There've been rumblings for months at some US pharmacies on difficulties obtaining Adderall. Now, official word from the Food and Drug Administration: There's a US shortage of the medication used to treat ADHD, reports NBC News. In a Wednesday release, the FDA announced the dearth of the drug, also known as amphetamine mixed salts, and noted that Teva Pharmaceuticals, the nation's largest Adderall maker, "is experiencing ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays." Although other manufacturers are doing their best to keep churning out the medication, "there is not sufficient supply to continue to meet US market demand through those producers," the FDA noted. The New York Times reports that manufacturers of generic versions of the drug, as well as those who make alternatives to it, have also been having trouble consistently meeting demand.
Teva had first reported delays on getting the drug to pharmacies in August, though it blamed the issue on a labor shortage and said it had since remedied the situation. A Teva spokesperson insists that although people may still have an issue getting their hands on the drug due to "timing and demand," the issue is only "temporary," per NBC. Complicating matters for patients is that, because the drug is a controlled substance regulated by the DEA, they have to wait until they're almost out of it before they can even request a refill. Plus, because of supply issues and the fact that pharmacies are limited in how much of a controlled substance they can dole out, they're having to turn away overflow customers who are going from pharmacy to pharmacy to try to fill their prescriptions.
Kids and teens who use the drug are being hit especially hard by the shortage, which some experts say has been exacerbated by telehealth companies that sprung up during the pandemic and started rapidly prescribing Adderall. "I have high school students that are trying to take their SATs and do their applications for college, and they can't focus," Dr. Gabrielle Shapiro, a psychiatrist and professor at New York's Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells NBC. "They can't get them done." The FDA is recommending that patients needing Adderall work with their health care professionals to come up with a plan, including trying to acquire "alternative therapies" such as the extended-release version of amphetamine mixed salts. (Read more Adderall stories.)