SYDNEY, Australia Forty percent of parents are not secure in administering an adrenaline injection known as Epi-Pen to their allergy-ridden child, the Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday.
While prescriptions written for the auto-injector have increased by 650 percent in the past eight years, surpassing allergy rates tremendously, according to statistical data, allergy experts say this dramatic increase is concerning in light of new research showing parents with allergic children have concerns about using the pen.
The pen, which delivers a shot of adrenaline, can reverse the effects of a severe fast-acting reaction known as anaphylactic shock.
Researchers at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney surveyed 120 parents of preschoolers with egg allergy, most of whom had been prescribed the device. While 86 percent said they were confident that they knew how and when to use the device, research from the Medical Journal of Australia says otherwise.
“Despite this, almost 40 percent stated they had concerns about using the EpiPen in an emergency,” researchers wrote in the Journal. “These included doubting their ability to correctly administer the EpiPen, whether they would have enough time and they would inject correctly, concerns they may hurt their child ... and concern about appropriate timing.”
Thirty percent, the report said, admitted they did not always carry the device.
Professor Andrew Kemp and his colleagues said these findings were concerning, especially as these parents were attending a specialist allergy clinic and were probably more educated on device use than most.
“It is not enough to merely prescribe an EpiPen,” he wrote. “It is vital that carriers, patients and prescribers understand its use.”
The view is confirmed by the National Prescribing Service, which says the pen should only be a small part of managing allergic anaphylaxis.
Patients also should be taught how to avoid triggers, referred to a specialist and given follow-up support from their doctor, the service states in its prescribing advice.