2013 Patient Assistance Resources for Epinephrine Auto-Injectors

If you have been prescribed epinephrine, FARE recommends that you carry two epinephrine auto-injectors with you at all times to make sure you have quick access to this life-saving medication. It’s also important to replace any expired auto-injectors right away so that you always have an up-to-date device.

We know those prescription costs can add up, so we encourage individuals and families who are managing food allergies to take advantage of the following options to help make this medication more affordable.

cardfront-screen1. Mylan Specialty’s “$0 Co-Pay Offer” for EpiPen® Auto-Injector

Available to both cash-paying and commercially insured patients, the “$0 Co-Pay Offer” is valid for up to three EpiPen 2-Pak® cartons or EpiPen Jr 2-Pak® cartons per prescription, as patients may need to access two EpiPen or EpiPen Jr® (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors in multiple locations. Eligible patients can use the offer with an unlimited number of prescriptions until the coupon offer expires on December 31, 2013.

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support_callout_copay2. Sanofi’s “$0 Co-Pay Offer” for Auvi-Q® Auto-Injector

With the savings offer, most insured patients will pay $0 out of pocket for their Auvi-Q prescription. Cash-pay patients can receive up to $100 off per two-pack of Auvi-Q, up to a maximum of three two-packs per prescription. This offer can be used an unlimited number of times until the coupon offer expires on December 31, 2013.

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body-what-is-epi-options-15mg3. Generic Epinephrine Auto-Injector

The approved generic for Adrenaclick® is available as of June, 2013 and may provide a lower-cost option to patients.

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Be advised that the devices operate in different ways, so it is important to discuss your options with your doctor and be properly trained to use the device. You can find tips for getting the auto-injector you want and links to important information about each product, and training videos on how to use them on our the epinephrine auto-injector page of our website.

Students Detect a Need for New Technology to Help Those With Food Allergies

Middle school students Pallavi Bhave, 14, and Joyce Tian, 13, recently won the 2013 Toshiba ExploraVision science competition, which challenges students to simulate the real research and development of a new technology. Their award-winning innovation – chosen as the winner from more than 675 teams in their region and their age group – is a hand-held device similar to a smartphone that would be able to identify and provide information on the presence or absence of common allergens in a food sample. We asked them to tell us more about their project and their recent trip to present their idea on Capitol Hill!

While neither of us have food allergies ourselves, Pallavi’s mom is intolerant to lactose, and members of her family have allergies to shellfish and nuts. One day her mom said, “Wouldn’t it be easier if we just had a device that could detect what allergens are in a food?” When we started thinking about a project for the Toshiba ExploraVision competition, the idea for a food allergen detector came up again. We decided to investigate how to create this device because we knew that if it was produced, it would benefit not only Pavllavi’s family, but millions of individuals by reducing the risk of anaphylaxis.

Many of our friends are highly allergic to things like peanuts and milk and always carry epinephrine with them for emergencies. While they avoid products that contain the foods they’re allergic to, it’s still difficult for them to truly know what foods they can and cannot eat. For example, restaurants sometimes do not know exactly which allergens are in dishes, and accidental allergic reactions can result from cross-contact. Our Food Allergen Detector (F.A.D.) would be able to detect allergens in these dishes at concentrations as low as five parts per million (ppm), thus greatly decreasing the chance of a reaction.

While the F.A.D is still in the concept phase, if physically created it would be able to detect which food allergens are in a dish and display the results on a touch screen, which the user could scroll through as if it were a mobile phone. It would be a hand-held device utilizing Raman spectroscopy, which is a method requiring the shining of a UV laser beam on a food sample to detect the scattered light. A small percentage of the scattered light is shifted in frequency when reflected; this is unique to each allergen, and therefore can be used as a “fingerprint” to identify them.

Last month, we went to Washington, D.C. to accept our Toshiba ExploraVision award and we presented the project to senators on Capitol Hill. In our presentations to Toshiba executives, we explained our project and they gave ideas on how to feasibly create the F.A.D. Furthermore, we were interviewed by various local media outlets, as well as the Washington Kid’s Post. We also met Sen. Mark Warner and Bill Nye the Science Guy!

We applaud Pallavi and Joyce for their ingenuity and interest in helping further research on new technologies to help make life easier for those with food allergies. The girls intend to keep working on the device when they enter high school so that one day they can make the F.A.D. a reality!

Milk OIT: Do Its Benefits Last?

Several clinical trials are evaluating the effectiveness of oral immunotherapy (OIT) for milk allergy, the most common food allergy in infants and young children. Early studies showed that a significant number of participants could be desensitized to milk. After swallowing small but steadily increasing doses of the allergen, they were able to eat foods containing milk without fear of severe reactions. But these studies did not go on long enough to determine if OIT could lead to tolerance – long-lasting protection against anaphylaxis that would continue after treatment was stopped.

To find the answer, researchers at Johns Hopkins and Duke universities conducted a follow-up study of 32 children who had participated in two previous milk OIT trials. When the studies ended, each of these children had passed an oral food challenge and received individualized instructions for consuming milk at home.  Now – four to five years later – the researchers wanted to learn whether or not these children were still able to consume milk safely.

The results of the follow-up study, reported online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology on June 27, were mixed. While eight of the participants had no symptoms when they consumed milk, 12 reported frequent symptoms. Six of the children experienced anaphylaxis at least once during the follow-up period, including three who reported using epinephrine at least once. The research team, led by Dr. Corinne Keet of Johns Hopkins, recommended that future trials include higher doses for longer periods of time. (Although it was not mentioned by the study authors, researchers are also exploring combination therapy.  One current study, co-funded by FARE and the National Institutes of Health, is looking at the potential benefits of combining milk OIT with omalizumab, an anti-IgE medication.) The authors also concluded that OIT, which has not yet been approved by the FDA, is “far from ready” to be administered in allergists’ offices, and that more research is needed to determine its long-term results.

You can learn more about current food allergy studies at www.foodallergy.org/research.