Stories about: Dr. John Lee

A new option for kids with severe allergies

(image credit: CVS)

For parents of children with severe allergies, keeping our kids safe in the event of an allergic reaction is a priority. We rid our houses of allergens, we write detailed allergy plans for caretakers and we stock up on Epinephrine, the medication that will save our kids if they ever experience anaphylaxis.

Epinephrine auto-injectors are expensive, they expire every year even if unused, and we have to purchase multiples for home, school, and elsewhere. Which is why we’re thrilled that CVS now offers a generic Epinephrine auto-injector for $109.99 per two-pack — that’s about a sixth of the cost of Epi-pen and a third of the cost of Mylan’s generic version.

Before heading out to CVS to stock up, we checked in with Dr. John Lee, clinical director of the Food Allergy Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “This new Epinephrine auto-injector from CVS can be used safely for anaphylaxis,” assures Dr. Lee. “It provides the same medication and the same dosing as the Epi-pen,” though he warns the mechanisms differ. He urges anyone caring for a child with a life-threatening allergy to be trained on how to use each brand.

Above all, Dr. Lee insists caretakers carry an Epinephrine auto-injector at all times — “no matter which one it is,” he emphasizes.

Learn about Boston Children’s Hospital’s Food Allergy Program.

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Back to school with food allergies

food allergyA back-to-school checklist for parents whose child has a food allergy can set the stage for a safe and happy school year. It’s important to focus on communication with key people, being sure to ask questions. If the answer is uncertain or unclear, continue to ask until it is clear.

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Hear me roar: A mother hunts down answers for her son

If it’s true that raising boys is not for the fainthearted, then Nicole Laws is truly lionhearted. A nurturer and a protector, beautiful and strong, this mother of four boys will hunt down the best solution to a problem … no matter what stands in her way.

Mason was born on Jan. 28, 2011, in Syracuse, New York. A month premature, he struggled with eating and breathing, but Nicole wasn’t overly worried. “This was our fourth child. The first three had reflux, so I was thinking, ‘This will be a piece of cake!’” Mason was observed for a few days at the local hospital and sent home.

Unfortunately, Mason’s issues persisted. Nicole and her husband Cliff had to hold their son in just the right position and give him frequent breaks to feed him. Sleeping was a struggle, to say the least. “Mason couldn’t tolerate laying flat,” remembers Nicole. “He would sleep on top of me sitting in a chair — all night long.”

We wouldn’t be where we are now if I didn’t push hard for answers and say ‘no’ when I felt something wasn’t right. ~ Nicole, Mason’s mom

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Ask the Expert: What does the Auvi-Q recall mean for my child?

Auvi-Q (2)


Sanofi has recalled all of its Auvi-Q epinephrine auto injectors from the market. Parents of children who rely on the Auvi-Q need an alternative and a plan for their children.

“Parents should be able to get a replacement for Auvi-Q with very little trouble,” says Dr. John Lee, director of the Boston Children’s Food Allergy Program. Lee provides additional advice for how families can handle the Auvi-Q recall.

Why was the Auvi-Q recalled?

Sanofi recalled the Auvi-Q injectors because it had received 26 reports of the device delivering inaccurate doses of ephinenphrine. No deaths have been reported, but an inaccurate dose can have significant health consequences.

What should I do if my child uses the Auvi-Q injector?

Contact your child’s doctor immediately for a replacement injector from another brand. Parents need to contact a physician for a new prescription; you cannot go to the pharmacy to buy an epinephrine injector without a prescription.

Different devices have different mechanisms, so parents need to be trained how to use the new injector. Ask your pharmacist to show you how the injector works, or go to the manufacturer’s website to review directions for the new injector.

Do NOT dispose of Auvi-Q injectors until you have a replacement. If your child experiences an emergency or goes into anaphylaxis and an Auvi-Q is the only option available, you should use it.

Finally, save any receipts and pharmacy documentation, because Sanofi is reimbursing its customers for the cost of replacement injectors. Visit Auvi-Q for more details.

Boston Children’s patient families can contact the Division of Allergy and Immunology at 617-355-6117 to request a new prescription.

What are the alternatives to Auvi-Q?

The alternatives to Auvi-Q are:

  • EpiPen
  • Adrenaclick
  • Generic equivalents

Will the recall affect other epinephrine injectors?

The recall does not affect other brands, and there is plenty of inventory available to meet the needs of patients and families who rely on epinephrine injectors.

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