Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Food Allergy News: We've Got the Auvi-Q (TM) Epinephrine Auto-Injector

I swear the fact that the purse matches the Auvi-Q (TM) is completely coincidental.
Ever since the Auvi-Q (TM) epinephrine auto-injector was introduced to consumers several months ago, my 13-year-old daughter with severe food allergies has been curious about these new compact devices. She liked the idea of a small auto-injector that would fit easily into a purse and she liked the fact that the device "talks" to you and guides you through the process.
It all sounded pretty awesome. However, we still had our pen-shaped epinephrine auto-injectors and they hadn't expired yet, so I suggested we wait until our next allergist appointment to ask for a prescription. Let me state up front that I have never been asked to review or endorse these products (and I'm not looking to do so), I am only speaking as a fellow consumer and giving my consumer opinion (and sharing my daughter's thoughts on the device).
OK, back to the allergy appointment. When we asked about it, our allergist was enthusiastic about the Auvi-Q (TM). She said it was a great choice for a teen. I was a little bit skeptical at first because we've been carrying a different auto-injector for so many years. 
After seeing the compact size of the Auvi-Q (TM) AND hearing how it guides you through the process, my daughter and I both agreed -- we wanted to carry it. It really is a great little device!
The allergist brought up some good points about the Auvi-Q that I hadn't considered, such as the fact that it might be a good choice for grandparents, teachers or other caregivers, given the fact that it has voice-guided instructions. (Please don't rely on those alone, though. For anyone caring for your child, of course you want to personally train them in how to use the device. Each package comes with a trainer for that very purpose.)
As the person with allergies who would ultimately need to carry it and/or use it, my daughter saw some other benefits. The small and convenient size is a huge bonus for her, because she self-carries her epinephrine everywhere she goes. She's  a girl, so she wants to be able to fit her epinephrine in a cute little purse. OK, that may sound trivial, but if kids feel good about carrying the epinephrine they are more likely to carry it. For boys, this device fits easily in a pocket. Here are the dimensions of the Auvi-Q, taken from the company web site: 3 3/8 inches wide, 2 inches high and 5/8 inches thick. It's smaller than a cell phone, for example.
Two Auvi-Q devices are inside this small purse, with lots of room
left over for a cell phone and other stuff.
The other point my daughter brought up was that the Auvi-Q does not seem "scary" to her. I get that.  This small, compact, card deck-shaped device is non-threatening to look at and my daughter thought it might encourage her to be less afraid in an emergency. She also said that the voice instructions were comforting and reassured her. Apparently, she's been afraid she might forget what to do in an emergency. This makes sense as any of us might go blank -- even if we are well-versed in epinephrine usage -- when faced with having to self-inject or having to inject our child in an emergency. 
Again, even with voice instructions, my doctor said to practice using the device via the trainer and to have an emergency plan available to caregivers. Just an FYI, the most recent food allergy emergency action plan from FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) has instructions on how to use the Auvi-Q (TM). Click here to find that document.
Now for the cost. It's basically the same as other epinephrine auto-injectors but your doctor can give you a $0 co-pay coupon that will also knock $100 off the price of a set of two auto-injectors if you are paying for prescriptions out-of-pocket. Again, read the fine print on the coupon, but it is effective until December 31, 2013. As with any new prescription, make sure your insurance covers these before ordering! You can access a coupon by clicking this link and registering on the site.
To find out more and to see a demo on how to use an Auvi-Q, visit the company web site by clicking this link. Many readers of this blog have been curious about the Auvi-Q (TM) device. If any of you have any questions about the best epinephrine device for your particular situation, I encourage you to speak to your doctor.
Whatever epinephrine auto-injector that you choose, be sure to carry at least two at all times. Epinephrine can't work if you don't have it with you!
Note: Please contact your allergist or physician with any questions about epinephrine, anaphylaxis and your specific medical needs. 


Cynthia said...

We have both devices for on 1-year-old. We had the Epipen and when we used one and needed to refill the prescription and also have more on hand, we decided to get the Auvi-Q since we had grandparents caring for him and an au pair. We really like it!

The other point the allergist made to us was that you only have to hold it half as long (5 seconds vs. 10, I think), so with a wiggly , screaming toddler we thought that was a good thing.

We still like the EpiPen and may continue to have both on hand. It's so good to read this though to think about when he is older and what might become available t him later!

Jenny said...

I still have both on hand, too. I'm so happy to have options! Thanks for your comment.

Kelly Lynn said...

My son just started Kindergarten, and we recently switched to the Auvi-Q as well! The voice instructions make me feel a teensy bit less nervous about someone having to inject him if something happens at school. :)

Harpreet said...

I'm a 28 year-old with several food allergies and have been carrying an EpiPen with me whereever I go for years now and frankly, was fed up of the size of it. I can't wait to replace it with the smaller, more compact Auvi-Q, leaving more room in my purse!

nemose said...

I switched to the Auvi-Q for my 5-year-old son (life-threatening Tree Nut allergy) for all the same reasons (he started Kindergarten this year and, as he is a boy, I thought it was a bmore compact choice for him and overall less scary for everyone). SOOOOOOO glad I made the switch May...unfortunately, he accidentally took a few bites of a pizza crust manufactured in a nut facility in mid-August and his throat started itching about 1.5 hours later and things started to progress from there. The Auvi-Q was wonderful. It was his first time using epi (his first ever reaction was 12/8/12). He had played with the trainer so many times, he knew what to expect and the "lady" counted down from 5 for us and the light turned red. He NEVER cried!!!! He said it didn't even hurt and he was never scared! What a blessing Auvi-Q is! I carry my trainer everywhere to show anyone we meet how to use it and how benign it looks. It was truly a lifesaver, but also saved my son from being terrified to have to use it again. He wants everyone to know that it doesn't hurt and it isn't scary. It really was "no big deal" to him and, since he's only ever experienced anaphylactic symptoms both times he's had a reaction, I know that we will always need to be good friends with the Auvi-Q and never be afraid to use her!

Jenny said...

I'm glad so many of you are using and liking this device. It's a really wonderful invention--even better, it was created from an end-user perspective. The inventor of Auvi-Q has allergies himself.