Lloydspharmacy reveal that most severe allergic shocks go unreported

From: Lloydspharmacy
Published: Tue Oct 19 2010

Lloydspharmacy has announced that the number of people at risk of potentially fatal allergic reactions could be much greater than previously reported.

Up to 1.2 million Brits could experience anaphylactic shocks during their lifetime* but the most recent UK estimates are only able to identify fewer than 40,000 incidents**.

A review of studies into the prevalence of anaphylaxis has revealed huge variations in how incidents are recorded. Researchers concluded anything up to two per cent of the population - more than 1.2 million Brits - could experience an anaphylactic shock during their lifetime.

But a UK study indentified only 37,800 people who’d experienced anaphylaxis in their lifetime. The study’s authors conclude the true figures are under-reported because the majority of cases are sent home from A&E departments and are therefore not captured.

It is believed that incidents among those at highest risk, children and adolescents, are most likely to go unreported.

People diagnosed with anaphylaxis are prescribed an adrenaline pen. Adrenaline is used in the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis as it treats the symptoms of anaphylaxis by raising blood pressure, relieving breathing difficulties and reducing swelling.

Lloydspharmacy Online Doctor has launched a service for people with anaphylaxis allowing them to order replacement or additional adrenaline pens online.

Patients complete an online questionnaire which is reviewed by a doctor. If clinically appropriate, a prescription for the allergy relief pen is written and a new pen received next day by post.

"People with severe anaphylaxis should never be without an adrenaline pen and should always have one to hand," said Nitin Makadia at Lloydspharmacy Online Doctor. "The shelf life of a pen can be as little as 8 to 10 months so if your pen is out of date or has become damaged you need to replace it immediately. You may also want the peace of mind from having additional pens available for all circumstances to suit your lifestyle.

"By offering people a service which allows them to replace or purchase additional pens, without the need to wait for a GP appointment we can help anaphylaxis sufferers stay safe."

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction which some people experience if they come into contact with certain foods and substances. It is estimated that 20 people die each year in the UK as a result of anaphylaxis.

Common triggers include peanuts, latex, drugs and insect stings or bites but the list of possible triggers includes shellfish and even fruit.

A very severe attack can result in a sudden collapse but more commonly the sufferer will experience itching, sneezing, difficulty with breathing, dizziness, palpitations and anxiety.

Notes to Editors:
* Epidemiology of anaphylaxis: findings of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Epidemiology of Anaphylaxis Working Group.
Lieberman P; Camargo CA Jr; Bohlke K; Jick H; Miller RL; Sheikh A; Simons FE
Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2006 Nov;97(5):596-602

** Trends in national incidence, lifetime prevalence and adrenaline prescribing for anaphylaxis in England
Aziz Sheikh, Julia Hippisley-Cox, John Newton, and Justin Fenty
J R Soc Med. 2008 March 1; 101(3): 139–143.
doi: 10.1258/jrsm.2008.070306.

About Lloydspharmacy:
Lloydspharmacy has over 1650 pharmacies across the UK.  These are based predominantly in community and health centre locations.  The company employs over 17,000 staff and dispenses over 151 million prescription items annually.

Lloydspharmacy which is a community pharmacy has primary care at the heart of its business. This is why it has launched a range of products aimed at improving community health such as affordable blood pressure monitors and allergy relievers, as well as a suite of convenient professional health check services including free blood pressure and diabetes testing, and cholesterol and heart checks in the comfort of a private consultation room.

PR Contact:
Claire Connolly
Press Officer
Sapphire Court
Walsgrave Triangle
02476 432192
Company: Lloydspharmacy
Contact Name: Claire Connolly
Contact Email: enquiries@pr-sending.co.uk
Contact Phone: 02476 432192

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