An EpiPen is a prescription self-injection device used to administer a single dose of epinephrine to a person experiencing anaphylaxis. The Mayo Clinic describes anaphylaxis as a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that affects the entire body. An EpiPen will eventually expire, and you must replace it if you do not use it before the expiration date. When replacing an expired EpiPen, it is important that you dispose of it properly, because the needle and epinephrine contained in the injector are subject to state and federal regulations regarding the disposal of biomedical waste.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Verify that your EpiPen has expired. The expiration date is marked on the side of your EpiPen.
Place your EpiPen into its plastic carrier and seal the carrier by tightening the cap.
Take your expired EpiPen to your doctor's office, a hospital, or a pharmacy; they will dispose of it for you. Pharmacies and medical offices have specialised and heavily regulated methods for the disposal of medical waste.
Tips and warnings
- Dey, L.P., the makers of EpiPen, maintain the Center for Anaphylactic Support, which is a web-based service accessible through the official EpiPen website. The Center for Anaphylactic Support provides registered members with additional tips and information regarding EpiPen, as well as e-mail reminders to replace an expiring EpiPen. You can register with the Center for Anaphylactic Support for free.
- Some states allow the use of specialised containers for the disposal of medical waste from your home. These states either provide an in-home pickup schedule for waste containers or require that you drop the containers off at designated facilities. Check with your doctor or your state's health department or environmental preservation agency to determine if you are eligible for in-home disposal of your medical waste.
- Do not dispose of an expired EpiPen in your household trash. This is both illegal and unsafe. Epinephrine is a federally regulated drug and may not be discarded with household waste. EpiPen also contains an injection needle, which classifies EpiPen as a potentially hazardous piece of medical waste subject to state and federal biomedical waste disposal regulations.
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