What You Need To Know About the Adderall Shortage

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On Oct.12, the FDA confirmed there is an Adderall shortage, with expected recovery time for some manufacturers still months away in some cases.

Adderall – also referred to as amphetamine mixed salts – is a medication used to manage the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (a chronic sleep disorder).

The FDA states the organization is “in frequent communication with all manufacturers of amphetamine mixed salts, and one of those companies, Teva, is experiencing ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays.”

The statement continues, “Other manufacturers continue to produce amphetamine mixed salts, but there is not sufficient supply to continue to meet U.S. market demand through those producers.”

Why Is There An Adderall Shortage?

The current shortage has not come as a shock to many experts – nor is it the first time there’s been an Adderall shortage.

From September 2019 to this May, the FDA had previously reported a short supply of Adderall. The reasons for the recent shortage are complicated, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the explosion of telehealth services – making it easier for patients to receive an ADHD diagnosis and get a prescription. The New York Times also cites the “teenage mental health crisis” that emerged during the pandemic. In recent years, the number of Adderall and generic prescriptions jumped 16 percent from 35.5 million prescriptions in 2019 to 41.2 million last year, per the Times.

It’s also important to remember that Adderall, and its generic equivalents, are highly regulated substances in the United States, making it difficult for pharmacies to shift to other suppliers amidst supply issues.

A survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association found that from July 25 through Aug. 5 of this year, almost two-thirds of the 360 independent pharmacies surveyed were having trouble stocking Adderall.

This shortage is specifically affecting the immediate release formulation, and the FDA estimates that Teva Pharmaceuticals will rebound its supply of 10 mg dosages of Adderall this month, but other dosages (particularly for generic brands) are expected to remain on backorder through November or December.

What Can Patients Do About the Adderall Shortage?

Right now, the FDA recommends patients work with their doctors and healthcare providers to go over their treatment options. Alternative treatment can include switching to an extended-release version of amphetamine mixed salts.

In the meantime, manufacturers are working to address supply issues.

“We will continue to monitor supply and assist manufacturers with anything needed to resolve the shortage and will update our website with new supply information as it becomes available,” says the FDA.

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