By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) — EpiPens have been in short supply…unsettling news for patients and parents of kids with life-threatening allergies. Now the FDA will be extending the expiration date by four months for some EpiPens and their generics, to help ease the shortage.

The FDA says they reviewed data provided by the manufacturer showing that the drug can last past its expiration date and says patients should feel confident using them.

small study last year also found that more than half of EpiPens maintain almost all of the effective dose of epinephrine even years after the expiration date. That said, expired EpiPens should be disposed of as soon as new ones become available.

This FDA measure only applies to regular 0.3 mg EpiPens, not EpiPen Juniors which are designed for younger children.

The manufacturer says supplies should improve later this year.

In the meantime, allergists say there are other epinephrine auto-injectors available on the market.

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