If you have severe allergies, you know how important your EpiPen is and how it can literally save your life.

Taking good care of your injection and making sure it stays effective until when you need it the most is absolutely crucial. Epinephrine, the active ingredient in EpiPens, is highly sensitive to temperature and light, requiring specific storage conditions to preserve its potency.

Therefore, knowing how to store EpiPen correctly is essential to maintain its effectiveness in emergency situations.

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about proper EpiPen storage, from temperature guidelines to official storage instructions from the manufacturer and real-life tips from actual users.

EpiPen travel cases by 4AllFamily

 

Related article: EpiPen Carrying Cases: Benefits, Features, and Recommendations. 

EpiPen Storage: Temperature and Light Protection

According to Meridian Medical Technologies, the manufacturer of EpiPen, EpiPens should be kept in a cool and dark place to ensure they remain effective until their expiration date.

Whether you use EpiPen 0.3 mg injections for adults or EpiPen Jr 0.15 mg injections for children, you should store your EpiPens in their carrier tube at a temperature between 15°C and 25°C (59°F to 77°F).

Temperature excursions between 15-30 ºC (59-86 ºF) are permitted but must be limited and avoided when possible. Under no circumstances should an EpiPen be exposed to temperatures above 30 ºC (86 ºF), or extreme cold, even briefly.

It's also important to avoid exposing EpiPens to direct sunlight or artificial light, as this can degrade the epinephrine inside.

Related article: Traveling with EpiPen: What to Know Before you Go!

So, where to store your EpiPen at home?

When at home, store your EpiPen is a place that is consistently cool, out of direct sunlight. A medicine cabinet in a climate-controlled room away from heat sources like windows, heaters, and kitchen appliances is ideal. But avoid bathrooms where steam and humidity can fluctuate.

Also, make sure you have a storage strategy for work and school. Inform peers, colleagues, and teachers about where your EpiPen is stored and educate them about the importance of proper storage if they may encounter or need to use your EpiPen.

In case of an allergic reaction, you should be able to administer it without delay. So, it's very important to always store your EpiPen in a consistent, easily accessible location. For example, if at a friend's house or during events, inform someone about the EpiPen's location in case of an emergency.

How long is an EpiPen good for?

If stored properly and as instructed by the manufacturer, an EpiPen is good until the expiration date printed on the injection device.

Never use an EpiPen past its expiration date as the effectiveness of the epinephrine may be reduced, which could seriously impact your emergency treatment in case of a severe allergy.

If you accidentally leave your EpiPen out of recommended temperature range, consult a pharmacist or healthcare provider to determine if the device is still safe to use, as it may have expired earlier than expected.

Does EpiPen Need to Be Refrigerated?

No, EpiPens does not need to be refrigerated. In fact, epinephrine should never be refrigerated. The manufacturer's guidelines clearly instruct not to store your EpiPens in the fridge.

Refrigerating an EpiPen can lead to the epinephrine solution crystallising. This crystallisation can alter the chemical structure of epinephrine, potentially reducing its effectiveness when used.

Besides, when refrigerated, epinephrine crystallisation may block the auto-injector mechanism, preventing the medication from being administered during an emergency need.

Can you freeze an EpiPen?

Absolutely not. EpiPens should never be frozen. Freezing an EpiPen can be detrimental to its reliability and effectiveness.

Freezing temperatures can change the solution's concentration but can also affect its chemical stability. Upon thawing, the epinephrine may no longer be evenly distributed within the solution, which can lead to ineffective dosing.

The EpiPen's injection mechanism may be compromised by freezing temperatures too. Components of the auto-injector, including the spring mechanism and the needle, can malfunction if the device is frozen, potentially rendering it unusable in a life-threatening situation.

So, always ensure that your EpiPen is kept away from environments where it might freeze. This includes avoiding storage in outside buildings, vehicles during cold weather, or near refrigeration units.

When carrying an EpiPen in cold weather, keep it close to your body warmth or use insulated cases to protect it from the cold. However, make sure not to use ice packs as direct contact with the ice could freeze your medicine.

How To Store EpiPen in Summer or Hot Weather?

Now, onto another challenge of EpiPen storage: How to protect your EpiPen from the heat during summer?

Remember that under no circumstances should an EpiPen be exposed to temperatures above 30ºC (86 ºF), even briefly. And while brief temperature excursions between 15-30ºC (59-86 ºF) are permitted, they should remain occasional and preferably avoided whenever possible. Ideally, your EpiPen should be consistently stored between 15°C and 25°C (59°F to 77°F).

During summer or when traveling to hot climate destinations where temperatures can often rise above 30ºC (86 ºF), and sometimes much higher, storing your EpiPen can be quite tricky.

So, here are a few easy-to-follow tips to ensure your EpiPen remains protected from heat:

  • Never store EpiPen in your car. If you must travel with your EpiPen in a vehicle, keep it in a cooler bag away from direct sun and take it with you when exiting the car. Never leave it in a car parked in the sun, as the temperature inside car soar really quickly and render your epinephrine injection ineffective.
  • Use an EpiPen case. Invest in a medical-grade thermal insulated case specifically designed for medications. These cases and cooler bags help maintain a stable room temperature below 25°C (77°F), protecting the EpiPen from heat exposure while traveling during summer.
  • Keep it in the shade. Always keep the EpiPen out of direct sunlight. When outdoors, store it in a shaded place or inside a bag that never sits directly in the sun.
  • Monitor the storage temperature. Monitor the storage condition of your EpiPen regularly, especially in summer. Check if the solution inside the EpiPen (visible through the viewing window) remains clear and colorless. Discolouration or cloudiness can indicate that the epinephrine has gone bad because of heat exposure.
  • Be careful with cooling ice packs. Carrying EpiPens in DIY cooling bags with ice packs is not recommended. The temperature inside fluctuates too much and the direct contact with the ice could freeze the epinephrine in your injection.
  • Choose indoor storage spots wisely. When indoors, opt for cool, dry places away from windows, doors, and appliances that generate heat like ovens or refrigerators. Make sure the room in which you keep your EpiPen stays below 25°C (77°F).

 

EpiPen cooling pouches by 4AllFamily

 

Storing EpiPen Correctly: The Key to Safety and Efficacy

Ensuring that your EpiPen is stored correctly is not just about preserving your medication; it's about saving your life, literally, in an emergency allergic reaction. An EpiPen's storage environment can significantly impact its functionality.

So, let's go through a few more tips and best practices to store your EpiPen in the safest way possible.

Always at hand!

The thing with epinephrine injections like EpiPens or other brands is that when you need it, you need it right now, immediately. In the event of a severe allergic reaction, every second counts. There's no time to lose searching for it all over the house.

So, besides temperature and light protection, an essential part of storing EpiPen is to always keep it within easy reach.

  • At home, designate a specific spot to store your EpiPen that all family members are aware of. Avoid moving it from this spot unless necessary. 
  • At work, keep a spare EpiPen at your workplace. Inform a trusted colleagues about its storage location and instructions for its use in case you require assistance. 
  • During travel, always carry your EpiPen in your carry-on luggage or a personal item that stays with you. Ensure it's easily accessible and not buried under other belongings.
  • At social events, carry your EpiPen in a pocket or a small bag that you keep with you at all times. Let a companion know about its location and how to use it.

Related article: How to Fly With an EpiPen: Guidelines for Airplane Travels!

More tips for storing and managing EpiPens

Handling and managing EpiPens involves more than proper storage. Here are additional tips to ensure efficiency, safety and preparedness when you need it the most:

  • Check the expiration date monthly and inspect the solution through the viewing window-if it's discoloured or contains particles, replace it immediately. These are signs the epinephrine inside may have gone bad or expired prematurely. You can sign up for the free EpiPen Expiry Alert Service 
  • Ensure that you and others who may assist you-family, friends, coworkers-are trained on how to use EpiPens. In case of a severe allergic reaction, you may not be able to use it yourself. Many local health departments and pharmacies offer training sessions.
  • Store EpiPens in multiple locations. If you frequently split time between different places (like home, work, or a relative's house), consider having a dedicated EpiPen in each location. This minimizes the risk of forgetting to carry one with you.
  • Always have a backup EpiPen, especially if you travel frequently. This can reduce the risk of being caught without one due to unforeseen circumstances. 
  • Carry medical identification. Wear a medical alert bracelet or carry a card that identifies your allergy and the location of your EpiPen. This can be crucial for informing bystanders or medical personnel in case you're unable to communicate during an allergic reaction. 

Last, but definitely not least, it's very important to discuss your EpiPen storage practices and emergency action plan with your doctor or pharmacist. They can provide personalized guidance that fits your lifestyle and daily routines, accommodating any specific needs you might have and enhancing your safety and peace of mind.

We'd Love to Hear From You!

Do you have any tips or experiences with storing and managing EpiPens that you'd like to share? Maybe a personal story about how EpiPen readiness made a difference in an emergency situation? Please share your thoughts and insights in the comments section below. Your contribution could help others improve their allergy management practices. Let's learn from each other and strengthen our preparedness together!

June 27, 2024

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The information presented in this article and its comment section is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for any medical concerns or questions you may have.