Lamar Co. doctor offers options for anticipated EpiPen shortage

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Parents of kids with serious allergies may have been alarmed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's announcement this week that manufacturing delays could cause shortages of EpiPen, which many rely on.

As a teacher and owner of Oak Grove Learning Center, Susan Anderson has her own concerns for her kids.

"We have food allergies, we have topical allergies, ant bites," she said. "Many things in the atmosphere that could affect children (with) allergic reaction(s)."

In her 42 years of teaching preschool-age children, she said caring for them is her top priority as well. So, when she heard the FDA announced possible shortages of EpiPens, she thought of her little ones.

"As a concern, I know my parents will provide for my children," Anderson said. "But, of course, we all worry. Parents, teachers, and the community {worry} that there will be a shortage and what are we going to do to keep our kids safe."

According to Dr. Omalara Otaigbe of Southern Medical Care, in Lamar County, parents can trust other medicines, because the shortage is just in the brand name EpiPen.

"There are other companies that make the epinephrine auto-injector that people use for allergies and they can get those brands," Otaigbe said.

She said generic medicine works just as well as brand names.

"It's exactly the same medicine," she said. "It's just in a different wrapping that's all it is. But, definitely, if they're concerned about using a particular brand, Mylan the company that makes EpiPen, has a number that they can call if they're not able to obtain it from there pharmacy."

Otaigbe said those in a situation where they don't have epinephrine and there child has a serious allergic reaction should call 911 immediately.

Officials urge anyone concerned about having an Epipen to call Mylan, the Epipen maker at 1-800-796-9526.