Have you seen the Auvi-Q?

Running late as usual, we hopped off the elevator, turned the corner and trotted down the hall. I opened the door and ushered my son in ahead of me, only to find a tall gentleman dressed in a business suit and carrying a briefcase talking to the receptionist at the sign-in window.

He was obviously a drug rep peddling some new drug or something. I signed impatiently and rolled my eyes. I continued to wait while he tried to charm the receptionist into an appointment with one of the allergists on staff. Finally he stood aside, smiled graciously at me and apologized for keeping me waiting.

I smiled curtly and stepped up to the desk and gave our names.

While I waited for the receptionist to find our names in the computer, a nurse appeared and asked the suit what he wanted. He proceeded to introduce the Auvi-Q – a new epinephrine auto-injector that is being released early next year.

Since my son has food allergies that require an EpiPen, I immediately perked up.

The Auvi-Q is nothing like the EpiPens sitting around my house, the ones that resembles a weapon and are unwieldy and awkward to carry — so much so that my son refuses to carry one because what kid wants to carry THAT!?

The Auvi-Q, on the other hand, is the size of a credit card and about as thick as my iPhone. It is designed to fit neatly into a pocket or purse, and it actually talks you through the process if (God forbid) you should actually need to use it.

I couldn’t help but glance over as the suit began to demonstrate this new miracle tool on his iPad. He explained how the biggest problem with the EpiPen is that people don’t want to carry it, and naturally it only works if you have it with you. This Auvi-Q is much easier to carry because it is shaped like a phone or wallet and fits much more conveniently into a purse or pocket so people who need them are more likely to be compliant.

At this, my cold demeanor began to thaw and I could no longer contain my curiosity. I piped up, sharing that my son is 13-years-old and allergic to tree nuts, and I am ashamed to admit that he never carries his EpiPen because it’s just so inconvenient. (Yeah, so is anaphylaxis, I realize this. Fortunately he has never needed it, so we tend to be more lax than we should.)

The suit needed no more encouragement than that. He pulled an Auvi-Q out of his pocket and handed it to my son.

“Here,” he said. “Slip this in your pocket.”

Which he did.

“Cool, huh?” prompted the suit.

My son had to agree.

We chatted a bit more. Evidently the Auvi-Q has already been approved by the FDA and will be released sometime early in 2013.

I wonder how it will to be accepted by the medical community, but I hope the Auvi-Q will be a viable alternative to the EpiPens we now have to use. This hope was later confirmed by my doctor, who happened to mention a better device was in the works when we were in her office and the compliance issue came up. When I told her that I had just seen one in the lobby, her eyes lit up. Evidently she hasn’t seen one yet but is very excited about its debut.

The other awesome thing about the Auvi-Q is that it is much harder to shoot oneself in the thumb with it (which, evidently, happens with the EpiPen more often than you want to think, present company not excluded, ahem.)

I couldn’t wait to get home and share it! Is this not the COOLEST thing ever!?

If you’re a mom of a kid with food allergies, you surely get my excitement. If not, be thankful!

Comments

  1. says

    Yes! I saw this the other day. I cannot wait to get one for my son. It’s about time they did something with the epipen. My son has to carry his in this awkward epipen case I bought online. It’s awful and uncomfortable, not to mention a fashion no-no when you are 12. I make him wear it though, because he’s needed it too many times not to wear it.

    So, ya, LOVE this. Happy your son got one!
    ~FringeGirl

  2. Amy says

    Thank you SO much for sharing this. My son had a peanut and tree nut allergy. He has recently outgrown the tree nut allergy but still has the peanut allergy and this would be awesome. He is in 6th grade and like you said, the EpiPen is not cool. Not to mention that it looks scary so when he goes to houses of new friends, you can see the look of fear on the parents face when they see it. I will definitely ask his allergist about this at his next appointment!! THANKS!!!!!

  3. says

    I am the one in our family that is *supposed* to carry an epi pen. I have had the anaphylactic response before and it is no picnic. I let my rx run out on my epi pen because I just don’t like to carry that bulky thing around. I will ask my doctor about this at my next appt, thanks for the info!

  4. Karen says

    Recall this comes from someone who was part of the drug development community for 25+ years…what you experienced is exactly why companies have drug reps. Most of the public thinks it is only to push their drugs and certainly that is a part of it; but the real purpose, especially in the ramp up to realease is to familiarize docs with the new product. After that relationsip is established the visits become more routine. They restock samples and check in with the medical staff to see if they have any questions or concerns. More importantly they are instrumental in making free or discounted drugs to those patients with financial need.
    The moral is: love the drug rep. Look what he did for David today.

  5. shawda says

    so if it is the size of a phone how do you know what your grabbing if you are having a reaction? Also the pen I carry doesnt look like the picture you have shown on your blog

  6. Megan says

    I’m severely allergic to wheat, and I’ve been waiting for this to come out! Not only is it more convenient to carry, the needle is smaller, and the injection time is literally HALF of the epi pen’s. Big bonus for all of us who have to inject ourselves!

  7. Janet says

    First I’d like mention that I like you blog! I’m a nurse in an allergist office and have heard numerous stories of patients and care givers panicking when they are having anaphylaxis and my biggest concern with this talking device is that the directions won’t be heard or understood while feeling like you or your friend is about to die. If you have never experienced anaphylaxis, people will describe it as an impending sense of doom. What I like about the Epi pen, is everyone knows what it looks like, how to use it and do the 2 simple steps and it works immediately. If you get the new device, make sure you train everyone your son will come into contact with and to make sure they know what it looks like. If your son can not use the device himself you want to make sure those around him can locate it and know it’s a life saving device and not just another electronic toy. Good luck.

    • says

      Hi Janet. You make some valid points. We do not have one yet. I will discuss with our allergist at our next appointment. When I wrote this post, they weren’t available yet. I agree – the voice activated instructions do worry me. But otoh, having NO instruction is also daunting. We have fortunately never had to use our Epi Pen.

    • Julie Frey says

      I just got the Auvi-Q today and, although I’m a little disappointed in the size (it’s a bit thicker than I imagined), I think it’s a huge improvement over the Epi-pen. The voice commands are great. But even if the voice commands were not audible, I think it would be easier to use than the Epi-pen. It is very well-marked with bright arrows and clear instructions, and much easier to figure out than the Epi-pen.

      I have to disagree that everyone is familiar with and knows how to use an Epi-pen. Practicing with a trainer is a very different exerience from using one in a real emergency. Alot of people have practiced with them, but I doubt many people use them often enough that it becomes routine. I’ve only used the Epi-pen on my son once, but even though I had practiced with the trainer hundreds of times, in an actual emergency, I second-guessed myself and had to review the instructions to make sure I was doing it correctly. And I/we still managed to screw up! My son jumped away from me as soon as I jabbed it into him, so I don’t think he actually got any of the medication. (Luckily, he didn’t have much of a reaction.)

      The Auvi-Q looks seems simpler and closer to fool-proof. For one thing, you don’t have to worry about accidentally injecting yourself in the thumb because the injection end and other end look very different, whereas on the Epi-pen, the two ends look very similar. Also, you don’t have to worry about whether you jab it hard enough to trigger the spring mechanism. Instead, you just place it against the thigh. And I think it would prevent the type of failure I had. I’m pretty sure my pulled away in reaction to the force, not because of the actual injection, which he said didn’t hurt much.

      • says

        That is really helpful and good to know! And I HAVE injected myself in the thumb (practicing with an expired EpiPen on an orange. I agree – the EpiPen is NOT easy to use or intuitive. The thing scares the crap out of me, frankly. And also, with the jabbing… I have never had to use it, and I am terrified if I do. I’ll definitely be asking about the Auvi-Q at our next appt.

  8. Matt says

    Thanks for the write up! After 27 years, I finally developed food allergies. I wish I could have been prepared for the allergic reaction I had since I went into Anaphylactic shock. I’m only a week into this new experience but also a proud owner of a Auvi-Q. They are sleak and easy to conceal. I am hopeful to never use it but it’s easy enough if I need to!

  9. Sally B. says

    We just got the new Auvi-Q and it is a major improvement, size-wise, over the Epi-Pen! It’s easier to carry, the injection time is only 5 seconds instead of 10 and it actually talks and counts out the seconds for you — a huge plus if you are in a panic during an allergic reaction. Makes my teen daughter much more willing to carry it. This thing could potentially revolutionize epinephrine injectors — but Sanofi needs to do a better job of getting the word out and getting it into the hands of doctors, school nurses, etc. It doesn’t seem right that I was the one who had to train my daughter’s school nurse on how to use it and had to loan her the “trainer” so she could show the other staff how. This thing could have a HUGE following but the marketers have to do better at getting it into the hands of professionals. Luckily, we haven’t had to use it yet but Auvi-Q gets an A+ for trying to make this type of device more convenient.

  10. Michele K. says

    Just saw the Auvi-Q at the pharmacy. They had a sample. How can I get a sample to show my allergy group? Does anyone know? I’ve tried the website, but can’t find a way to request one.

  11. Allison says

    I have the Auvi-Q and it’s amazing! I love the size and it’s a lot easier to carry then the Epipens. I used to have my Epipens in a red medicine bag I got from FAAN to carry them in as well as liquid Benadryl single packets as well as an inhaler and spacer. I’m allergic to peanuts, all tree nuts and shellfish. I just got the Auvi-Q in March and my mom thought it was great so she talked to her doctor about getting it for her bee sting allergy. Now I only have to keep my Auvi-Q’s, Benadryl and inhaler in a smaller pouch in my purse!

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