Many people who suffer from severe allergic reactions have long made use of the EpiPen. Delivering a measured dose of epinephrine, the self-administrable device stimulates the heart and increases blood flow, elevating breathing levels and temporarily relieving anaphylaxis symptoms. While there are no ostensible issues with the mechanisms of the EpiPen, their size often makes them an annoyance to carry and while the commonly used device reportedly costs only several dollars to make, a pack of two can set customers back upwards of $600. Students from the University of Minnesota have developed the AdrenaCard – a revolutionary alternative to the life-saving tool.
While neither of the AdrenaCard’s inventors – Tyler Ebert and Christopher Kuehn – suffer from allergies, several experiences with customers’ food allergies during Ebert’s work at a restaurant piqued his interest. “After doing some research, we found out less than half of sufferers will carry an EpiPen at all times,” he told CBS News. “That’s a big issue.”
Many users only find themselves in need of the injection every once in a while. The uncertainty and infrequency of its usage combined with its bulky design lead many to forget their EpiPen at home or avoid carrying them all together. The practical design of the AdrenaCard was developed to aid in this avoidable but sometimes inevitable error of judgement.
The length of a typical credit card, it is designed to easily slip into a pocket or wallet. Measuring 100 millimetres by 50 millimetres by eight millimetres, its size and shape is meant to encourage severe allergy suffers to always have the device on them without having to consciously think about it. The sleek design also helps eliminate any stigma. “Having a more concealable device on you is something that will be an added bonus because people won’t be pointing it out wherever you go,” Kuehn said.
An increase in the price of the EpiPen in the US has many users seeking alternatives. While the price for the AdrenaCard has yet to be set, it’s creators have every intention of making it an affordable alternative.
Recently ranked among the top 5 student-owned companies at the Entrepreneur's Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, the AdrenaCard is still undergoing testing by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ebert and Kuehn hope the AdrenaCard is expected to gain approval by 2017 ahead of entering the market.