Pharmacist Prevents Fatal Reaction to Bee Sting Allergy

The first thing one pharmacist did when a patient came in with a serious allergic reaction to a bee sting was administer epinephrine. The second action, which likely saved the woman's life, was to convince her that she needed to go to a hospital.

The first thing one pharmacist did when a patient came in with a serious allergic reaction to a bee sting was administer epinephrine. The second action, which likely saved the woman’s life, was to convince her that she needed to go to a hospital.

A woman from Quebec named Josée Asselin entered her local pharmacy with a bee sting that caused her throat to feel tight and her skin to itch, according to CTV News.

Asselin expected her pharmacist to give her some Benadryl and send her away, she told the news outlet. Instead, pharmacist Ugo Deschênes asked her questions and gave her an injection of epinephrine, which caused her symptoms to fade momentarily.

Thinking that it was fine to head back home, Asselin initially brushed off the pharmacist’s recommendation to go to the hospital. However, he eventually convinced Asselin to take an ambulance to a hospital, considering the severity of her anaphylactic reaction.

While in the ambulance, Asselin said her symptoms returned more aggressively, and she began to have a biphasic reaction. Thanks to Deschênes, she was able to be treated quickly by physicians for the secondary reaction.

“[The doctors] told me I should thank my pharmacist because he saved my life,” Asselin told CTV News.

Jeff D. Prescott, PharmD, RPh, previously provided a few pharmacist counseling points related to anaphylaxis and epinephrine auto-injectors.

Up to 20% of patients with anaphylaxis will have a biphasic reaction typically around 1 to 78 hours later, but most likely within 8 hours after the first reaction, according to Dr. Prescott.

Pharmacists can educate patients about well-known allergens and symptoms of a dangerous allergic reaction, he added. They can also teach their patients how to use epinephrine auto-injectors and encourage them to have their friends and family trained on the products’ use, as well.

By counseling patients on avoidance of known allergens, proper device usage, prompt symptom recognition, and appropriate device storage, pharmacists can help improve outcomes during emergency medical situations involving anaphylaxis,” Dr. Prescott wrote.