New Ill. law to allow all EMTs to use syringes to administer epinephrine

The new law will allow EMTs with basic-level training to use a syringe to administer epinephrine

By EMS1 Staff

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Starting Jan. 1, Illinois will allow all of its emergency medical personnel to treat anaphylaxis by administering epinephrine through a syringe instead of an EpiPen.

The bill was signed into law last week by Gov. Bruce Rauner in response to the dramatically growing costs of the EpiPen, which have jumped to almost $600 for two doses compared to $90 a decade ago.

Departments spend thousands of dollars on just a few EpiPens annually, and must buy more each year because the drug loses its potency. However, epinephrine is much cheaper when purchased in vial form.

One fire protection district told The Southern Illinoisan that it will cost about $50 to refresh their supply of epinephrine for a year, as opposed to spending $2,400 on four adult and four child-size EpiPens annually.

Dylan Ferguson, director of the McLean County Area EMS System, predicts that the area could save as much as $200,000 over the next few years by phasing out EpiPen use.

“For us, it was significantly a cost issue,” Ferguson said.

Departments in Seattle and Salt Lake City have made similar changes to their medical protocols, saving thousands of dollars each year by replacing EpiPens with manual syringes.

Paramedics and EMTs with specialized training can already administer epinephrine and other drugs by syringe, but the new Illinois law will allow EMTs with basic-level training to do the same once they have been taught how to perform the procedure.

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