How Long I Can Safely Use Allergy Meds
- What: Epipen allergy medication
- When: Refilling our prescription
- Why: Severe nut allergies
- Where: Our home
Remember that awful process I went through this summer trying to get our son’s Epipen prescription refilled because ours had expired?
Well, we finally had our appointment with the allergist. I’m not a physician, I don’t claim to dispense medical advice, and you should always consult your own physician (or in this case, pediatric allergy specialist), but guess what? Epipens don’t expire for at least two years, regardless of the expiration date written on the box. So all that stress I had trying to get a new one before we left the country for weeks on end? That wasn’t necessary. I could’ve saved myself a lot of trouble and gotten a lot more sleep if I had known, but it never occurred to me to ask.
I only found out because I told the doctor how much trouble we had getting a refill over the summer. The school and other places will always want an up to date (ie unexpired) box, but we can continue to keep and use our pile of expired boxes for at least another year and possibly longer. I took our stack of expired boxes with us to dispose of safely, because trying to get rid of expired Epipens is almost as rough as getting your child’s prescription refilled during a national shortage (though most of our issues had less to do with the shortage and more to do with a crap system).
It turns out that Epipens come with one year expiration dates mainly because the manufacturer would like to sell more at $600 a box. Don’t forget we need three boxes at any given time, so that’s a nice chunk of change. I can’t imagine if we had no insurance to help cut that cost. Most drug stores give out the oldest boxes first, which makes sense for them if not us, so it’s entirely possible, as I learned the hard way, to get a brand new box only good for six to nine months if you follow the expiration date printed.
So while I feel immensely relieved to get some more use out of our older supply, I also feel irked that I didn’t discover this sooner, like before I outdid myself trying to get new ones.