Epinephrine autoinjection alternative pre-filled syringes: A Simple Inexpensive Solution


“Empowering individuals with information to make better decisions about their out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.”

Donald Altman, M.D., M.B.A.

August 28, 2016

Injectable Epinephrine

This is a demonstration to start a dialogue only and NOT meant to suggest or encourage a treatment modality for individuals requiring epinephrine injections

Healthcare professionals can help patients or families needing injectable epinephrine, prepare a self-filled device that is very inexpensive and probably takes less than one minute to construct.

Problem / Fact:    The price of injectable epinephrine in self loaded sterile syringes is currently as much as $400.00 and $600.00 per twin pack dose.   This puts the cost out of reach of many parents who children may have life threatening allergic reactions.

The components of this injection are very inexpensive.  Estimated total cost less than $5.00

1 ampule of epinephrine 1/1000

1 cc syringe

1 27 gauge needle

1 or 2 drinking straws or a cut off pen to act as a stopper

1 alcohol swab

1 small PVC container (optional)


Medication epinephrine, syringe and needles require a prescription from licensed medical doctor.

The ability and therefore the safety, of the lay public to administer epinephrine in this system is not established and it is not recommended without the supervision and / or training by a healthcare professional.

Improper use of epinephrine can be life threatening or fatal.

Assumptions and areas of research:

It is possible that the components can be placed in a sterile plastic syringe for 2 to 3 months without significant loss of potency or contamination 1  

Cost effective pre-filled syringes can be assembled, ideally with the help of a medical professional.  2

Healthcare professionals at the site where families enter the market, or seek non-emergency care be available to help families assemble pre-filled syringes.

Parents and lay individuals are capable of properly using epinephrine for emergencies without depending on the costly autoinjector systems currently on the market

Photos below:

(1)  Parts needed for a self pre-filled device. Syringe, a needle, and an ampule of epinephrine.  Note that that standard ampules have one cc of fluid, and only .3 cc is needed.

epi diagram

(2) Box, case, and cartridge for commercially available auto-injectable epinephrine. 

epi diagram 2


  1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/255711715_Epinephrine_stability_in_plastic_syringes_and_glass_vials
  1. http://www.wildmedcenter.com/uploads/5/9/8/2/5982510/epinephrine.pdf     read page #2 of 7

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