With school starting back up for children across the US, an ongoing shortage of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) medications is causing stress in many American families.1
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first announced a nationwide shortage of Adderall — which is one of the most widely used medications for ADHD —10 months ago. Experts expect the supply issues to possibly worsen in the coming months.2
While some pharmaceutical manufacturers have predicted that the drug shortage will end soon, there is no definitive timeline for when the medication will be readily available again. In the meantime, some parents of children with ADHD have turned to finding alternative pharmacies or trying non-drug treatment alternatives.3
Dr. Warren Ng, president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, said that without medication, children with ADHD may struggle in school, fail their classes, act out, be sent to the principal, or even be held back a grade.4
Adderall is one of more than 300 drugs that are currently in short supply in the US. The list also includes several alternatives for Adderall like methylphenidate, which is also known under the brand names Ritalin and Concerta.2
Data show more and more prescriptions have been written for ADHD medications over the past decade. A recent report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that prescriptions for the medications rose particularly high for young adults during the COVID pandemic.4
Narrative A, as provided by CNBC. Those who need stimulant medications to treat conditions like ADHD should be able to easily access these prescriptions. Being forced to cut off cold turkey or go without could be very harmful for many people — especially young schoolchildren. Pharmaceutical companies need to be more transparent and forward about how much longer these drug shortages will last.
Narrative B, as provided by Salon. Stimulant drugs, like those used to treat ADHD, are often misused, and overprescribing these serious medications is a big concern for parents and regulators. With a current shortage in place, this would be a natural time to reevaluate how these drugs can be prescribed safely and responsibly. This will help ADHD be managed in a more sustainable manner going forward.