Seven Things to Know About EpiPen Management

Health Conditions

Seven Things to Know About EpiPen Management

Jennifer Hadley
By Jennifer Hadley
Jan 22, 2021 - Updated Apr 21, 2021
Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS
Medically Reviewed ByCarina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS
Seven Things to Know About EpiPen Management

Epinephrine auto-injectors, commonly known as EpiPens are life-saving devices for millions of Americans with life-threatening allergies to foods, insects, and certain medications. At the first sign of a serious allergic reaction (known as anaphylaxis), EpiPens can deliver an immediate injection of epinephrine, until you can get emergency medical treatment.

Here are seven things to know about EpiPen management.

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Do EpiPens expire?

EpiPens do expire. The shelf life of an EpiPen and authorized generics is typically 20 months. However, due to EpiPen shortages which began in 2018, the FDA extended expiration dates four months beyond the printed date found on both the auto-injector and the box it is packaged in. Always check the expiration of your EpiPen, so that you can refill your prescription ahead of the expiration date.

Are all EpiPens the same?

All EpiPens are not the same, as dosages differ between children and adults. EpiPens and their generic equivalent are for use in those who weigh more than 66 lbs. EpiPen Jr. and its generic equivalent are for use in children weighing less than 66 lbs.

The active ingredients in EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. are the same in the brand drug and the generic auto-injectors. EpiPens contain 0.3 mg of epinephrine, while EpiPen Jr. contains 0.15 mg of epinephrine. Shopping for the generic version of EpiPen can help save on the cost, so definitely discuss the option with your health care provider.

How much does an EpiPen cost without insurance?

The generic version of EpiPen, epinephrine, is much cheaper in price compared to its brand version.

The cost of epinephrine without insurance starts at $139.00* for a single 0.3mg/0.3 auto-injector using an RxSaver coupon.

The cost of an EpiPen can vary depending on dosage and whether your doctor prescribes a brand of generic version. Be sure to ask about a generic version to help lower the cost of your Epi-Pen.

How much do EpiPens cost?

The cost of EpiPens varies from pharmacy to pharmacy. Generic EpiPens are typically cheaper than brand name drugs. Epinephrine auto-injectors are made by multiple manufacturers, making alternatives to EpiPens available for a different price.

EpiPen Alternatives

EpiPen is a brand drug, and perhaps the most well-known epinephrine auto-injector. However, alternatives to EpiPen are available. Alternatives all contain the same active ingredient of epinephrine. EpiPen alternatives available include:

  • Adrenaclick
  • Auvi-Q
  • Symjepi

Why do EpiPen shortages happen?

EpiPen shortages have occurred in the past, with the most significant shortage occurring in 2018. Shortages have been caused by manufacturing delays, leading to a demand that outweighs the supply. Shortages in the past have coincided with the start of a new school year, so be sure to fill your prescription before the start of school. As of 2021, the EpiPen shortage has been resolved.

Do you call 911 after using an EpiPen?

If you or someone you are with is experiencing a severe allergic reaction, requiring the use of an EpiPen, this is considered an emergency situation and 911 should be called. EpiPens and their generic equivalents are life-saving devices to be used only until you can seek emergency medical care. If you or someone you are with is experiencing any symptoms of anaphylaxis, emergency medical care is critical.

Subsequent severe allergic reactions can happen hours after an initial allergic reaction. Studies suggest that the more severe the initial reaction, the more likely a strong, second reaction is to occur.

How many times can you use an EpiPen?

An EpiPen can only be used one time. It should be discarded after use. The EpiPen Jr. auto-injectors can also only be used one time before being discarded.

What is an EpiPen used for?

EpiPens and their generic equivalents are used to combat potentially fatal allergic reactions to food, medicines, and insect bites and stings. At the first sign of anaphylaxis, an injection of epinephrine is delivered to prevent death due to a severe allergy. Epinephrine auto-injectors will penetrate clothing, to deliver life-saving medication until emergency medical professionals arrive, or you arrive at the ER.

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Always Carry Your EpiPen with You

For children and adults with severe allergies, it is crucial to carry an EpiPen or generic equivalent with you at all times. Studies have found that nearly half of severe allergic reactions occur away from the home. EpiPens and other epinephrine auto-injectors can save your life if you experience a potentially fatal allergic reaction.

Following a severe allergic reaction, always seek immediate medical care, as additional medication or life-saving interventions may be necessary.

*Lowest online price at national pharmacy chains Costco, CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens and Walmart as of 4/21/2021. Prices vary by location and pharmacy, see for actual pricing in your area.

Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley

Jen Hadley is a freelance writer and journalist based in Los Angeles, who writes extensively about the medical, legal, health care, and consumer products industries. Jen is a regular contributor to RxSaver.

Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS., is a pharmacist who earned her PharmD from St. John’s University in Queens, NY. She maintains an active practice, serving as a Board-Certified Pediatric Pharmacotherapy Specialist at a large metropolitan teaching hospital in New York City. Carina has also published in pharmacy journals and works as a consultant reviewing medical articles for publication.

The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.