Consumer Reports: Cheaper EpiPen alternative

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EpiPen prices skyrocket

The price of a life-saving EpiPen has skyrocketed. That's putting people with severe allergic reactions at risk. Consumer Reports has advice on a cheaper alternative to this important medication.

Daniel Hannan has a severe nut allergy. His mother, Donna, makes sure he always has an EpiPen nearby in case of an emergency.

"We hope never to use it. But it's absolutely essential that he has it with him everywhere he goes: school, camp, with friends," Donna Hannan said.

Since the drug manufacturer, Mylan, purchased EpiPen in 2007, the price of EpiPens has gone up more than 400 percent.

"My insurance doesn't have a co-pay for the pens. It is frustrating that it costs so much money," Donna Hannan said.

There is no generic for EpiPen, but doctors can prescribe another kind of auto-injector for epinephrine that can cost hundreds of dollars less.

"For a lot less money, the Epinephrine Auto-Injector, also called generic Adrenaclick, uses the exact same drug in the exact same dosing as EpiPen," Lisa Gill, Best Buy Drugs, Consumer Reports.

The difference is in how the injector pens are designed and how they work.

With EpiPen, you'll need to remove a blue safety release, then push an orange tip against your outer thigh until the pen 'clicks.' Wait 3 seconds until the drug is fully injected.

With the Epinephrine Auto-Injector, you'll remove two gray caps, then push a red tip against your outer thigh until the needle punctures your skin. Wait 10 seconds until the drug is fully injected.

Either device could save your life in an emergency, so it's important to fully understand how the device you're prescribed works.

"If you're frustrated with the high price of EpiPen, generic Adrenaclick may be a real option to discuss with your doctor," Gill said.

Some patients can cut costs even more by filling manual syringes with epinephrine themselves, but this can be a tricky process and must be done with extreme care.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2016. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit
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