Frozen Epipen
December 19, 2013 10:40 PM   Subscribe

Today I realized that I left my purse in my car for several days, in temperatures well below freezing. In my purse was an epipen. It was in the cold, and quite possibly frozen, for at least 72 hours, possibly longer. I know that the pens aren't especially shelf-stable even under the best of circumstances--is it still good?

Googling reports that the company suggests that you replace the pen after something like this, but doesn't say much about if the efficacy of the pen is actually affected. I'm torn--I have no health insurance, and paying $150 to see a doctor, get a prescription, and then get it filled would be a major financial blow right now. On the other hand, I'm well aware that holidays have, for me, a much higher than usual chance of encountering allergens.

I have severe food allergies and carry two pens with me most of the time. I have the second one, which, luckily, I'd left at home (because apparently fortune favors the stupid), but have previously had reactions where a second pen was needed to bring the reaction under control, and the idea of not having a backup is pretty scary. If the frozen one will work or mostly work, I'll hold on to it, otherwise I'll try to get a new one before the yearly week of gluttony begins.

Any information you have about the effectiveness of thawed from frozen adrenaline would be greatly appreciated.
posted by MeghanC to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Hi Meghan! I won't answer your question (I would not take any chances if you want an opinion!) but please take advantage of the Epipen and AuviQ zero co-pay coupons for those without health insurance. See their websites, both have the offers linked on their home pages. There is also a generic epinephrine pen available now.
posted by girlhacker at 10:56 PM on December 19, 2013 [6 favorites]

This faq addresses the question of temperature storage.

EpiPen and EpiPen Jr Auto-Injectors should be stored in the carrier tube provided at a temperature of 25ºC (77ºF); however, temperature excursions between 15ºC and 30ºC (59ºF to 86ºF) are permitted.1 EpiPen and EpiPen Jr Auto-Injectors should not be stored in refrigerators or in a vehicle’s glove box.1,3 The auto-injectors should not be exposed to extreme heat or cold.3

This is a life saving medication for you, please replace it as soon as possible. (IANAD)
posted by JujuB at 10:57 PM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have had some luck before calling an old doctor to explain that I'd left my inhaler in the car on a 90+ degree day all day and just needed a prescription sent in to pick up another one. Wouldn't work for drugs with abuse potential, but I've never heard of anybody abusing epi-pens.
posted by Sequence at 10:57 PM on December 19, 2013

Yes, try calling an old doctor, and then use the coupons. It's a way-overly-expensive-bummer to buy epipens, but it's not worth fooling with.
posted by feets at 11:07 PM on December 19, 2013

I just refilled my Epi-pen with the free Epi-pen $0 copay coupon, and I have health insurance.

So, it shouldn't be a problem at all to get a refill to replace the frozen one.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:23 PM on December 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

Here is the coupon that I used - good through December 31, 2014, and can be used multiple times.

Zero Copay Epi-pen
posted by spinifex23 at 11:27 PM on December 19, 2013 [7 favorites]

Holy crap, you guys, thank you so much for the link to the zero copay coupon. It had somehow never occurred to me that this could even be a thing! The walk-in clinic should write a prescription for about sixty bucks, which is a lot more doable. Merry Christmas to me!
posted by MeghanC at 11:36 PM on December 19, 2013 [11 favorites]

No expertise here, but my Googling came up with several results that mentioned cold can mess with the triggering mechanism of the pen. So there is more to be concerned about than just the epinephrine inside. One more vote for your life and health being worth far more than the money to replace the pen.
posted by cecic at 11:41 PM on December 19, 2013

Very glad I could help! I had no idea that the coupon existed until I stumbled upon it on Livejournal, of all things. I just filled mine yesterday, and there were no hassles at all.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:46 PM on December 19, 2013

Mine just expired and I'm THRILLED about the coupon.

Thank you all, I love the Hive Mind!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:40 AM on December 20, 2013

Please give the discount card to the pharmacy staff when you drop off the prescription. Don't wait until you're at the register. Read the fine print carefully--you may need to call a number to activate the card before it can be used.
posted by dephlogisticated at 1:48 PM on December 22, 2013

Epi-Pen and Auvi-Q have both continued their $0 copay programs for 2014.
posted by girlhacker at 5:14 PM on January 7, 2014

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