If you’ve been having trouble filling the Adderall prescription that you’ve been given for your child or yourself, it’s not a problem for anyone else.
A lot of people (and the parents of those patients) are trying to fulfill prescriptions for Adderall and other medications to treat the condition known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at local pharmacies, according to Ann Childress, MD, a psychiatrist who practices privately located in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the head of the American Professional Society for ADHD and Related Disorders.
Parents and patients have reported having to call pharmacies that are miles away from home but still not finding what they need, according to the doctor. Childress. Some have also asked their physicians for alternatives to the medications prescribed for their disease, and some are also not available and may not perform as well as the medicines they previously took, she says.
The issue has become more severe since millions of children and teenagers across the nation recently started school. For many kids who have ADHD, the beginning of the school year is a time to resume the medication regimens that were placed on hold for the summer break.
This could indicate an increase in the demand for ADHD medications just because the shortage has widened to include other ADHD medications. This month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared that the needs of ADHD medications met: methylphenidate (Concerta) and lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse).
Shortages in immediate-release forms in amphetamine mixed salts (Adderall or Adderall IR), which is a commonly prescribed ADHD medication, started about one year ago.
Adderall and other stimulant medications that are used in the treatment of ADHD are extremely beneficial for adults and children who suffer from the disorder.
“ADHD is known as a brain disorder of the brain. When properly diagnosed, medications like Adderall help children focus at school, and adults to concentrate on their jobs and other important tasks like driving.” states Jennifer McWilliams, MD, director of the chief of psychiatry division of the Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently proposed tightening prescribing rules for a variety of ADHD medications. This could cause additional barriers in accessing certain patients.
What’s Been Causing the Adderall Shortage?
Many factors have contributed to making Adderall more difficult to obtain in the last few months.
In the beginning, Adderall, as well as other stimulants that treat ADHD, are classified as controlled substances due to their potential to cause dependency and even overdose. To prevent abuse, the DEA establishes manufacturing quotas for these drugs. However, according to the FDA as well as the DEA, drug companies sold one billion fewer doses than allowed by their quotas for 2022. This trend is expected to continue this year.
Teva, one of the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture Adderall, was reported to have experienced “ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays,” in October 2022, in accordance with the FDA.
While other pharmaceutical companies are making amphetamine mixed salts, they’ve produced sufficient quantities to satisfy the demands created due to the Adderall shortage, as per the FDA.
Another reason is that the demand for stimulants that are typically prescribed for ADHD has been rising prior to the time when the FDA revealed the Adderall shortage at the end of October. The proportion of teenage girls as well as adult women and men who are taking stimulants prescribed by a doctor has increased from 2016 to 2020 and 2021 in accordance with information published in March 2023 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It is known that the diagnosis as well as treatment for ADHD has increased with time, particularly among girls and women who are typically neglected and untreated for ADHD. A report released in January 2018 by the journal MMWR revealed that the percentage of privately insured U.S. women ages 15 to 44 who were prescribed an approved medication for ADHD was up by 344 percent between 2003 and 2015.
Reduced regulations for prescribing (which were changed in the course of the COVID-19 epidemic to ensure that patients could receive their medication even though fewer people attended scheduled appointments with a doctor in person) could also have played an important role. Prior to the DEA’s public health pandemic emergency regulations began to take effect on March 20th, 2020, the DEA required an appointment with a doctor prior to allowing controlled substances to be prescribed in a telehealth visit. However, during the time of the public health emergency, these rules were relaxed, and prescribing prescriptions for Adderall and similar drugs by telehealth without an initial in-person appointment was now allowed.
This allowed many more people to get the medication, including those with no ADHD. “Although improved access to ADHD care through telehealth during the pandemic might have benefited some persons with ADHD symptoms, it might have also introduced the potential for inadequate ADHD evaluations and inappropriate stimulant prescribing,” according to the March 2023 MMWR report.
A good example is Cerebral Online, an application for therapy and prescription that is currently under federal scrutiny for possible violations of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Controlled Substances Act (which regulates the use for medical purposes of substances, the potential for dependence or abuse, as well as the safety of various substances) in relation to its prescribing practices in connection with Adderall as the Wall Street Journal published the news in June 2022.
These drugs are also popular with people who don’t have ADHD due to the fact that Adderall and other stimulants may cause a mild high and can also help improve concentration and performance in people who don’t have ADHD. Adderall is illegal to take with no prescription.