Shortage of ADHD Drug Adderall Expected to Continue for Months
Families dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are expected to continue facing shortages of the drug Adderall for months. This has caused problems for parents like Jackie Meader from San Diego, whose 16-year-old son’s prescription ran out about a month ago. The sudden halt to Adderall treatment can cause physical symptoms like lethargy and fatigue, but some kids might become jittery. It also might cause the child to feel hungry and eat more, since stimulants tend to decrease appetite. But mainly, kids who are off their Adderall are likely to have their ADHD symptoms return.
Causes of the Shortage
The FDA first declared a shortage of the immediate-release formulation of Adderall on Oct. 12. One of the main manufacturers of Adderall, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, is experiencing ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays due to labor shortages. However, the shortages are mainly being caused by demand outstripping supply. Stimulant prescriptions for ADHD more than doubled between 2006 and 2016, alongside dramatic increases in ADHD diagnoses.
Alternative Drugs Available
Other companies are continuing to churn out ADHD medications, but demand for Adderall and other ADHD drugs has been surging for years. There are alternative drugs available to treat ADHD like Ritalin and Concerta, and parents should talk with their doctor about those options if Adderall isn’t available. Parents also would do well to let their teacher know if the kid is suffering a return of ADHD symptoms.
Parents who haven’t been affected by the Adderall shortage should have contingency plans with their family doctor. It’s important for parents to keep an open dialogue with their physicians so that if something like this does happen, they can manage it best. Each patient is different, and their circumstances are different. So it’s important for folks to plan with their doctors about if there’s a shortage, what are we going to do to manage this best — and to include the young person in that planning.