Friday, March 29, 2013
On January 28, 2013, the Auvi Q epinephrine autoinjector was launched in the United States. Here is the press release from the manufacturer Sanofi US and a quote about this new delivery system for epinephrine, the first line treatment for severe allergic reactions i.e. anaphylaxis: "Auvi-Q is the first-and-only epinephrine auto-injector with audio and visual cues for the emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions in people who are at risk for or have a history of anaphylaxis. The size and shape of a credit card and the thickness of a smart phone, Auvi-Q is a breakthrough in epinephrine auto-injector device design that talks patients and caregivers step-by-step through the injection process."
The Auvi-Q is the brainchild of food allergic twins, Eric and Evan Edwards, who have experienced anaphylaxis and whom I interviewed back in 2008 for Healthcentral.com. Here is the February 2013 New York Times story about them and the launch of the Auvi-Q: "Brothers Develop New Device to Halt Allergy Attacks".
According to Sanofi US: “This new Epinephrine Autoinjector provides users with audible and visual cues, including a five-second injection countdown and an alert light to signal when the injection is complete. Auvi-Q also features an automatic retractable needle mechanism to help prevent accidental needle sticks.”
Sanofi US sent me an Auvi-Q trainer to try. There has been much online discussion about the size being the great selling point. Here it is on my desk, next to my library card and my iMac mouse to see the scale.
The size and shape are novel features, ones that may help previously reluctant patients (like teenagers) carry epinephrine autoinjectors; however, that remains to be seen over the coming months.
For me, the voice commands is of equal value as a novel feature, one that may have greater ramifications. (You can listen to a demonstration here on the Auvi-Q website.) I couldn’t help but think of friends and family, even good Samaritans, who want to help and yet who are completely unfamiliar with epinephrine or autoinjectors. This calm voiced-feature on the Auvi-Q device, telling you how to administer the epinephrine, especially in a high-pressure emergency situation like a severe food allergic reaction, might mean that the device will be used more readily; however, that remains to be seen over the coming months, as well.
One issue I have with the product is one of the supporting documents: the Auvi-Q anaphylaxis action plan. Here is the anaphylaxis action plan created by Auvi-Q. (NB: I have been in contact with the Sanofi US team about my concerns and they have been quick to respond and to look into the matter.) My problem is with the list of “other” symptoms. Without a qualifier that symptoms show up after exposure to known allergens and/or that anaphylaxis is defined as involving two bodily systems, I fear that those newly diagnosed might be confused about the definition of anaphylaxis and when to administer epinephrine.
*Here are the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergies in the United States and the definition of anaphylaxis is on page 25.*
If you are unclear about this Auvi-Q anaphylaxis action plan and have the Auvi-Q device, please consult your board certified allergist about your personalized anaphylaxis action plan.
Have you or your family purchased the Auvi-Q? Tell me what you think!