BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — Mylan Specialty, the fully integrated specialty pharmaceutical business of Mylan, today announced a second year of its EpiPen4Schools program. In its first year, more than 20,000 schools across all 50 states participated in the program that offers four free EpiPen or EpiPen Jr (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors to qualifying schools in the United States. Qualifications include having a valid prescription.
Over the last year, there has been significant legislative movement across the country to improve access to epinephrine, which should encourage more schools to take advantage of the EpiPen4Schools program. The goal of the program is to help schools have ready access to epinephrine auto-injectors in case a person experiences a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) at school. People are encouraged to visit EpiPen4Schools.com for more information.
"Educating the public about anaphylaxis preparedness and working to improve access to treatment continues to be an important focus at Mylan, which is why we are pleased to be able to extend EpiPen4Schools," said Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan. "We hope all schools that have participated in the past will sign up again, and those that haven't yet enrolled in the EpiPen4Schools program will do so quickly, so that EpiPen Auto-Injectors are in place by the start of the 2013 school year."
Anaphylaxis is unpredictable. For those at risk, it is important to be prepared with an anaphylaxis action plan that includes avoiding known allergens, recognizing the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, having immediate access to two epinephrine auto-injectors and seeking immediate emergency medical care should anaphylaxis occur. However, accidental exposure to an allergen can still occur and first-time reactions to unknown allergens are a possibility. Schools should also be prepared with an anaphylaxis action plan.
"Anaphylaxis is life-threatening and can occur quickly, without warning," said Ruchi Gupta, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University and Lurie Children's Hospital. "In the last year, we've seen more than 20 cases of anaphylaxis in Chicago Public Schools and have felt the positive impact of being prepared with an anaphylaxis action plan and having immediate access to epinephrine — made possible through the EpiPen4Schools program."
The back-to-school season is a key time for people affected by severe allergies to take important steps to start the school year off right. Dr. Gupta offers the following back-to-school checklist to help parents, caregivers and schools be better prepared for anaphylaxis this school year:
- Mark your calendar. Meet with a healthcare provider and make sure your child's anaphylaxis action plan is up to date;
- Stay timely. Check expiration dates on your child's epinephrine auto-injectors, and request new prescriptions if needed. Mylan Specialty offers patients the opportunity to register their EpiPen Auto-Injectors at MyEpiPen.com to receive expiration reminders;
- Take two. Make sure your child always has immediate access to two epinephrine auto-injectors, as prescribed by a healthcare provider; and
- Be vocal. Communicate with your child's school often to ensure planned school activities accommodate your child's needs.
For Schools/School Nurses
- Get educated. Make sure school staff members are aware of which students are at risk, know the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and are trained how to respond if anaphylaxis occurs;
- Have a plan. Make sure the school has an anaphylaxis action plan that includes the following elements for people at risk and those who may experience anaphylaxis for the first time at school: Avoid known allergens; recognize signs and symptoms; have access to two epinephrine auto-injectors; seek immediate emergency medical care should anaphylaxis occur;
- Get in the know. See if your school qualifies to participate in the EpiPen4Schools program by visiting Epipen4Schools.com; and
- Be inclusive. Make sure all classroom activities are appropriate for every student.
In addition to avoiding allergic triggers and recognizing signs and symptoms, people at risk for anaphylaxis should have access to two epinephrine auto-injectors at all times, and school personnel should be trained on how to administer epinephrine and seek immediate emergency medical care should anaphylaxis occur.
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