When you’re dealing with a life-threatening emergency, you don’t want to find out that a medical product or device is defective. Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released news about potentially defective EpiPens, which could fail to inject life-saving medications when needed. In some cases, they delayed the delivery of the medication, epinephrine.

Trouble with the pens is more likely with the EpiPen 0.3 mg and EpiPen Jr autoinjectors. Authorized generics also have potentially dangerous malfunctions in some cases. What’s wrong?

The FDA stated that there is a blue safety release that could be activated prematurely if someone tries to remove the release with a thumb. Instead, both hands should be used, with one being used to pull straight up on the safety release.

There is another potential danger, which is that the blue safety release could be slightly raised. This would allow it to activate prematurely, delaying or preventing emergency care.

In other devices, the problem is with the packaging. If the tub is deformed, it may not slide out easily, so it delays care.

Today, pharmacists have been asked to check the devices before giving them to patients. Any patients who notice an issue with the autoinjector should also contact the manufacturer, Mylan, to get a replacement at no cost.

It’s scary to hear that something as important as an EpiPen may not work correctly when you need it. If you do need it during anaphylaxis but the product fails or if you lose a loved one because of a product failure, you may want to start looking into your legal options. There is not any excuse for a life-saving product to fail due to manufacturing defects.