PITTSBURGH (CBS) — For over a year, families have been struggling to overcome a shortage of EpiPens, a life-saving shot for those with severe allergies.

There are now alternatives, such as a product called Auvi-Q, a recently available substitute for the hard to locate EpiPen.

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“It’s heartbreaking,” said Betsy Barnes, whose son, James, now has access to Auvi-Q for a life-threatening nut allergy.

For over a year, manufacturing issues have reduced the supply of the widely-prescribed EpiPen, which injects a life-saving dose of epinephrine to a patient going into anaphylactic shock.

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“It’s overwhelming,” said Betsy Barnes.

Barnes spent two and a half months contacting pharmacy after pharmacy before she was able to locate the substitute.

“That was just very scary just to have your child not be able to get the medicine they need to help them live,” she said.

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Mylan, the distributor of EpiPen, encourages patients to contact its Customer Relations Line at 800-796-9526 if they are having trouble locating the medicine.