Thursday, 29 March 2018

Nature's alternative to EpiPen?!

This article is the second part of the original post you can find HERE.

The risk of self-medicating is a serious hazard and can endanger lives, so the acceptable attitude is not to do it and always consult with your GP. But if you're in the middle of the Amazonian jungle being hunt down by wild pumas that haven't eaten for two weeks, and at the same time you are undergoing a really serious anaphylatic shock because of an Africanised honey bee sting (hold your breath!), with no medical staff around, no EpiPen on sight and struggling to breath (hold your breath again!!) ... and the bee division just got some backup reinforcements... what can you do? What can the natural elements of this beautiful organic pharmacy called Mother Earth can do for you?

With neither phones available nor rapid access from and to a hospital, you have to trust the handy plants you are surrounded by. However, it is likely the action of any plant with positive effects on allergies to be quite slow and mild compared to the urgency of an anaphylatic shock. And considering everyone is intelligent enough to try their best to avoid exposure to a known allergen, the only medical response to an anaphylatic shock is indeed an epinephrine injection commercially known as EpiPen. Even though there are other more affordable epinephrine auto-injectors, i.e., the class of drugs EpiPen is part of. Remember, I am not publicising any of these products but just informing you of their existence, I wish I was cashing something for advertising these products, the reality is that I'm not. But due to high-profile complaints regarding the ever increasing price of the most famous epinephrine auto-injector [1] I honestly believe that knowing of alternative products is a public responsibility. In fact, there are other alternatives available, like the Adrenaclick [2] or the Auvi-Q [3], and an article from 2006 predicted yet another one, tailored for those afraid of needles - the Epi-Pill [4]. For more information on commercial alternatives you can access the sub-page of the Division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America entitled "Kids with Food Allergies". There you can find a very professional comparison between several other commercially available epinephrine auto-injectors with different aspects put into perspective, not solely price!!! [A]

So that you know and allow me to reinforce it once again, no herbs can do the magic trick so quickly and effectively whilst saving crucial time until further medical assistance is made available. Many websites talk about miraculous responses and dwell on the most fantasist first-aid cures for an anaphylatic shock. They irresponsibly promote the use of plant and homeopathic preparations based on Eucaliptus, Lavender, Lemon, Quercetins (a plant flavonoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, however still to be fully studied for its safety and efficacy as an anaphylaxis antagonist) [5], Aconitum napellus, Apis mellifica, Cantharis, Carbolicum acidum, Hypericum, Ledum palustre, Urtica urens, etc etc etc... but we are not talking about tackling a mild allergy, we are talking about the need for an immediate life-saving approach that can promptly rescue a person until professional medical assistance is made available. Not some alleviation of mild symptoms!!!!!! All those plants and powders and miraculous herbs widespread mentioned through million websites with no scientific referencing whatsoever, will not do the job at all!!! The suggested immediate treatment to anaphylaxis is still epinephrine followed by a professional medical follow-up, as suggested by the World Allergy Organisation on their 2015 update on the evidence base [6]. And if you don't have the courage to read through 16 pages just jump straight to the "Initial Treatment To Anaphylaxis" on page 7 that reads:

"Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening medical emergency in which prompt intervention is critical. Principles of treatment remain unchanged; however, recommendations for treatment are based on evidence of increasingly high quality".

And maybe then also read the very important statement on page 8's Section "Long-term management of anaphylaxis in community settings: self treatment". This is the least one should do to be aware of the best present prophylactic and/or management methodologies. 

Have a shocking safe Easter!

[A] Epinehrine auto-injector available with a prescritpion in the United States,  Kids with Food Allergies, [], last access on the 29th of March 2018, last update on February 2014.

[1] US Senator Charles Grassley's complaint letter, from the 22nd of August 2016  [], last accessed on the 29th of March 2018.

[2] Adrenaclick for anaphylatic emergencies, [], last accessed on the 29th of March 2018, last update unknown.

[3] Auvi-Q epinephrine injection, [], last accessed on the 29th of March 2018, last update unknown. 

[4] An under-the-tongue alternative to EpiPen (2006), Harvard Health Letter, [], last accessed on the 29th of March 2018.

[5]  Chirumbolo, S. (2011). "Quercetin as a potential anti-allergic drug: which perspectives", Iranian Journal of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; 10(2), pp. 139-140.

[6] Simmons, F. E. R., Ebisawa, M. Sanchez-Borges, M. et al (2015), "2015 update on the evidence base: World Allergy Organisation Anaphylaxis Guidelines". World Allergy Organisation Journal, 8(32), pp. 1-16.

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