Epinephrine for Beekeepers

I picked up two shots of Epinephrine today in case I, or someone near my honey bees, has an anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting. I don’t want anyone dying on my watch.

It’s called an EpiPen.

Basically it’s a shot of adrenalin. Remember Uma Thurman’s shot to the heart in Pulp Fiction? Not exactly the same thing, but close enough. It’s for emergencies.

I had to get a prescription for the EpiPen from my family doctor. I explained that I keep bees in my backyard and I’d like to have Epinephrine on hand just to be safe. My doctor asked me if I had any known allergies. I said no. She checked my medical file and wrote me the prescription.

It’s $100 per EpiPen. My Blue Cross insurance paid for 90% of it. So it came to $20 for two pens. That’s a yearly expense I’m willing to pay.

I’ve used one of these self-injecting pens before in another life when I was briefly in the military. You pull off the blue release cap…

…and jam the needle end hard into the fleshy part of your leg. The needle automatically pokes out and injects you with the Epinephrine. Then you hightail it to the nearest emergency room and live happily ever after.

Update: For people who can’t afford to buy Epipens every year, you don’t have to. I don’t replace them until the liquid in the little window on the Epipen becomes discoloured (indicating it’s gone bad). Stored at room temperature, an Epipen can last three or four years.

5 thoughts on “Epinephrine for Beekeepers

  1. I was told by the doctor that if it is expired you can still use it and it should work fine. When you by an epipen you can register with http://www.epipen.ca and they will email you when it is time to buy a new one.

    • Thanks, Steve. I haven’t registered yet, but I will. I also set up a reminder through my Gmail calendar. I use my Gmail calendar for everything. Next year I’ll get an email reminder in April that says something along the lines of: “Reverse your brood boxes shortly after the bees start bringing in crocus pollen in mid-April. Don’t wait until May because the hives will be packed with disgusting bridge comb full of drone pupae then.” Stuff like that. Along with my hand-written journal, it’s been extremely helpful.

      Anyway, glad you survived your bad sting.

      The EpiPen also has a window that shows if the epinephrine has gone bad:


    • After I got my prescription from my doctor, I bought two EpiPens at a pharmacist chain store called Shoppers Drugmart. $100 per pen. My Blue Cross insurance paid 90%. EpiPen is a trademarked name, so you may have to ask for it by name. I think drug prices in Canada are regulated from province to province. Some provinces probably have better prices. I don’t know how it works in the US.

  2. I as well just bought one, Prince Edward Island also has the price of $100. My insurance paid for it and I have it just in case. My father in law has them and even if they are expired they don’t go bad. Everything medical needs an expiry date and they are still effective after the year, just in case the active ingredient is less effective they put a date on it.

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