Australian patient care revamped with the relaunch of the MyEpiPen Patient Support Program
Pharmacists have a crucial role to play in patient education and safety each time they dispense an EpiPen Auto-Injector, says Dr Katie Frith, chair of the Anaphylaxis Committee at the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA).
“Refresher training is essential and pharmacists are well placed to go through a brief refresher to ask the patient or parent to quickly demonstrate how they would use the EpiPen Auto-Injector and to remind them of ‘blue to the sky, orange to the thigh’ and correct placement,” said Dr Frith.
“One of the challenges is that some patients don’t use their EpiPen device when they have anaphylaxis.”
Dr Frith was sharing her insights to mark the relaunch of the Viatris’ MyEpiPen patient support program in Australia. The program has about 35,000 members and includes popular features such as expiry reminders to prompt patients to get a new prescription.
“The reminders are a good service. I certainly recommend that my patients sign up,” says Dr Frith.
Pharmacists can tell patients that all new members receive a free trainer device. The support program website also features explainer videos and information to boost people’s confidence.
Dr Frith said there are seven points she wanted pharmacists to consider doing when dispensing EpiPen Auto-Injectors:
- Ask if patients feel confident using their EpiPen and remind them not to delay giving adrenaline if there are symptoms of anaphylaxis. “I tell my patients that if they are uncertain, they should err on the side of caution and give their EpiPen.”
- Reiterate that standing or walking during anaphylaxis may lead to sudden death. “Patients should always have their EpiPen devices with them. But if it is in another room, someone else should bring them to them.”
- Remind people to call an ambulance after giving EpiPen, as further doses of adrenaline may be needed.
- Advise people never to take antihistamines instead of intramuscular adrenaline. “I reassure patients that IM adrenaline is safe, especially in the metered dose as given with the EpiPen device and there are no contraindications to IM adrenaline in the treatment of anaphylaxis.”
- With children, check if it is the correct device for a child’s weight.
- Strongly advise people to keep their EpiPen Auto-Injectors on them at all times.
- Remind patients about safe storage, for example not to leave their EpiPen device in a car.
6 benefits of MyEpiPen:
- Expiry reminder service: People can register their EpiPen or EpiPen Auto-Injectors on the MyEpiPen website to receive a reminder to see their GP for a new prescription.
- Free trainer device: Every new member receives a welcome pack that includes a trainer device and “how to use” cards to keep at home and share with others.
- Video explainers: These provide patients and carers with easy-to-follow instructions on how to use their EpiPen and EpiPen Auto-Injectors. These are appropriate for new patients and as refreshers for existing patients.
- Peer support videos in which ordinary Australians share their real-world stories of using EpiPen
- Tips and facts: Evidence-based information to help people understand more about anaphylaxis and their EpiPen Auto-Injectors.
- Regular newsletters: Living with the risk of anaphylaxis can be a life-long journey. We keep our members up to date with relevant news and guideline changes.
(this list has been supplied by Viatris, manufacturer of EpiPen)