Consumer Reports: Alternatives to rising costs of EpiPen

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The price of the life-saving auto-injector EpiPen has skyrocketed, and that's putting people with severe allergic reactions at risk.

Consumer Reports has advice on a lower-cost alternative to this essential medication.

Daniel Hannan has a severe nut allergy, and his mother Donna makes sure he always has an EpiPen nearby for emergencies.

"We hope never to use it," she said. "But it's absolutely essential that he has it with him everywhere he goes."

And since the drug manufacturer Mylan purchased EpiPen in 2007, the price has gone up more than 400 percent.

"My insurance doesn't have a co-pay for the pens," Donna said. "It's frustrating that it costs so much."

There is no generic for EpiPen, but doctors can prescribe another auto-injector that can cost hundreds of dollars less.

The Epinephrine Auto-Injector, also called generic Adrenaclick, uses the exact same drug in the exact same dosage as EpiPen.

The difference is in how the injector pens are designed and how they work. With EpiPen, you remove a blue safety release, then push an orange tip against your outer thigh until the pen clicks. In 3 seconds, the drug is fully injected.

With the Epinephrine Auto-Injector, you remove two gray caps, then push a red tip against your outer thigh. When the needle punctures the skin, you wait 10 seconds for the drug to be fully injected.
Either device could save your life in an emergency, so it's important to fully understand how the device you're prescribed works.

Consumer Reports say that if you're frustrated with the high price of EpiPen, the generic Adrenaclick may be a real option. They recommend you discuss it with your doctor.

Some patients can cut costs even more by filling manual syringes with epinephrine themselves, but that can be a tricky process and must be done with extreme care.
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