Adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector storage, expiry and disposal
Adrenaline (ephinephrine) autoinjectors (e.g. EpiPen®) should be stored in a cool dark place at room temperature, between 15-25°C. They should be in an insulated wallet if the temperature is warmer than 25°C or colder than 15°C or if they are carried in a bag which can get warmer than 25°C or colder than 15°C. Adrenaline autoinjectors must not be refrigerated, as temperatures below 15°C may damage the autoinjector mechanism.
If adrenaline autoinjectors are stored with asthma inhalers (reliever or preventer puffer) in a person's first aid kit, they should not be separated. Asthma inhalers should be stored below 30°C but do not need to be refrigerated, and should not be left in cars.
Adrenaline autoinjectors (and any other medications) should be kept out of the reach of small children, however, they must be readily available when needed and NOT in a locked cupboard. An ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis should always be stored with an adrenaline autoinjector.
The shelf life of adrenaline autoinjectors is normally between one to two years from the date of manufacture. It is important that the expiry date on the adrenaline autoinjector device is checked and noted, rather than the expiry date on the box. The expiry date on the side of the device needs to be marked on a calendar and the device must be replaced prior to this date.
Expired adrenaline autoinjectors are not as effective when used for treating allergic reactions and should not be relied upon to treat anaphylaxis. However, the most recently expired adrenaline autoinjector available should be used if no in-date device is available.
EpiPen autoinjectors contain a clear window near the tip where you can check if the adrenaline is discoloured or contains sediment. If this is the case, the device should be replaced as the adrenaline may be less effective.
Adrenaline autoinjectors are single use devices and cannot be reused, even if some adrenaline remains inside the device.
After using an adrenaline autoinjector, an ambulance should be called immediately to take the person to hospital, so they can be given further treatment and remain under observation for at least four hours. The used adrenaline autoinjector needs to be clearly labelled with the time it was given and then handed over to the ambulance.
Expired and/or discoloured adrenaline autoinjectors may be used for training demonstrations at home, for example, by safely injecting the device into a citrus fruit such as an orange. The used device can be placed in a household rubbish bin, as the needle shield will be in place.
Content updated March 2020