Some pharmacies are struggling to fill prescriptions for the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder drug Adderall, following a labor shortage at the largest U.S. drug supplier.
However, the Food and Drug Administration said that based on its tracking of the supply of ADHD medications from all manufacturers, no shortages have been detected overall.
Only one company is reporting “intermittent delays,” FDA spokeswoman Cherie Duvall-Jones said in an email. “Teva Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Adderall tablets, reports expected delays in the next 2-3 months.”
Teva Pharmaceuticals attributed the delay to a labor shortage on its packaging line which it said has been resolved. The company added that it has an “active supply” of brand-name Adderall and its generic version, and while some pharmacies may experience a back order, it should be temporary.
“We expect a full recovery of all inventory and orders in the coming weeks, at which point we don’t expect disruptions at the pharmacy level,” spokeswoman Kelley Dougherty said in a statement. Pharmacy customers have expressed their frustration in numerous social media posts, saying that they have not been able to fill Adderall prescriptions at pharmacies large or small. But large drugstore chains have not reported widespread problems. CVS Pharmacy said its locations “were not experiencing any Adderall supply issues and are able to fill prescriptions as received in most cases.” Walgreens said its “current supply is meeting the needs of our patients right now.”
However, a poll by the National Association of Community Pharmacists, conducted from July 25 to August 5, found that of some 360 independent pharmacies that responded, approximately 64% had difficulty obtaining Adderall.
Some small pharmacies told NBC News that they continue to have problems.
At Roger’s Family Pharmacy in Yankton, South Dakota, owner pharmacist Byron Olson said some formulations of the drug have been harder to come by than others.
“Often, they’re not completely ruled out,” he said of drugmakers, explaining that patients taking 20 mg twice a day, for example, might have to work with their doctors to get alternative pill sizes.
In rare cases, patients might have to temporarily switch to another drug entirely, he added.
“It can be frustrating for patients because they don’t know about the shortage,” Olson said.
Meanwhile, at Killingworth Family Pharmacy in Killingworth, Connecticut, owner pharmacist Keith Lyke said he’s been seeing patients from other pharmacies for the past month who haven’t been able to fill their Adderall prescriptions elsewhere. While he found that the drug was out of stock at some manufacturers, generics from other vendors have been fairly easy to obtain.
“We tell them it’s a different company, so it may look different,” he said.
An explosion a la carte
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity that is severe enough to interfere with school, work, and other aspects of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention DearAccording to data from 2016 to 2019, approximately 10% of children are diagnosed with this disease, with children being more likely to receive a diagnosis.
Adderall and other stimulant drugs are common and effectively way to control ADHD symptoms.
However, Adderall has the potential to be abused if taken incorrectly or without a prescription. Telehealth startups like Cerebral and Done Health, which gained traction during the pandemic and prescribe stimulants, raised questions among pharmacies about whether Adderall was being overprescribed. Former and current employees of those companies. he told The Wall Street Journal who felt pressured to prescribe medications without adequate time to make a diagnosis.
In May, Walmart and CVS announced that stop filling prescriptions for controlled substances from those telehealth companies.
Adderall demand is higher than ever: Prescriptions dispensed in the US rose to 41.4 million last year, up 10.4% from 2020, according to IQVIA, an analytics provider for the drug industry. the life sciences.
But that doesn’t mean all ADHD diagnoses made during the pandemic were illegitimate, said Dr. David W. Goodman, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
“There are a lot of people who presumably have ADHD who have never been diagnosed or treated,” said Goodman, a former board member of the advocacy organization Children and Adults With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
During the pandemic lockdowns, some people’s symptoms may have become more noticeable, Goodman said, “because the routine of the day of going to work and working with co-workers and having an external structure has been removed.”
“So now people have to stay home and structure themselves, which is very difficult for them, and family members at home would realize that this person is consistently inconsistent,” he said.
There’s been a shortage of ADHD stimulants before: FDA reported a shortage from September 2019 to May 2022.
Goodman advised patients taking Adderall to anticipate potential difficulties with their prescription refills and to work with their doctors and pharmacies for alternatives if they run into problems.
“It’s unpredictable. We can be sailing well and then run into a shortage.”
“It’s unpredictable. We can be sailing well and then we run into a shortage,” he said.
He added that in his experience, a worst-case scenario — a patient who can’t get any medicine — doesn’t last long, even during supply shortages.
“Usually it’s a matter of a few days or a week,” he said.