The anticipation of a new school year often brings a mix of excitement and preparation for parents. However, for those raising children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), this year presents an unexpected hurdle: a shortage of ADHD medications. As parents gear up for the challenges ahead, it’s crucial to be equipped with practical strategies that can help your child succeed despite the medication scarcity.
Understanding the Shortage
For nine months, patients have had difficulty finding and filling prescriptions for Adderall. While demand for prescription stimulants is surging, a shortage of the drugs persists, so federal officials have stepped in and asked drug companies to ramp up production of the medications. This has left millions who rely on these drugs with uncertainty.
Officials from both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made the joint request.
“The FDA and DEA do not manufacture drugs and cannot require a pharmaceutical company to make a drug, make more of a drug or change the distribution of a drug,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf and Drug Enforcement Administration leader Anne Milgram wrote in a letter. “That said, we are working closely with numerous manufacturers, agencies and others in the supply chain to understand, prevent and reduce the impact of these shortages.”
The agencies are also asking prescribers to carefully monitor their prescribing practices.
“The lack of availability of certain medications in recent months has been understandably frustrating for patients and their families,” Califf and Milgram wrote in their letter.
Why the shortage?
Supply chain disruptions, increased demand, and production challenges have all contributed to the current predicament.
The FDA first announced a shortage of Adderall last October; that medication is commonly used for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The DEA limits the amount of stimulants that can be produced, but manufacturers haven’t been reaching that upper limit, the joint letter noted. A 2022 analysis found they were 30% short of the quota.
The agency is asking manufacturers to relinquish any quota they can’t meet so the DEA can redistribute it, while it is “committed to reviewing and improving” the quota process.
The letter also highlights the “widespread misuse” of prescription stimulants and calls for accelerated efforts to