Health Canada is warning consumers to check their EpiPen and EpiPen Jr devices – to see whether any stick in the tube carrier.
Pfizer Canada, which distributes EpiPens in Canada, told the federal Health Canada agency that “a very small number of carrier tubes have a defect that partially blocks the opening of the tube and may prevent easy release of the auto-injector from the carrier. The issue is with the carrier tube, and not with the device itself.”
While this October 2019 advisory was issued in Canada, there is no similar advisory for EpiPen brand and generic auto-injectors sold to U.S. customers.
In the fall of 2018, Pfizer Canada and Pfizer Inc. (the U.S. device manufacturer) warned of a different tube issue: in a small number of EpiPens distributed in the United States and Canada, the device label was not correctly placed. That meant a device might become stuck to the inside the carrier tube.
Health Agency’s Advice
With the 2019 warning, Health Canada says no EpiPens devices themselves are faulty, but rather the issue is with sticking in the tube. This could delay retrieving a device from the carrier in an emergency. Epinephrine needs to be administered swiftly in a severe allergic reaction.
The agency gives this advice:
- Check your or your child’s EpiPen devices. Flip open the carrier tube cap, turn the tube upside down and let the device slide out into your hand (do not shake or drop it). Look at your device to make sure the label has no unglued edges that may catch on the tube.
- If an EpiPen device sticks or does not slide out easily from its tube, or the device label has unglued edges, return it to your pharmacist for replacement. “Do NOT attempt to remove or re-attach the label under any circumstances.”
The affected Canadian products are: EpiPen 0.3 mg (DIN 00509558) and EpiPen Jr 0.15 mg (DIN 00578657), which expire on or before September 2020. Health Canada has more information here.
If you live in the U.S. and think you are experiencing the sticking issue with an EpiPen device, you may report an issue via the FDA’s MedWatch program.
Related: November 2018 article: FDA Warns EpiPen May Stick in Tube