700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Got ADHD Medication? What Parents Need to Know About the Shortage

Mar 20, 2023
blog adderall shortage

After already having experienced infant formula, children’s pain reliever, antibiotics, and flu medication shortages, pediatric care providers and families are now struggling with the challenge of shortages of medications prescribed for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

What is responsible for this latest shortage?

According to many experts the crisis is the result of a combination of factors, decreased supply and increased demand that began at the same time as the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The manufacturing of generic ADHD medications has been delayed by many pharmaceutical companies citing supply chain issues and inability to keep an adequate inventory to supply to pharmacies.

Though recent reports anticipate the shortages to continue through March of this year, that is likely an optimistic prediction and we can expect this lack of supply to continue longer.

Tight prescribing regulations with most ADHD treatment options under the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Schedule II controlled substance prescribing requirements also contribute to the challenge of getting prescriptions filled.

What should patient families do?

Parents should be especially proactive right now:

  • As always, review any concerns with your prescribing medical provider and your pharmacy.
  • Reach out to the pharmacy to find out if your child's prescription will be able to be filled. With tight DEA prescribing regulations, it can be difficult for parents to get the information they need when they call their pharmacy. Pharmacies may be reluctant to provide information about supply to non-medical providers because these substances are prone to abuse.
  • Communicate with your medical provider via the patient portal or calls to the office.
  • Be aware the supply of these medications is volatile, and a pharmacy's inventory can change within the same day.

Alternative therapy such as a brand name alternative and other medication category options can also be explored to counter a specific medication shortage. Keep in mind that changing to alternative therapies can lead these options to show on the shortage list.

Medical providers, their teams, and pharmacists are all working with families to navigate the storm of ADHD medication shortages.

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Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional
Mark Winerman, MD
Primary Care

Mark A. Winerman, MD is a part of the Primary Care Pediatrics physician team at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.