WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Both children and adults are continuing to struggle as a shortage of Adderall stretches into its sixth month.
“It’s been very frustrating, and I don’t know what is really going to change ever,” said Kevin Bell.
Bell has been taking Adderall for nearly 10 years after being diagnosed with ADHD in college. He said he’s experienced shortages in the medication before.
“I have gone through other shortages before, so I know how to ration,” he said. “I had to change pharmacies in order to find a place that’s having fewer supply problems.”
The FDA first confirmed the shortage of Adderall in October of 2022 as demand for the drug exceeded the supply.
In a statement at the time, the agency said, “there is not sufficient supply to continue to meet U.S. market demand.”
It also said the “FDA is in frequent communication with all manufacturers of amphetamine mixed salts, and one of those companies, Teva, is experiencing ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays.”
Adderall — which is the name brand of the drug — and its generic forms are most commonly prescribed to treat ADHD. The medication helps users focus.
“It basically lets me function in the way a lot of normal people would consider themselves to function every day,” said Bell. “There’s a common misconception for people with ADHD that it’s just a question of willpower. There’s no amount of willpower that can be applied in order to correct for it.”
Bell said without the medication, it can be difficult to function properly at work.
He said during the beginning of the shortage, he was in okay shape because he had a decent amount of the medication. However, he has now had to check various pharmacies to search for the medicine.
He’s not alone.
“Outside the hospital, our patients are having to go to five and six different pharmacies to try and find anyone with a one-month supply of medication so they can get their prescription filled,” said Dr. Adelaide Robb, the Division Chief of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Children’s National Hospital.
Robb said the shortage can have big impacts on patients, especially children.
“Missing medication is important. It’s an important aspect of treatment and if it goes on untreated it has impacts on functioning in a child’s life,” she said.
Specifically, she noted the impact this can have in the classroom.
“I think it really matters because succeeding at school is something that allows you to open possibilities to all kinds of futures in your life. If you struggle and you don’t succeed in school, it’s hard to come back from that and it’s hard to be invested in your own future,” she said.
Robb said that FDA officials predicted that stock will return to normal at the end of March or early April.
She’s optimistic that will happen, but if it doesn’t, she said families do have options.
“The first thing to do is check one more pharmacy. If it’s in shortage in both of those, call your doctor back. Say, ‘I can’t get the prescription, could we switch the medication until this is over with?’ And that is oftentimes the fastest resolution to the problem,” she said.