Only 52% of adults with severe food allergies were prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector

LOUISVILLE, KY (embargoed until November 10, 2022)Epinephrine is the only drug that can stop anaphylaxis and it is essential that everyone with a food allergy has access to epinephrine to treat life-threatening reactions. A new study presented this year at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting in Louisville, KY shows that only half of adult food-allergic patients have immediate access to epinephrine, and 36% of adults believe that epinephrine auto-injectors (EAIs) can have negative or life-threatening effects.

“We know that not everyone who needs a pair of EAIs has easy access to them,” says Jennaveve Yost, MS, lead author of the study. “Given that food allergy affects more than 32 million people in the United States, we wanted to know why more people were not wearing AEIs for their food allergy. Our survey of over 1,000 adults showed that the top reported reason for not having an AEI was ‘my doctor didn’t say it was really needed’ or ‘I don’t think I need it’ – indicating that gaps in education present a notable barrier to Access EAI.

An online survey was conducted among 1,006 food-allergic adults. Participants identified as 61% Caucasian, 16% Black, 15% Hispanic and 7% Asian, Native American or other.

“People with food allergies and other severe allergies that can cause anaphylaxis should understand that epinephrine is the first line of defense,” says Erin Malawer, lead author of the study. “The fact that 36% of adults believe that AIEs can cause life-threatening side effects is concerning. Our goal in doing the study was to show that more people need to be informed that if they have a food allergy they should always wear an AIS and that these AIS are safe to use. Only 33% of respondents said they had an unexpired EAI, another concerning statistic. AEDs should be a current and accessible prescription.

Anyone with a food allergy should be seen by an allergist. An allergist can create a plan to help patients identify their food allergens and avoid triggers.

Abstract Title: Use and Access to Epinephrine Auto-Injector in a Nationally Representative Sample of Food-Allergic Adults
Presenter: Jennaveve Yost, MS

For more information on severe allergies and anaphylaxis, or to find an allergist in your area, visit The ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting takes place November 10-14. For more news and research from the ACAAI Scientific Meeting, head to our newsroom – and follow the conversation on Twitter #ACAAI22.

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