Fill rates and access to self-injectable epinephrine prescribed in a pediatric emergency department

William C. Sokoloff, Nicole C. O'Connell, Prasra G. Olson, Daniel M. Fein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Despite its life-saving potential in anaphylaxis, self-injectable epinephrine (SIE) is frequently not administered by caregivers prior to arrival in the emergency department (ED). Prescriptions from the ED often go unfilled which may contribute to the failure to receive SIE when needed. Objective: To determine the prescription filling rate and accessibility of SIE devices among families discharged from the Pediatric ED with an SIE prescription. Methods: A phone survey was administered to parents of children <18 years of age prescribed SIE in the pediatric ED over 12 months. The survey inquired if they own an SIE device, the device's expiration date as confirmation, and details of their child's allergy. Variables were analyzed for association with owning SIE, having SIE accessible when prompted, and having unexpired SIE accessible. Results: 170 children received prescriptions for SIE and 100 (59%) completed the survey. Eighty-four of 100 (84%) had filled the initial SIE prescription. Sixty-five of 100 (65%) had proof of having SIE, of which 29% (19/65) were expired. Only 46% (46/100) of all respondents had an accessible unexpired SIE. Patients with food allergies and those who'd visited an allergist after their ED visit had higher odds of having unexpired accessible devices. Conclusion: A majority of patients prescribed SIE from the ED fill their prescription; however, less than half have unexpired SIE readily available despite high rates of recurrent anaphylactic emergencies. Focusing on post-discharge planning, particularly follow-up, may prevent children with allergies from being left dangerously unprepared.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-382
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Allergy
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Autoinjector
  • Epinephrine
  • Prescription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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