Why the ADHD Medication Shortage is Happening & What to Do if You Can't Get Your Meds

Why the ADHD Medication Shortage is Happening & What to Do if You Can't Get Your Meds

"While medication works for many people, it is not the only option when addressing ADHD symptoms."

ADHD Medication Shortage

In the last decade, there has been a consistent increase in people being diagnosed with ADHD every year, leading to a rising demand for prescription drugs.1 This rising demand paired with supply chain disruptions has resulted in a widespread ADHD medication shortage

Read on to find out why the shortage is still happening, how it may affect telehealth sites, and how to get your ADHD meds.

What Fueled the ADHD Medication Shortage?

The ADHD medication shortage was said to be fueled by “a perfect storm” of contributing factors.2 These included: 

  • Increased demand: In March 2023, the CDC reported an unprecedented spike in stimulant prescriptions between 2020 and 2021, with the greatest increases seen in women in their 20s and 30s3
  • Telehealth sites: During the COVID-19 pandemic, many patients turned to telehealth sites to get ADHD medications, and these prescriptions jumped
  • Supply chain issues: Supply chain issues have risen dramatically over the past several years, with prescription drug shortages impacting the healthcare system on multiple levels; the FDA announced an Adderall® shortage in October 2022, followed by shortages in other popular ADHD drugs like Ritalin® and Concerta®4 
  • Increased awareness: Increased awareness and less stigma around ADHD and mental health issues may have also contributed to the shortage 

Why is the Shortage Still Happening?

Though the COVID-19 lockdowns have subsided, and their effect on supply chains has largely been reduced, the shortage of ADHD meds persists. Why?

Beyond the surge in demand, there have also been manufacturing slowdowns which were partly tied to labor shortages. This was the case with Teva, the manufacturers of Adderall.5 And DEA regulations have become increasingly tighter; to limit abuse, the DEA started setting certain manufacturing quotas for stimulant meds.6

The new school year has also exacerbated the shortage. As millions of children and teens return to school, they are also likely to resume medication regimens they may have paused during summer vacation. This has led many patients and parents to call pharmacies many miles from home to fill their prescriptions in time for the new school year, only to come up short.7

Safely reduce anxiety, impulsivity and lack of focus in children, teens and adults.

Virtual Prescriptions: Will Easier Access be Halted?

Telemedicine regulations are evolving, and their future is uncertain. Prior to the pandemic, an in-person visit to a healthcare provider was mandatory for the prescription of controlled substances during telehealth consultations. However, during the public health emergency, these regulations were relaxed, allowing for the remote prescription of medications like Adderall and similar drugs without the prerequisite of an initial in-person appointment.

Now that the worst of the pandemic is over, the DEA may shift back to earlier requirements. This would once again require doctors to see patients in person before they can prescribe certain prescription medications.8

What to Do if You Still Can’t Get Your Meds

If you or your child are struggling to obtain ADHD medications, you may want to take the following actions:

  • Ask your doctor about suitable alternatives: Knowing your unique needs, your doctor may be able to point you to a suitable alternative medication, even if just temporarily until your current medication is available. You can also ask about alternative doses of your current medication.
  • Consider a non-prescription medication: There are a number of OTC medications and supplements designed to reduce common symptoms of ADHD. These medications should not be confused with counterfeit ADHD medications, which should always be avoided. Non-prescription Brillia is one option to consider. The homeopathic medication is clinically proven to reduce symptoms associated with ADHD such as hyperactivity, inattention, restlessness, and impulsivity. Unlike prescription ADHD meds, Brillia is free from harsh, synthetic chemicals and harmful side effects. Its active ingredient consists of antibodies to the brain-specific S100B protein, a neurotrophic protein that is secreted in times of stress.9 By modifying this protein’s activity, the levels of monoamines (dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) in different parts of the brain normalize to promote focus, clarity, and calmness. These are the same neurotransmitters targeted by prescription ADHD drugs and SSRIs, but Brillia achieves this balancing effect without causing drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, upset stomach, or masking the personality. Find out more about how Brillia works.
  • Explore non-medicinal strategies to control symptoms (with your doctor’s approval): While medication works for many people, it is not the only option when addressing ADHD symptoms. In many cases, making certain lifestyle adjustments can be just as effective as taking medication. This includes talking to a therapist, following a healthier diet, getting enough sleep, controlling your screen time, and practicing mindfulness techniques. Brillia offers a detailed plan to reduce symptoms of ADHD and anxiety through behavioral strategies in our holistic 5 Pillars. These science-backed strategies enable you to establish a foundation of support for long-term change while maximizing the effectiveness of Brillia’s active ingredient. 

Whatever you decide to do, it’s important that you do not resort to purchasing counterfeit ADHD medications online. These products doesn’t always contain the right ingredients, and they may even contain harmful substances like fentanyl

What Will be Done to Resolve the Shortage?

It’s too early to know when the ADHD medication shortage will end. Some members of Congress have called for action by the DEA and FDA, but their plans have not been entirely disclosed. Until then, patients will have to strategize with their doctors, seek alternative solutions, and wait. Explore more resources on how to manage ADHD without prescription medication at the Brillia(nce) Resource Center.

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References: 1https://www.health.com/why-are-more-people-getting-diagnosed-with-adhd-7112137, 2https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/a-perfect-storm-led-to-an-adhd-medication-shortage-heres-why, 3https://theconversation.com/more-adults-than-ever-have-been-seeking-adhd-medications-an-adhd-expert-explains-what-could-be-driving-the-trend-206052, 4https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/anticipating-drug-shortages-during-supply-chain-disruptions-implications-for-children-with-adhd, 5https://www.cnbc.com/2023/08/26/adhd-drug-market-back-to-school-supply-strain.html, 6https://www.everydayhealth.com/adhd/the-adderall-shortage-why-its-still-happening-and-what-to-do/, 7https://www.axios.com/2023/03/07/opioid-crackdown, 8https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9256955/, 9https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ohio-state-warns-fake-adderall-pills-student-dies-two-sent-hospital-rcna27613
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