EpiPen price hike

Solutions for getting the medication you need

If you have severe allergies, you probably have been following the news about the EpiPen price hike. The syringe that carries an emergency dose of epinephrine can mean the difference between life and death in the event of an allergic reaction to foods such as nuts, eggs and shellfish, or a spider bite or bee sting.

“People who have these severe allergies can have a very serious reaction,” said Handel Jones, M.D., Norton Community Medical Associates – Jeffersonville. “It can start out with wheezing and hives and progress to rapid heartbeat, breathing problems, convulsions and even death if not treated in an appropriate time.”

When a reaction occurs, the EpiPen is pushed into the thigh and the drug injected into the muscles, delivering the necessary dose of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, to reverse the reaction.

The price hike to $609 for two pens is causing great concern over affordability, especially because the pens expire after a year. In the U.S., the government does not regulate prices of drugs.

“Families on a tight budget are very concerned, especially if they have a high-deductible health plan,” Dr. Jones said. “It’s a scary time because having some kind of medication is critical.”

If you’re concerned about the cost, check with Mylan, the manufacturer, for a discount card or other rebate. You also may have other options. Talk to your physician about alternative medications that you could use, such as Adrenaclick.

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