State issues epi-pen tips for students
ALBANY — The New York State Department of Health, the Office of Children and Family Services and the State Education Department are reminding New Yorkers who have children who rely on epinephrine to take steps to ensure they are prepared for the back-to-school season.
The departments recently issued some guidelines for health care, school health and child day care providers outlining steps that families can take to ensure they have access to epinephrine products.
The state is advising providers to work with families with children who rely on epinephrine to check their autoinjectors and direct them to the FDA list of specific lots of EpiPen that have extended expiration dates.
Also, consistent with manufacturer guidelines, providers are encouraged to remind individuals to store autoinjectors at room temperature.
Finally, families should talk to their health care provider or pharmacist to consider alternative options or autoinjectors, where appropriate, the state officials added.
To best meet the needs of students, schools are encouraged to ensure that they have appropriate personnel trained in the application of epinephrine products. Any schools that stock a supply of epinephrine, consistent with state law, are encouraged to do so responsibly and in accordance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state recommendations.
The FDA has announced that they are extending the expiration dates for specific lots of EpiPen (0.3 mg) and the authorized generic (0.3 mg) that have expiration dates between April 2018 and December 2018. A list of the affected lot numbers can be located on the FDA website. According to the FDA, the extension of the expiration dates does not apply to the EpiPen Jr. (0.15 mg) or its authorized generic (0.15 mg). Patients should continue to adhere to the manufacturer’s expiration date on the label. If you have questions about a prescribed epinephrine auto-injector, please contact a medical professional for advice.
“Epinephrine is one item that isn’t always on the back-to-school shopping list but in an allergy-related emergency, it could be the most important thing in a child’s school supplies,” said state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “As the first homework assignment of the year, I’m encouraging families with children who rely on epinephrine and schools across the state to review the FDA’s guidance on epinephrine and take steps to ensure children have access to the products they require.”
“Child care providers are uniquely positioned to assist working parents in making sure that they are prepared to treat a child suffering from an allergic reaction,” said acting OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole. “As we face a supply challenge with epinephrine, we are encouraging child care providers to communicate this important information to parents so they can have medication available if needed.”
“It’s so important that there is open, effective communication about medical policies and protocols in our school communities,” state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “When every second counts, parents, students, administrators and school health officials all need to know who is trained to administer epinephrine and where this life-saving medicine is stocked and stored. I encourage parents and students to reach out to their schools, if they haven’t already, to ensure they have all the information they need.”