Epinephrine auto-injector use and demographics in a Veterans Administration population.
Journal - Allergy and asthma proceedings : the official journal of regional and state allergy societies
The epinephrine auto-injector has been widely used over a long period of time. Certain aspects of this therapy and demographic data, however, have not been well studied. This study investigates patient use and understanding of epinephrine auto-injector use. As part of an ongoing quality assurance program, we evaluated 66 patients who had been given an epinephrine auto-injector and followed in the Allergy and Immunology Clinics at the West Los Angeles Veterans Medical Center. Data analyzed included patient demographics, medical indications for epinephrine auto-injector prescriptions, and the patient's understanding and use of the device. The mean age of our patients was 50 years. There were 44 men (66.7%) and 22 women (33%). Twenty-three patients were prescribed epinephrine auto-injector for adverse food reactions. Ninety-two percent (92%) of the patients knew how to use their epinephrine auto-injector properly, however, only 58% carried their device with them consistently. Of the patients, 91% understood why the auto-injector was prescribed. Of the total patients prescribed epinephrine auto-injector, 79% refilled their medication before the 1 year expiration date. Only 12% of the patients studied had required the use of their auto-injector. Most patients knew how and when to administer their epinephrine auto-injector. Despite detailed instructions in a specialty clinic only a slight majority carried it consistently. These data clearly indicate that further patient education or other measures are needed to improve compliance and effective use.