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Information updates

EpiPen® Jr and EpiPen® supply update

November 14, 2017

Further to last week’s communications regarding EpiPen® Jr supply constraints, the following is updated information regarding both EpiPen® Jr and EpiPen® supply.

EpiPen® 300mcg adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector: Whilst most Australian pharmacies should currently have a limited supply of EpiPen® 300mcg adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjectors, if a pharmacy is out of stock they should contact Mylan Australia Customer Support team on 1800 274 276, to ensure that patients requiring EpiPen® 300mcg are supplied.  Please refer to the attached letter for the official notification from Mylan Australia.  Mylan Australia expects normal supply of EpiPen® 300mcg through their wholesaler network to recommence in late November 2017.

pdfEpiPen 300mcg Supply Letter 14111792.59 KB

EpiPen® Jr 150mcg adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector: As communicated last week, Mylan Australia is experiencing a temporary, limited supply of EpiPen® Jr 150mcg adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjectors and is supplying eligible patients with an EpiPen® Jr, expiring on 30 November 2017, at no charge. Patients can obtain supply by contacting their pharmacy. Pharmacists should then contact the Mylan Customer Support team on 1800 274 276 to request an EpiPen® Jr (expiring 30 November 2017), that will be supplied to the pharmacy and patient at no charge.  Patients will need to return to their pharmacy with their prescription to replace the EpiPen® Jr at the end of November.  Mylan Australia expects normal supply of EpiPen® Jr 150mcg through their wholesaler network to recommence in late November 2017.

Novalac Allergy Infant Formula Temporary Shortage

November 14, 2017

Bayer Australia Ltd (Bayer) has advised that they are experiencing a temporary shortage of Novalac Allergy rice protein based infant formula. This has resulted in very limited supply in pharmacies throughout Australia. 

Bayer is working to increase the supply of Novalac Allergy to meet local requirements, and it is anticipated that stock will be available from pharmacies in early December 2017. 

It is important to note that out of the Novalac range of infant formula, only Novalac Allergy is suitable for use in children diagnosed with cow’s milk protein allergy.

Supply of EpiPen® Jr with 30 November 2017 expiry during temporary shortage

November 8, 2017

Mylan Australia is experiencing a temporary shortage of EpiPen® Jr 150mcg adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjectors. This supply disruption is due to an unforeseen delay in supply from the overseas manufacturer. In the meantime, to minimise the impact on patient care, Mylan has put a process in place to ensure those most at-risk have access to emergency supply.

Mylan Australia wishes to advise that they will be supplying eligible patients with an EpiPen® Jr, expiring on 30 November 2017, at no charge.

Requests will only be accepted for patients requiring an EpiPen® Jr before the end of the month and who do not have access to another in-date EpiPen® Jr. This is a temporary solution until regular supply returns to the Australian market.

Patients can obtain supply by contacting their pharmacy. Pharmacists should then contact the Mylan Customer Support team on 1800 274 276 to request an EpiPen® Jr (expiring on 30 November 2017) that will be supplied to the pharmacy and patient at no charge.

Patients will need to return to their pharmacy with their prescription to replace the EpiPen® Jr at the end of November. Mylan expects stock to be available mid-to-late November 2017.

ASCIA recommends EpiPen® Jr 150mcg for patients weighing between 10-20kgs and EpiPen® 300mcg for patients 20kgs and over. 

Pharmacists with any issues regarding supply of EpiPen® Jr or EpiPen® should contact the Mylan Customer Support team on 1800 274 276. 

Please note that New Zealand is not affected by this temporary shortage. 

AusPollen App questionnaire

October 20, 2017: 

aus pollen2017Auspollen invites people with hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and/or asthma that is made worse by allergens in the air, to evaluate free local AusPollen Apps. 

The Apps provide daily levels of pollen in the air and can be accessed on the AusPollen website www.pollenforecast.com.au or via iTunes, Google Play Apps, twitter and facebook.

To help evaluate usefulness of the AusPollen Apps and improve this service, please complete a short questionnaire before and after the pollen season. The questionnaire opens on October 20, 2017 and the link is http://survey.qut.edu.au/f/190401/43d7/)

This research will help us know where to locate future pollen count sites and determine if there are local triggers that make hay fever and asthma worse.

If you would like to know more about the AusPollen project please contact Associate Professor Janet Davies, Queensland University of Technology, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ASCIA 2017 Conference Report

September 19, 2017:  

The 28th ASCIA Annual Conference was held in Auckland, New Zealand at the Viaduct Events Centre from Wednesday 13th to Friday 15th September 2017. This conference was a great success, with more than 550 registrations, an outstanding program, an interactive conference app and a spectacular venue located on the stunning Waitematā Harbour in Auckland.   The positive feedback received from delegates has indicated that it was a highlight of the year for ASCIA members and other health professionals with an interest in allergy and clinical immunology.  

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) letter regarding EpiPen® adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjectors

September 9, 2017

ASCIA has been alerted to a letter released by the FDA in the USA, regarding an investigation into the Mylan recall of EpiPen® devices earlier this year. To date, ASCIA has not received any correspondence regarding EpiPen®s failing to be discharged in an emergency situation in Australia or New Zealand. We are also not aware of any problem batches of EpiPen®s at present. We are awaiting further information from Mylan to guide further action.  In the meantime, if you have any questions you should contact Mylan Customer Service by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or phoning 1800 274 276.

The FDA letter is available at www.marketwatch.com/story/fda-warns-of-serious-manufacturing-violations-in-letter-to-epipen-manufacturing-facility-2017-09-07-141034838

ASCIA website update - Locate a Specialist

September 5, 2017

The ASCIA website listings for Allergy and Clinical Immunology Services in Australia and New Zealand have been significantly updated, to provide additional information in a more mobile/tablet responsive format.  The updated lists of Full (Ordinary) ASCIA members working in private and/or public clinical practice are available at www.allergy.org.au/patients/locate-a-specialist  

A referral from a GP is required for consultations, as the listed ASCIA members are all medical specialists. 

New ASCIA Allergic Rhinitis Clinical Update released in National Asthma Week 2017

September 4, 2017

To coincide with National Asthma Week (1-7 September 2017) and the start of Spring, the new ASCIA Allergic Rhinitis Clinical Update for health professionals has been released.  This document complements ASCIA allergic rhinitis e-training courses for health professionals and is available open access and free of charge on the ASCIA website:

www.allergy.org.au/health-professionals/papers/allergic-rhinitis-clinical-update

This document includes important information asthma, thunderstorm asthma and a link to the recently updated ASCIA Treatment Plan for Allergic Rhinitis:

www.allergy.org.au/health-professionals/ascia-plans-action-and-treatment

ASCIA allergic rhinitis e-training courses for health professionals are available free of charge on the ASCIA website:

www.allergy.org.au/health-professionals/health-professionals-e-training  

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma are often referred to as “United airway disease”.  This is due to them being upper and lower respiratory tract manifestations of the same inflammatory process. For example, inhalation of aeroallergens through the nose may contribute to inflammation in lung.   Allergic rhinitis is a risk factor for subsequent asthma development and effective treatment of allergic rhinitis improves asthma management.

ASCIA Allergic Rhinitis treatment plan now includes thunderstorm asthma information

August 29, 2017

The ASCIA Treatment Plan for Allergic Rhinitis has been significantly updated. 

The main changes (versus the 2015 version) are the inclusion of:

  • Information about thunderstorm asthma
  • A note about the importance of using INCS sprays correctly
  • The TGA change in recommended decongestant use from “up to 5 days” to “up to 3 days”.
  • Weblinks for additional information

This updated plan is available open access and free of charge from the ASCIA website:

www.allergy.org.au/patients/allergic-rhinitis-hay-fever-and-sinusitis/allergic-rhinitis-treatment-plan

The updated plan is part of a significant increase in ASCIA website information on thunderstorm asthma since the epidemic during late November 2016 in Victoria.

Food allergen challenges - benefits, risks and precautions

August 4, 2017

Food allergy occurs in around 1 in 20 children and in about 2 in 100 adults. The severity of allergic reactions can be unpredictable, ranging from mild through to severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).  While extremely uncommon, deaths due to food allergy have occurred in Australia and New Zealand.  Management of food allergy requires accurate diagnosis to allow careful allergen avoidance, together with an ASCIA Action Plan for treatment of allergic reactions.  Skin prick tests and blood tests for allergen specific IgE are commonly used to help in the diagnosis of food allergy. However these tests do not always provide a definite answer about whether or not someone is allergic to a food.  The “gold standard” test to diagnose food allergy is a food allergen challenge, sometimes called an oral food challenge. 

Food allergen challenges conducted under the guidance of allergy specialists are an essential part of clinical practice, with more than 8,000 challenges performed in Australia last year. In patients at risk of anaphylaxis, food allergen challenges are performed in a controlled environment under the supervision of medical and nursing staff experienced in treating anaphylaxis.

Until now there had never been a death from a medically supervised food challenge reported anywhere in the world. Tragically, we have seen a recent report of the death of a child in the US after a food allergen challenge.  This tragic event may understandably raise concerns and questions about how and why food allergen challenges are performed.  While we do not know the details surrounding this tragedy, it is appropriate to provide the community with information about food allergen challenges in Australia and New Zealand.

While acknowledging this terrible tragedy, food allergen challenges remain a generally safe and essential part of allergy practice in carefully selected patients after consultation with an allergy specialist.  If you are considering a food allergen challenge for you or your child and have any concerns, you should discuss these with your allergy specialist who can provide you with personalised information based on your individual circumstances. 

For information about food allergen challenges, including the benefits, risks and precautions, go to www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-allergy/food-allergy-challenges-faqs 

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