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Epinephrine auto-injector use and demographics in a Veterans Administration population

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Abstract:

The epinephrine auto-injector has been widely used over a long period of time. Certain aspects of this therapy and demographic data, however, have not been well studied. This study investigates patient use and understanding of epinephrine auto-injector use. As part of an ongoing quality assurance program, we evaluated 66 patients who had been given an epinephrine auto-injector and followed in the Allergy and Immunology Clinics at the West Los Angeles Veterans Medical Center. Data analyzed included patient demographics, medical indications for epinephrine auto-injector prescriptions, and the patient’s understanding and use of the device. The mean age of our patients was 50 years. There were 44 men (66.7%) and 22 women (33%). Twenty-three patients were prescribed epinephrine auto-injector for adverse food reactions. Ninety-two percent (92%) of the patients knew how to use their epinephrine auto-injector properly, however, only 58% carried their device with them consistently. Of the patients, 91% understood why the auto-injector was prescribed. Of the total patients prescribed epinephrine auto-injector, 79% refilled their medication before the 1 year expiration date. Only 12% of the patients studied had required the use of their auto-injector. Most patients knew how and when to administer their epinephrine auto-injector. Despite detailed instructions in a specialty clinic only a slight majority carried it consistently. These data clearly indicate that further patient education or other measures are needed to improve compliance and effective use.

Keywords: Anaphylaxis; EpiPen; demographics; epinephrine; quality control; twinject; use; veteran

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2500/aap.2010.31.3351

Affiliations: Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA. aliamirzadeh@gmail.com

Publication date: July 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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