Epipen shortage raises fears in Calgary as Halloween approaches

Calgary parents who have children with serious allergies hope they won't have a scare this Halloween after a recall of one treatment has triggered a shortage in another.

Calgary pharmacist expects product to be back on shelves next week

A voluntary recall of Allerject has caused a spike in demand for EpiPens, a similar but not identical product. (Mark Zaleski/Associated Press)

Calgary parents who have children with serious allergies hope they won't have a scare this Halloween after a recall of one treatment has triggered a shortage in another. 

Kim Wagner Jones said her son was vomiting and having trouble breathing when he had recently had anaphylaxis. (CBC)

When Kim Wagner Jones's 19-year-old son went into anaphylactic shock after being exposed to peanuts, she was grateful he had an Allerject device on hand to inject into his thigh and keep him alive.

"He was vomiting, having trouble breathing. His skin was itchy. His airways were closing up," Wagner Jones told CBC News.

The product has been voluntarily recalled by the manufacturer because it may not deliver the correct dose, but now EpiPens — which are a similar product — are running low.

More product expected next week

In fact, in Calgary shelves are empty.

"If it happened now, he could be in trouble," Wagner Jones said.

Bruce Winston runs 17 pharmacies across the city. He has been told EpiPens should be back on store shelves next week.

Meanwhile Wagner Jones hopes parents check candy labels this weekend carefully.

"We'll just all keep our fingers crossed that the EpiPens will be produced, or that the situation with the Allerject can be resolved quickly," she said.

Health Canada says Allerject devices should only be used if there's no alternative. The agency says about 600,000 Canadians have allergies serious enough to require treatment.


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