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Lack of ADHD Medication: What Parents Need to Know

The FDA announced a shortage of the amphetamine mixed salt, commonly known as the Adderall shortage, in October 2022.

Shortages of ADHD medications continue until early 2023. According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), there are current shortages of the same immediate release tablet and extended release capsule Adderall formulation.

In addition, the ASHP posts a bulletin about the current shortage of methylphenidate hydrochloride extended release, known by the name brands Ritalin or Concerta, on January 10.

Here’s what you need to know about the current shortage of ADHD medications.

Psst… Here’s what parents need to know about Seasonal Affective Disorder in children this winter.

What Causes Deficiencies?

Today’s shortages can be due to many reasons.

Robert Keder, developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, says the issue is likely “multifactorial.”

The two main categories of stimulants prescribed for ADHD, amphetamines (such as Adderall) and methylphenidate (such as Ritalin), are controlled substances. This means that they are monitored for their use at different levels, including the prescription level and the pharmacy level.

“So the question is at what point does the bottleneck occur?” said Keder.

According to FDA statement with the Adderall shortage starting in October, the drug manufacturer Teva experienced production delays. While other manufacturers continue to produce amphetamine mixed salts, there is not enough supply to meet market demand.

Increased demand may also play a role in the current shortage. Data from Trilliant Health found that there was a noticeable increase in the number of prescriptions for Adderall between 2020 and 2021.

While some manufacturers cannot estimate a release date for backorders at this time, manufacturers including Rhodes, Sandoz, Sun and Teva have estimated release dates for extended-release capsules earlier this year. . For immediate-release tablets, Teva estimates release dates as early as this month.

How Does It Affect Parents and Children with ADHD?

Because of the shortage, patients may struggle to fill their prescriptions. Keder says he has had many patients report difficulties getting their ADHD medication prescriptions at their local pharmacies.

Not having access to these medications can lead to adverse side effects, especially for children who need ADHD medications.

Keder says he views ADHD medications as accessibility tools, “like your executive function wheelchair.”

“It helps make things easier​​​​to focus or hit the brakes or control impulses,” Keder said. “And the goal is that we try to help kids use that accessibility tool to learn well and get through the day without any major issues.”

Discontinuing these drugs means that patients will lose the accessibility tool, which will affect their daily life, Keder said.

What Should Parents Do?

There are steps parents can take to manage ADHD medications during downtime.

One thing Keder recommends is calling for a refill on ADHD medications less than a week before you run out. This will provide a buffer in cases where your pharmacy is out of stock and unable to fill the prescription immediately.

If you find out your pharmacy doesn’t have your medication in stock, Keder says parents can “do a little detective work” to find another nearby pharmacy that has the right one. medicine in stock. Then, you can call your doctor and ask them to change the prescription to the in-stock pharmacy.

Keder says navigating this drug shortage is more about thinking ahead.

“It’s about planning,” Keder said. “A lot of it is how we respond and plan ahead in response to the emergency that’s happening.”

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