Adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector storage, expiry and disposal
Adrenaline (ephinephrine) autoinjectors (e.g. EpiPen) should ideally be stored in a cool dark place at room temperature, between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius. They must not be refrigerated, as temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius may damage the autoinjector mechanism. They should be stored in an insulated wallet if the temperature is warmer than 25 degrees Celsius or colder than 15 degrees Celsius, or if they are carried in a bag and subject to fluctuating temperatures.
Adrenaline autoinjectors should be kept out of the reach of small children, however, they must be readily available when needed and NOT in a locked cupboard. An ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis should always be stored with an adrenaline autoinjector.
The shelf life of adrenaline autoinjectors is normally between one to two years from the date of manufacture. It is important that the expiry date on the adrenaline autoinjector device is checked and noted, rather than the expiry date on the box. The expiry date on the side of the device needs to be marked on a calendar and the device must be replaced prior to this date.
Expired adrenaline autoinjectors are not as effective when used for treating allergic reactions and should not be relied upon to treat anaphylaxis. However, the most recently expired adrenaline autoinjector available should be used if no in-date device is available.
EpiPen autoinjectors contain a clear window near the tip where you can check if the adrenaline is discoloured or contains sediment. If this is the case, the device should be replaced as the adrenaline may be less effective.
Adrenaline autoinjectors cannot be reused even if some adrenaline remains inside the device.
After using an adrenaline autoinjector, an ambulance should be called immediately to take the individual to hospital, so they can be given further treatment and remain under observation for at least 4 hours.
The used adrenaline autoinjector should be placed in a container, labelled clearly with the time it was given and then handed over to the ambulance. Transient (temporary) side effects of adrenaline such as increased heart rate, trembling and pallor are to be expected.
Content updated November 2019