Talking epi-pen won't be allowed in Bossier schools - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Talking epi-pen won't be allowed in Bossier schools

Posted: Updated: Aug 7, 2013 11:21 PM CDT
Auvi-Q is a compact epinephrine auto-injector for severe allergic reactions that talks the user through the injection process step by step. Auvi-Q is a compact epinephrine auto-injector for severe allergic reactions that talks the user through the injection process step by step.
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BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) -

Parents of Bossier Parish students with serious allergies need to know that the prescription their doctors may have given them for potentially life-saving epi-pens might not be allowed at school when classes start tomorrow.

A new type of epinephrine injection system, called Auvi-Q, has become popular with local pediatric and allergy doctors. Auvi‑Q is a compact epinephrine auto‑injector for severe allergic reactions that talks the user through the injection process step by step.

"Families feel more comfortable using something like that in times of emergency," explains Dr. Megan Gardner of the ArkLaTex Children's Clinic. "If you're panicking, it talks you through it. It even does a countdown as you're injecting it into your thigh or the patient's thigh."

Dr. Gardner says it's so easy to use, she's seen 2-year-olds do it.

Still, it's different from the epi-pens that most school staff on the "front lines" are trained and certified to administer. Those kinds of epi-pens are kept stocked in secure wall units at all Bossier Schools. While school nurses would be able to administer the Avui Q if a child had an allergic reaction, Bossier Parish School Board Liaison Sonja Bailes says nurses are not in Bossier schools full-time.

Auvi Q is still very new, having just been released to the market in April. Pediatricians who rave about the ease of its use have been prescribing it a lot since then, but many of them were not aware that the unique audio-assisted delivery system would not be approved for use by students in Bossier by the time school started.

Bailes says that's because state law forbids those who are not trained and certified in the administration of the Epinephrine from dispensing the medication. And since the Auvi Q came out over the summer break, school staff has not had a chance to learn about it and train to administer the medicine using it's unique delivery system.

Bailes points out that both medications are the same; only the method of delivery is different.

With this in mind, Bossier Schools asks that physicians continue to write prescriptions for both the EpiPen for school use and, if they wish, Auvi Q for home use. 

Dr. Gardner says that may be what some parents and physicians choose to do, but she's not sure if insurance will cover the double prescriptions. For that reason, she says parents should check first with their insurance providers.

"We have written 2 packs for home and 2 packs for school of the Auvi-Q that were covered, but most plans likely will not also now cover another 2 pack of regular epi-pens," according to Dr. Gardner. "So those will be paid for out of pocket by families."

Gardner says training is set to get underway Thursday for staff at Caddo schools to learn how to use the Auvi-Q epi-pen. Classes in Caddo Parish start on Monday, August 12.

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