Adrenaline (Epinephrine) Injector storage, expiry and disposal

Storage

Adrenaline (epinephrine) injectors (e.g. EpiPen® or Anapen®)should be stored:

  • In a cool dark place at room temperature, between 15-25°C, but not refrigerated, as temperatures below 15°C may damage the injector mechanism.
  • In an insulated wallet if a person carrying a device is outside for an extended time in the heat (such as hiking or at the beach).
  • Where they are readily available and not in a locked cupboard.
  • With a RED ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis, clearly labelled with the name of the person who has been prescribed the device, including if the device is carried by the person.
  • With an ORANGE ASCIA First Aid Plan for Anaphylaxis if they are for general use (not prescribed for a person).
    ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis.

People who are at risk of anaphylaxis should have an adrenaline injector with them, either carried themselves (if they are old enough), or by their parent/carer.

If adrenaline autoinjectors are stored with asthma inhalers (reliever or preventer puffer) in a person's first aid kit, they should not be separated. Asthma inhalers should be stored below 30°C but do not need to be refrigerated, and should not be left in cars. 

Expiry

The shelf life of adrenaline injector devices is usually 12 to 18 months:

  • The expiry date on the side of the device should be marked on a calendar or diary.
  • The devices must be replaced prior to the end of the month in which it expires.

Expired adrenaline injectors are not as effective when used for treating anaphylaxis. However, if no other adrenaline injector is available, a recently expired adrenaline injector should be used in preference to not using one at all.

EpiPen® and Anapen® injectors 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 injectors are single use devices and cannot be reused, even if some adrenaline remains inside the device.

Disposal

After using an adrenaline injector device:

  • An ambulance should be called immediately to take the person to hospital, so they can be given further treatment and remain under observation for at least four hours.
  • The used device needs to be clearly labelled with the time it was given and then handed over to the ambulance.

If an expired adrenaline injector is used for training demonstrations (e.g. by safely injecting the device into a citrus fruit such as an orange), the used device can be placed in a household rubbish bin, if a needle shield or other needle cover is in place. 

Further Information 

https://www.allergy.org.au/hp/anaphylaxis/adrenaline-autoinjectors-faqs 

https://www.asthmahandbook.org.au/management/devices/using-inhalers

Content updated September 2021

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