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23rd Jan 2015

Good news for people with life-threatening allergies: EpiPen laws may be relaxed

Epinephrine is vital in treating anaphylaxis

There was good news for anyone who suffers from life threatening allergies this week after Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch announced plans to hold a consultation on relaxing the rules around the dispensing of epinephrine in emergency situations.

Epinephrine is vital in treating anaphylaxis, a potentially severe or life-threatening allergic reaction triggered by an allergy to a particular food (peanuts or shellfish, for example), biting or stinging insects (like bees), medication (penicillin is a common one), latex (the type of rubber many balloons are made from) or a variety of other allergic triggers.

Commonly used EpiPen Auto-Injectors contain a single dose of epinephrine, which is injected into the patient’s outer thigh.


Last year Dublin teenager Emma Sloan died after suffering an allergic reaction to peanut satay sauce in Dublin city following a family meal. The 14-year-old’s mother was refused an EpiPen by a local pharmacist because she didn’t have a prescription.

Speaking to the Oireachtas Health Committee this week, Emma’s mother Caroline told of her heartbreak. “Emma’s death was so avoidable,” she said.

Minister Kathleen Lynch confirmed her department is currently reviewing policy in this area.