Saturday, February 18, 2017

Cue the Epinephrine

Most of us within the food allergy community have seen a bunch of events over the past few years that have truly had all of us on the edge of our seats. Beginning with the recall of Auvi-Q in 2015, it seemed as if our allergy comfort zone went from a soft yellow to RED!!!! overnight. Many of us were panic-stricken and in disbelief but mostly just upset that the talking device was pulled from our hands just as we were starting to use them. From personal experience in our home, it meant new struggles for my teenage son with multiple food allergies.  It meant a new kind of peer pressure and having to carry a larger set of epinephrine (which also brought back earlier childhood trauma of being referred to as fanny pack kid). In addition, I also had to adjust my attitude as a food allergy parent to be understanding, supportive and yet adamant that regardless of how "uncool" it may be, having an allergic reaction and not having epinephrine is definitely even more uncool times infinity.

But 2017 began in a new light- a hopeful light showing support and, well, maybe even a little extra hand-holding which is what was sorely needed after all of the past dramas. I felt relieved when the story appeared that Auvi-Q was indeed returning to all of us. Even better, they told us that their goal was to make sure it was available to everyone who needed it. Coming in ahead of their originally estimated date of February 14th, I raced to my computer. Unlike other auto injector plans in the past, Auvi-Q offers a mail order service and I wanted to see exactly how this worked and if they truly did put their money where their mouth was. Under this plan, Kaleo's goal is to take the burden off of the patients and get them the epinephrine that they need in the easiest way possible. So easy that you don't have to wait through the usual process (wait to make an allergist appointment, get a prescription, go to the pharmacy, wait to get the prescription filled, etc.) I decided to test out their process to see what the results were.

February 13th 

  • I downloaded the direct delivery service form for NutriSon
  • I delivered it to his physician's office and asked that they call me when it was faxed (I wanted to know the time frame)
  • By 11 AM I received a call stating the form had been faxed
  • At 4:54 PM that day, I got a call from the customer service department handling the mail orders for Auvi-Q. She stated her name and explained that our conversation was being taped. She asked if I was aware that the doctor had sent in a prescription for my son's Auvi-Q, I said yes. She told me that my insurance company (BCBSNC) does not cover Auvi-Q but just as I was about to get upset, she quickly continued to tell me that they have already taken care of everything, could process it and our out-of-pocket cost would be $0. I thanked her more than a few times. She then asked if I preferred to have the package signed for or just left- I opted for no signature as I am almost always home working. 
February 17th (4 days from my initial request) Keep in mind it was also the week that everyone got hit with massive, weird winds, several feet of snow and all sorts of other winter issues.
  • By 11 AM I had NutriSon's Auvi-Q's in my hand! Is it weird that I was like a kid at Christmas- I opened the package right away, checked everything and I couldn't wait to show my son when he got home later.
  • One of the first things that I noticed was the expiration date- April 23, 2018- that's 14 months (yay for a longer expiration date!)
  • I will tell you that it was 40 degrees outside when my package arrived (you will see that the temperature for proper storage is very specific to ensure the life of the epinephrine). I did notice that when I removed the Auvi-Q's from the well-wrapped package, they were cold to the touch. I opened them and checked the liquid, which was clear. I recommend that you consider your delivery at a time when you can be there to reduce the amount of time the package may sit outside in cooler weather or request a signature so that you will know when it will be in your hands. 
I want to send a heartfelt thank you to Kaleo Pharma for keeping their true mission at heart and continuing to help all of our families. Personally, their device is preferred on our homes in so many ways. To be very blunt, the smaller size is just better for us, the easy to use voice commands take the added stress out of both teaching other family members and school staff in addition to not having to stop and think in an emergency situation. 

Please be sure and check their website for complete information about this as well as their AffordAbility Program, resources and updates as well as their Facebook and Twitter pages.

I would also like to be very clear and state that I was not paid to write this- my goal is to share my thoughts and experiences to help other members of my food allergy community decide what is best for them. For those of you who follow me and read my articles- you all know that I always speak my mind and I never support any product that I don't feel completely comfortable with. 

Have you tried Auvi-Q yet? 
I would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below!


  1. in the "mix" ... downloaded form, had physician sign form, faxed it in. Spoke with Auvi-Q representative this afternoon and should receive packages (we have two with allergies) within a few days. We are THRILLED with the return of Auvi-Q. With two boys (now 17 & 20) who were glad to have an epi-pen option and were so disappointed with the recall, we are looking forward to the arrival of our packages. Also looking forward to other options on the horizon, but really hopeful for a CURE!

    1. Yes, we love having the options too (and I too hope for a cure in the future, we could all sleep a bit easier!). Keep me updated on your mail order experience