EpiPen prescribing information states that its carrier tube is not waterproof. A study that was published as part of the AAAAI Annual Meeting assessed whether EpiPen lost its function and integrity after going through a washing machine cycle.
The study included 68 pairs of post-consumer expired EpiPens at 0.3 mg (n=15) and 0.15 mg (n=53). One EpiPen went through the colors cycle of a top loading washing machine in its carrier tube; the other EpiPen remained in usual conditions. Both pens were fired into meat; to determine how much of the EpiPen’s content was deployed, the increase in meat mass and decrease in device mass were calculated. Comparisons between the average mass of washed and unwashed devices were made; linear regressions were also employed to compare outcomes between device doses (0.3 vs. 0.15) and expiration dates. EpiPens that went through a wash cycle were also unfired and assessed for moisture and damage.
The washed EpiPens, compared with unwashed controls, fired more epinephrine solution into the meat and lost more mass in the process. In 10 washed EpiPens, the needle cover did not deploy at all. Dose and expiration date did not influence the effect of washing. Among the dissected EpiPens, 15 presented dry needles and plungers.
The study authors concluded that washing an EpiPen impairs its function and recommended that the device not be used after going through a washing machine cycle.