Nationwide Adderall Shortage Still Impacting People With ADHD

Reports indicate the shortage might be the result of transparency issues among government agencies and drug manufacturers.

On October 12, 2022, the FDA announced a shortage of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication Adderall. At the time, the agency was in close communication with the drug makers and confirmed that one manufacturer was experiencing intermittent production delays.

However, although other manufacturers continued producing the ADHD drug, the FDA indicated that there is not an adequate supply to meet U.S. consumer demand.

Meanwhile, people with ADHD have been forced to endure the shortage — and that population is growing. According to CNBC, ADHD diagnoses among children increased by 31% between 2010 and 2017. In addition, adult ADHD diagnoses have also increased, with prescriptions for Adderall rising by more than 15% in that age group.

These increases have undoubtedly raised the demand for Adderall, and manufacturer delays have not helped the situation. However, there might be other reasons behind the shortage.

Because Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) limits how much of the drug the manufacturers can produce per year. To do this, the agency estimates the demand for amphetamine — Adderall’s active ingredient — and sets a quota based on that estimated demand.

According to a CNN report, manufacturers claimed that rising demand and active ingredient scarcities are to blame for the shortage.

However, a DEA spokesperson told CNN, "We are aware that the pharmaceutical industry is claiming that there is a quota shortage for the active ingredients in ADHD drugs. Based on DEA’s information – which is provided by drug manufacturers – this is not true."

According to the report, the DEA says the manufacturers didn’t use all the ingredients that were available to them in the last three years.

In addition, an FDA spokesperson told CNN that the FDA "cannot require a pharmaceutical company to make a drug, make more of a drug, or change the distribution of a drug."

The spokesperson also told the news outlet that the supply of Adderall is increasing.

These discrepancies between agencies and a lack of transparency among Adderall manufacturers may have contributed to the ongoing drug shortage, leaving many people with ADHD looking for alternatives.

Alternatives to Adderall

Several alternative ADHD medications are available for those impacted by the Adderall shortage. For example, the FDA’s initial drug shortage announcement mentioned an extended-release version of amphetamine mixed salts as a potential alternative to immediate-release Adderall.

In addition, stimulant medicines like methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, Focalin) and other amphetamines (Dexedrine, Vyvanse) may be possible alternatives.

Non-stimulant medications, such as atomoxetine (Strattera), clonidine (Kapvay), and guanfacine (Intuniv), are also available, but they take longer than other drugs to work.

Other possible alternatives to ADHD medication include melatonin, Omega 3s, elimination diets, acupuncture, yoga, and specialized computer programs that target ADHD symptoms.

Still, people with ADHD looking for alternatives to Adderall should consult their healthcare provider to determine which treatment options might work best for them.


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Elizabeth Haegert Elizabeth Haegert
prefix 13 days ago
It would be nice if someone would include the impact the Adderall shortage is having on people with Narcolepsy. At least the people with ADHD can remain awake, somewhat function, and take care of their children. People with Narcolepsy just sleep!
Suz Suz
prefix 23 days ago
I have been waiting for my prescription since Dec. 19th. I was prescribed Adderall in my 40’s, I’m 62 now. For those of us that truly are non functioning without it, this is devastating. I managed ok for about six weeks. Now my house is upside down, I’m struggling at work. I put all my focus on my job, so the rest of my life is laying in bed. I have ADD, the inactive type. I just can not manage to do anything! I take a small dose.. I don’t abuse it. There are no withdrawals when I don’t have it, except that I’m back to feeling like a worthless piece of non functioning trash. I miss feeling like a normal human being.
Ally Ally
prefix 15 days ago
I soooo feel your pain. I'm 57 and I suffer from ADD and chronic fatigue syndrome. I"m also the primary caregiver for my 80-year-old mom...a role which I assumed back in February of 2020 after moving back home to help care for my dad as he was dying from cancer. After losing my dad, our family home sustained major damage from flooding during hurricane Ian (we're still under construction), and a month later, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. And in the middle of it all, and without any warning, I was forced into cold turkey withdrawal from the one (and the only) medication that I depend on to function on a daily basis. And my life has been hell since mid-December. I've tried Concerta, which had no effect whatsoever, with the exception of anxiety and insomnia. I'm currently taking Ritalin and supplementing with Kratom, which helps for a few hours, but when it wears off, I'm once again walking around in a fog. I can't even find the words to describe the living hell my life has become as a result of this shortage. Where I used to wake up with a positive attitude, feeling like I could take on the huge amount of shit that life has been throwing my way, I now dread every day. I've been trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle with Yoga, swimming, walking, meditation, juicing, supplements, etc. but nothing is working. I too feel like a worthless piece of non-functioning trash, and I too miss feeling like a normal human being.
herb herb
prefix 23 days ago

People are suffering immensely .
Emi Emi
prefix 24 days ago
You actually haven't covered all of it, even the alternatives are not available. I believe this gives false hope to others.