Stories about: Allergy and Immunology

Effective use of antibiotics starts with a complete allergy history

Effective antibiotic use starts with allergy history

This week is Antibiotic Awareness Week, a week focused on using antibiotics appropriately to provide the best clinical outcomes and avoid antibiotic resistance.

As physicians who care for patients with antibiotic resistant infections and those with antibiotic allergies, we know that there are real clinical advantages to being able to use “narrow” beta-lactam antibiotics such as amoxicillin. In fact, for many diagnoses, patients have better outcomes when they are treated with beta-lactam antibiotics that are targeted to their specific bacteria.  …Read More

Multidisciplinary care to treat severe asthma

Multidisciplinary care for severe asthma

The Severe Asthma Program at Boston Children’s Hospital provides care to children and young adults with severe persistent asthma who have difficulty with disease management or chronic systemic steroid use. “We’ve developed a one-stop shop for the highest risk, highest cost, highest morbidity population of pediatric asthma,” says pulmonologist Jonathan Gaffin, MD, MMSc, who conceived of the program after witnessing hundreds of patients crossing between Boston Children’s Division of Pulmonary Respiratory Diseases and Division of Allergy and Immunology…Read More

Paper Trail: Asthma, urology advancements, cardiovascular disease and more

Paper Trail-October-2107

Boston Children’s Hospital is at the forefront of clinical research. Stay connected with Paper Trail — a monthly feature highlighting recently published outcomes data and new approaches to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of pediatric illnesses.

This edition of Paper Trail focuses on the link between sedentary behaviors and BMI in young dancers, lifestyle-based tools to detect cardiovascular diseases in young adults, asthma prevention and management and more.

…Read More

The soaring price of EpiPens

EpiPen allergy allergies anaphylaxis
(Intropin/Wikimedia Commons)

According to a 2013 study conducted by the CDC, food allergies among children increased 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. Today, an estimated one in 13 school-aged children has a life-threatening allergy.

Allergists and business analysts alike agree that the EpiPen (an epinephrine auto-injector manufactured by Pennsylvania-based Mylan, Inc.) has evolved into the go-to medication to reverse the harmful effects of anaphylaxis.

But as Bloomberg News analyst Cynthia Koons writes, while Mylan’s marketing strategy—based on a public awareness campaign about childhood allergies—led to a surge in demand, it also fueled a surge in pricing. Since 2007 (the year Mylan purchased the drug brand from Merck KGaA), Koons says, EpiPen wholesale prices have risen approximately 400 percent.

The price jump is hitting patients directly. The single-dose, wholesale cost was $57 during the late 2000s. Today, after insurance discounts, a twin-pack (the injectors are only sold in twin packs) has a $415 price tag:

“[W]hile EpiPen has given countless parents a sense of security that their children can go out in the world safely, the device’s soaring price—up 32 percent in the past year alone—has forced some families to make difficult choices in order to afford the life-saving medicine. The price increases are among the biggest of any top-selling brand drug, according to DRX, a unit of Connecture that tracks drug pricing.”

Learn more about allergy testing and treatment options at Boston Children’s upcoming CME course, Pediatric Asthma & Allergy for Primary Care Providers.