People with Allergies Often Leave Life-Saving Epinephrine at Home

People with Allergies Often Leave Life-Saving Epinephrine at Home

Serious allergic reactions can be life threatening, often impacting a patient so quickly even an ambulance might not be able to arrive quickly enough to keep them from suffering injury or even death. Yet despite this, medical studies show only about half of all such patients who have received epinephrine auto-injectors keep the life saving devices with them all the time. And about forty percent of these serious allergy sufferers have had at least one severe allergic reaction when they did not have their auto-injector with them.

Whether it’s a food allergy, something involving medications, or even an insect bite or sting, the severe allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, can overwhelm a patient in only minutes. When a patient enters an anaphylactic reaction, their immune system triggers in ways that can cause blood pressure to plummet and airways to swell. Epinephrine is a medication that helps counteract these effects in the body, which can buy time for medical intervention to be reached.

Patients who didn’t routinely carry the injectors with them cited a lack of concern that a severe reaction would be medically dangerous, or a worry over either cost or with physically keeping and carrying the device with them. This included simple absent mindedness. The study’s authors are urging doctors to step up patient education efforts, to save lives.

Key Points:

  • 1Fewer than half the people with severe allergies carry their epinephrine auto-injectors on them.
  • 2Although 90% of respondents have their prescriptions the other 10% didn’t due to cost.
  • 3The reason most don’t carry their prescriptions is because the patients feel that the allergy isn’t severe or they have never had a previous reaction.

Anaphylaxis can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to something a person is allergic to, such as foods, medications, and insect venom.

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