The Search for EpiPens in Dubai
Last week I anxiously sat next to my 11 year old son as he bravely ate scrambled egg! Why was this such a big deal I hear you say. Well this was the first time he had eaten egg since suffering an anaphylaxis shock aged six at his friends birthday party. The news was great he is not allergic to eggs anymore so Friday mornings before rugby training he can now look forward to a plate of bacon, black pudding, baked beans and a fried egg (sunny side up!!). Unfortunately I still have to carry an Epipen around with me as he is still highly allergic to sesame and peanut. I do not require just one Epipen but four as he needs one on him at all times at school, one in the nurses room, one that I leave at home and one that I carry with me.
An EpiPen injects epinephrine into a patient who has an allergic reaction to an allergen such as food, insect bites, medicines, latex or even exercise. A patient having an allergic reaction may have symptoms including hives, redness of the skin, tightness in the throat, breathing problems and/or a decrease in blood pressure. The Epipen is injected into the patients thigh after which the patient should be taken to hospital or 999 called.
The problem in Dubai is getting hold of EpiPens. It is not that they are not available but your everyday pharmacy does not carry them. Sometimes Doctors surgeries have stock or hospital pharmacies. When you do manage to obtain them they often have a very short shelf life. EpiPens are only valid for one year, however in Dubai you may buy one and find that it expires in 4 months as it has been sitting on the shelf of that pharmacy for the last 8 months. This makes the purchase very costly as each EpiPen costs on average Dhs 450 and many insurance companies do not cover the cost of EpiPens.
The best place I have found that regularly stocks EpiPens is Emirates Hospital. The American Hospital sometimes have stock but you need to see a Doctor at the hospital and get a prescription from them.
My top tip is to try and stock up before you leave your home country.