Can You Use a Frozen Epinephrine Pen?

Hiker walking in the snow

What happens if you accidentally freeze an epinephrine pen? This mistake can easily happen by forgetting your pen in a car overnight. Do you know how freezing an epinephrine pen affects its functionality? These are important questions to know the answer to if you have a severe bee sting allergy!

A Study: Will a Frozen Epinephrine Pen Still Work?

A recent study paired 104 epinephrine pens (25 pairs of 0.3 mg and 25 pairs of 0.15 mg devices). Researchers froze half the pens at -25°C for 24 hours. Then, they kept the counterparts at the recommended temperature as a control. The report concluded that, when used, both pens in each pair fired a similar mass of epinephrine solution. So, 24-hours of freezing should not impair a device’s function.

What to Do with a Frozen Epinephrine Pen

While a once-frozen epinephrine pen may work, the study did not recommend using one. Plus, an issue not noted in the study is that a frozen epinephrine pen could lead to cracks in the glass syringe. They might not be visible to the user.

However, a thawed epinephrine pen is better than none at all. So please use it if it is your only option in an emergency. But if you do accidentally freeze your device, do your best to acquire a new one as soon as possible.

Three Facts to Remember about Epinephrine Pens

  • Always try to keep your device within the recommended storage temperature range of 68-77⁰F (20⁰-25⁰C).
  • You most likely do not need to replace your pen after a brief excursion below 59⁰ F (15⁰ C) — as long as it doesn’t freeze.
  • Epinephrine pens that froze or experienced a longer cold-exposure should be discarded appropriately.

As always, your allergist or pharmacist is your best resource. Contact them if you have questions or concerns.

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