The skeptical cardiologist recently revealed that he had been relying on an EpiPen that expired in 2011. Apparently, I was not entirely wrong to keep that old EpiPen around.
A research letter published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that EpiPens:
did lose potency over time. Even 50 months past expiration, however, the EpiPens retained 84 percent of epinephrine concentrations – enough to prevent anaphylactic shock,.
Per Reuters based on an email from Julie Knell, Mylan’s senior director for global product communications:
The expiration dates stamped on EpiPens reflect “the final day, based on quality control tests, that a product has been determined to be safe and effective when stored under the conditions stated in the package insert,” Knell said. “Given the life-threatening nature of anaphylaxis, patients are encouraged to refill their EpiPen Auto-Injector upon expiration, approximately every 12 to 18 months.”
Pharmacists indicate they may not get EpiPens until 6 months after manufacture meaning that patients must replace them annually. Extending the shelf-life to 24 months therefore would halve the annual cost of the devices.