Friday, July 9, 2010

An Epi-Pen Experiment

With the weather in Toronto sizzling over the last week, I've been concerned about the health of DJ's epi-pens. Their temperature range is somewhat limited; that is, they can't get too hot, or too cold.

Normally, they sit on our kitchen counter. I like to keep them both handy and visible, so it's easier to remember them when leaving the house. But with the humidex making it feel like it's hotter than hell (really, hotter than 40), I've been worried that the pens will spoil. Apparently, an 'off' epi-pen will look discolored. I've checked DJ's and they look normal to me, but I'm sort of wondering just how discolored they get.

I'm going to try a little experiment. We have two expired epi-pens that we've been waiting to administer to an orange. DJ's allergist suggested we do so to get a feel for really administering the pen, instead of just using the practice one. Before I do that, I'm going to let them simmer in our car for a couple of days to see if they really do turn colour to indicate spoilage.

I'll post pictures of a car-baked pen beside one that's been sitting on our kitchen counter once the experiment is over. And then, we'll get that orange out.


  1. I will be curious to see your pictures! I have been wondering the same thing, b/c my friend's pharmacist took the "do not expose to light" thing so literally that he advised her to keep her epipens in the original carboard box, so that is how she carries them. Whereas, I had no idea that that was the case and have been tossing ours from stroller to diaper bag to kitchen counter, etc. inside their little green plastic sleeve. Now that summer is here, and they are sometimes left in the stroller for a few hours, I am wondering if I would really notice the "discoloration" that you mentioned. I am hoping your experiment shows that it's obvious and not a subtle change. Oh, and I never would've thought of injecting an orange. What a great idea.

  2. I'd be curious to know how this goes. We are headed to the beach for a week and when we go to the beach, I always bring a pack of epipens. Because you never know who will be there and what type of food people will be eating. I always keep them in our beach bag, away from direct sun. But still it's hot out there.


  3. I wish our doctor had told us about using the expired epi-pens on oranges. My son's pens expired a couple of weeks ago. I would have loved to have tried the old ones out to get a feel of what it is like to actually use a real epi-pen.