Adderall shortage causes some to look to alternate treatments

Nov 22, 2022, 4:17 PM
Photo from Flickr

The U.S. is facing a shortage of Adderall, a drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), due to the ongoing labor shortage.

The Israeli-based company Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries produces about a third of the country’s Adderall and is experiencing “packaging capacity constraints” due to supply chain disruptions and labor issues.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced there was officially a shortage of Adderall on Oct. 12.

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“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,” the FDA said in a statement.

The FDA has previously reported a national shortage of ADHD medications that lasted from September 2019 through May 2022.

This shortage can cause issues for people using the medication, according to Maggie Sibley, Ph.D., a UW Medicine professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. This is an especially big problem for those who rely on the medication to go about their daily lives.

“I think where a lot of the struggle comes from though, is that a lot of times when people are used to taking their medication, and then they stopped taking it, they feel worse than when they did before they took it because their body is kind of adapted to that medication,” Sibley said. “There’s some evidence suggesting there can be certain withdrawal effects for certain people.”

But that doesn’t mean people with ADHD are out of options. Sibley said they can try different medications — as well as behavioral coping skills.

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“The first thing they should do is talk to their doctor. Because ADHD is kind of a personalized care model. There are a lot of options out there, but what works for you depends on several factors about you, about your biology, about your lifestyle. And this is a short-term problem,” Sibley said. “And so, you know, it may not make sense to make a massive change to your treatment regimen we’ve been on for years to get you through the next couple of months. We think medication is an important part of the toolbox for people with ADHD. But we also want them to make sure that they’re strengthening their personal skills to cope and manage their symptoms as well.”

The shortage is expected to last into next year.

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Adderall shortage causes some to look to alternate treatments