Is it a case of ‘Move over Epipen’? There is a new player on the block!

The Anapen is an alternative to the Epipen for use when a patient is suffering from Anaphylaxis. Those who have been doing First Aid for quite a few years will remember that the Anapen was in use a number of years ago. It was phased out and the Epipen brought a consistency of training and operation to the treatment of Anaphylaxis for First Aiders.

Unfortunately it also brought supply constraints when in demand and, to some degree, a market monopoly. So the Anapen is back as of September 1st 2021. It will take sometime to gain a footprint in the marketplace, but I thought it a timely topic so no one is taken by surprise should you come across one in a patients kit.

It’s visibly quite different to the Epipen which is a good thing for recognition, but the operation of requires a technique that we have worked hard to stamp out in the Epipen process. Like any product, there is some good aspects and some not so good ones!

Firstly, you need to remove the black cap at the needle end. The needle end is well marked. Similar to the Epipen there is a cap over the opposite end which acts like a lock. When the cap is in place, the Anapen can’t and won’t deploy. Remove this cap and the pen is primed. This is where the operation of the Anapen differs greatly from the Epipen.

The Epipen simply requires downward pressure on the outer thigh to deploy. The Anapen needs to put in place and then you need to press the red cap with your thumb to activate the firing mechanism. You will remember that we have trained long and hard for you NOT to put your thumb over the end of the Epipen on the off chance you have it upside down in a panic situation. Now we are asking you to put your thumb over the end to deploy the Anapen!

It would be easier if there was a little consistency there. So now there is a real need and importance to make sure you know before any incident occurs what medication device the patient has. Make sure to go over it with your staff member regularly. Maybe once every couple of months, Anapen or Epipen. This might be a good quick revision for a Toolbox meeting. 5 minutes max.

One of the benefits of the Anapen is the dosage sizing. It comes in 3 sizes, which is good because the purple coloured one (still predominately white – see below) is a 500mcg dose. This is the recommended adult dose in Anaphylaxis anyway, so it’s a little better in this regard.

3 different dose sizes for the Anapen

We have added the Anapen content and trainers to our courses, so I look forward to updating you on the operation of these new items and for you to have a play with them in person on your next course.

If you would like more information about this topic or any others, purchase any First Aid stock or equipment, or to book a Remote Area First Aid course, please contact us on 0491 057 339 or email

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