October 26, 2016

Why EpiPen Prices Are On The Rise

6871650865_003c319230_zAn EpiPen is a vital piece of equipment for people who can suffer from severe allergic reactions. Food allergens, medication and insect stings or bites are all examples of factors that could trigger anaphylaxis. This is a life threatening allergic reaction that occurs within minutes of being exposed to an allergen. Common symptoms of this condition include severe itching, hives, and swelling of the tongue, mouth and eyes. Furthermore, the condition also effects the person’s ability to breathe. When exposed to the allergen, the airway is affected. The throat and chest tightened, which makes it very difficult to breathe.

An EpiPen contains a small dose of the hormone adrenaline. This hormone is essential for giving the body the strength and motivation it needs to fight the severe reactions of Anaphylactic shock. The EpiPen functions to do so by increasing your blood pressure and reducing the smooth muscles in the lungs to ease your body into breathing at a healthy rate again.

However, this vitally important form of medication has become very expensive over the past decade. The price has been controlled by Mylan, a for-profit pharmaceutical company that owns the official rights to market and sell the EpiPen since 2007. Since then, it has been observed that “the company has driven up the price from about $60 to more than $600 in a series of 17 price increases” [1].

The medicine that actually puts a stop to the allergic reaction is very cheap; the EpiPen’s unique, consistent delivery system is what makes Mylan’s product so special. But consumers detest the fact that Mylan profits so richly from this product when the main demographics are schools and families with small children – people who struggle to afford the drug.

Due to the vast amount of public attention in the last month, Mylan has been repeatedly accused of unreasonably increasing the prices of a lifesaving medication.

[1] Mylan agrees to give EpiPen Documents to Congress. Jackie Wattles. CNN Money. Retrieved From: http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/12/news/companies/epipen-mylan-house-committee/

Image taken by Greg Friese. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/gfriese/6871650865/in/photolist-bte1cM-bte1p4-bte2u6-o8gRVJ-7AqPWo-6QFmx1-bte1Gx-bte1ya-bte11z-bte1Te-btdZG2-btdZRg-bte1Zv-bte2ar-bte2kc-bte2Tx-bte2Ex-bF1Rjy-66E1BU-3zenu6-6KbHA2-6KfTaw-52LsYe-52QGA1-9xGkFj-tv7u4-Mdn5ps-Mdn4LU-Mdn4aJ-MueVgs-48Q8m

June 22, 2011

Round One: Allergies vs. the Common Cold

Women SneezingApproximately 60 million Americans are affected by allergic rhinitis, a condition caused by the grass and tree pollen released during the spring. The symptoms of allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever, are very similar to those of the common cold. Most people tend to mix the two up. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, colds and allergies do have the same symptoms; however both are very different from each other. Noticing the different signs of allergies and the cold is the first step to getting relief from your symptoms.

Unlike colds, allergies are not contagious. Allergies are caused by many different allergens, such as pollen, which make the immune system overreact. Hence, the allergic reaction one undergoes. The common cold is different from allergies because the cold is caused by 200 different possible viruses and is very contagious.

Furthermore, the first step towards relief is to distinguish between the symptoms of allergies and colds. Colds tend to start with a stuffy nose, throat irritation, and a lower fever which is followed by sneezing and a runny nose with thick yellow or green mucus. On the other hand, allergies have symptoms which include sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, and mucus that is clear.

Also, colds generally last from one to two weeks. However, allergies are more persistent and worsen with repeated exposure to an allergen. Aches and fevers are likely related to a cold. Symptoms such as itchy eyes indicate an allergy. If you are unsure of which medical condition you have it is recommended to go seek professional help in order to provide allergy relief.

May 16, 2011

Get to Know Your Enemy – Hayfever

Filed under: allergies — Tags: , , , , — @ 6:30 pm

Girl SneezingHay fever! The word alone seems terrifying, and to the ones who suffer from it, it’s an all too realistic nightmare. So what is hay fever exactly? Also known as Allergic rhinitis, hay fever is simply an allergic inflammation of the nasal airways. It doesn’t sound very threatening, and depending on its severity, hay fever can ruin a person’s life during the high pollen count times of the year. Pollens trigger an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE) which then binds to mast cells and basophiles containing histamine. The histamine releases are what causes the symptoms that affect up to 30% of all Americans, including up to 40% of children and 10%-30% of adults.
Generally, spring is the danger zone for anyone with high sensitivities to pollen. There are two levels to the symptoms experienced: common and severe. Common symptoms are annoying and can ruin a day. These include: sneezing, watery eyes, itchy throat and nose, and blocked/runny nose. Severe symptoms aren’t as common, but include: sweating, headaches, facial pain, loss of smell and taste, and the spread of the itchiness. These symptoms can excel into fatigue, insomnia, and irritability.

What causes hay fever entirely depends on the person’s sensitivity to certain pollen. Tree pollen tends to effect people in the spring. Grass pollen affects people in late spring and all summer, while weed pollen is most common in the autumn. Fungi and mold spores can also cause hay fever. This is more prevalent in warm weather. Also family history and asthma are big triggers for hay fever.
Knowledge is power, so educate yourself about hay fever, and what exactly causes your specific symptoms. Skin and blood tests are two tests that can reveal what exactly you are sensitive to. OTC Antihistamines sprays or tablets such as Claritin, Alavert, Zyrtec work well. If one wants to take the prescription route then Fexofenadine (Allegra) and the nasal spray azelastine (Astelin) are the best. In the department of eye drops, any eye drop that contains cromoglycate is affective. A good example of this is Opticrom. Nasal Corticosteroids are effective for long-term treatment. Fluticasone (Flonase), fluticasone (Veramyst), mometasone (Nasonex) and beclomethasone (Beconase) are all some of the best nasal sprays in the market. If the person shows severe allergy symptoms doctors may even prescribe prednisone.

The thing about hay fever is that you can’t really do anything to prevent it from ever happening. As a result, you need to limit your exposure to pollen by regularly washing your eyes with cool water, showering and washing your cloths more often. In addition, wear glasses and hats, and clean your house and pets regularly. If you’re a smoker, you now have one more reason to quit because smoking causes a great sensitivity to pollen. Utilizing these tips will make your life less of a battle zone so you can actually stop and smell the roses every once in a while.