New Device May Give Epi-Pen Some Competition

Epi-PenEpi-Pen is a device that is used when a child or adult experiences anaphylaxis after encountering something that he or she is extremely allergic to. It is about the size of a large magic marker. Two brothers, who have food allergies, have created a device that could be competition for the makers of the Epi-Pen.

An Epi-Pen is a device that can be used to auto-inject a specific amount of epinephrine into a person who is having a severe allergic reaction to something, and who is experiencing anaphylaxis as a result. Left untreated, a person could die from anaphylaxis in a very short amount of time. The Epi-Pen is a lifesaver.

There have been other devices that perform the same function as an Epi-Pen in the past, but they do not seem to stick around for long, possibly because patients know and trust the Epi-Pen brand and are unsure of switching to a different type. Epi-Pen is so well known that schools in Illinois are allowed to stock Epi-Pens in the school just in case a child goes into anaphylaxis.

I have a bunch of allergies. Several of them could result in anaphylaxis. I carry a big box in my purse that contains an Epi-Pen, an extra Epi-Pen, and a training device that I can use to teach people how to administer the medication that is in my Epi-Pen if I need it.

Each Epi-Pen (and the training device) is about the size of one of those giant magic markers that people use to write on poster board. It takes up a whole lot of space in my purse, and will never fit into my pocket. Since I could have a severe allergic reaction at any time, I have no choice except to bring my Epi-Pens with me when I go out.

Eric and Evan Edwards may have created a better solution. The twin brothers grew up with serious food allergies. They often would forget to bring their Epi-Pens with them, and found it to be difficult to carry around all the time. So, they built a smaller, sleeker, one.

The Auvi-Q has a compact, rectangular shape and looks very similar to a cell phone. It can fit where your smartphone can. You can put it into your pocket, and it will take up no more room in your purse than your phone will. It has automated voice instructions that can guide someone through the process of how to use it on a person that has gone into anaphylaxis.

The Auvi-Q contains epinephrine, just like the Epi-Pen does. Auvi-Q is made by a company called Sanofi. Epi-Pen is made by a company called Mylan Inc.. It will be interesting to see what happens when people are given a choice of which device they want to carry around with them all the time.

Image by Vu Nguyen on Flickr