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DIY-ing your EpiPen is a really bad idea

Meagan Morris is an entertainment and lifestyle journalist living in New York City. In addition to SheKnows, Morris contributes to many publications including The New York Times, Yahoo! News, PopEater, NBC New York and Spinner. Follow he...

Please, please, please: Don't DIY your life-saving medication

The price of EpiPens is absolutely highway robbery — even with the announcement of a half-priced generic version — and families are (understandably) looking for alternatives. An Ohio doctor says he has the answer: a DIY kit made with an empty Altoid tin, a sterile needle and the life-saving drug epinephrine.

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The cost? $10.

"It's a weight-based dose that would be prescribed by your doctor, so you would draw up the recommended amount," Dr. Marcus Romanello, chief medical officer at Fort Hamilton Hospital, told WCPO.

Sounds great!

Except it's not. At all. Administering medication like epinephrine is something medical professionals spend a lot of time mastering — it's not something you can just do on a whim, especially if you — or your child — is in the midst of a life-threatening reaction. Seconds count in these situations; can you really trust yourself to prepare the correct dose as your loved one gasps for breath in front of you?

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No. Even a study in controlled conditions found that it takes the average person over 2.5 minutes to prepare an accurate dose of epinephrine. And that's with all of the materials and instructions right there in front of them.

You don't have 2.5 minutes during anaphylaxis.

Instead, talk to your doctor about alternatives, like Adrenaclick, or take advantage of one of the available discounts. It may cost more than $10, but life is worth it.

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