The Rx Crisis: The Impact of Ongoing ADHD Medication Shortages

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) originally announced a shortage of immediate-release formulation of amphetamine mixed salts (Adderall) on October 12, 2022.1 According to the National Community Pharmacists Association, 97% of independent pharmacy owners reported shortages of Adderall in early 2023.2 Other generic amphetamine mixed salts are predicted to be in shortage until the end of August 2023, September 2023, and December 2023 (Table).3 Additionally, some methylphenidate extended-release tablets were discontinued in January 2023, whereas others are in shortage due to an active ingredient issue.4 

This may cause increased concern among young patients with ADHD and their families as the school year starts up, especially amid what is being called the “crisis of our time” in terms of children’s mental health.5

Caregiver Impact

The impact is not just for the patient, with ripple effects being felt by families. In addition to increased caregiver burden, there are concerns for classmates of children who are not receiving medication.

For instance, after her twin 7-year-old daughters with severe ADHD had to go without their medication, a mother reported they were “hitting teachers, throwing dirt, and destroying the classroom.” She added it caused “hell” in her family.12

Another mother in Brooklyn, New York, claimed to call more than 50 pharmacies trying to find ADHD medication for her 17-year-old son. She says she felt “like a drug addict” after she began to suspect pharmacists were looking down on her when she called every month.13

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