative, absolutely I would use it without hesitation … I don't think there's a physician in the world who would rebut that."

At present, EpiPen manufacturer Mylan recommends patients refill prescriptions for the device every 12 to 16 months. With a $608 list price for a two-pack, some patients may not be able to afford EpiPen refills as often as recommended, noted Mr. Cantrell. He believes Mylan and regulators should reevaluate EpiPen's lifespan.

Mylan is also seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for a new formulation, which would extend EpiPens' shelf life, reports Reuters.

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