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Adderall shortage continues, taking a toll on people who need the medication

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By: Larissa Scott Posted at 6:52 AM, Jan 12, 2023 and last updated 6:52 AM, Jan 12, 2023

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY — “I went to go refill my prescription the first week of November, and it wasn’t there,” said ADHD patient Suzanne Reardon-Mulhall

That’s been the experience for many people trying to get their Adderall prescriptions filled.

“Frustration is the first word that comes to mind,” said Jacqueline Meader, who’s been trying to get Adderall refilled for herself and her son.

The Food and Drug Administration confirmed a nationwide Adderall shortage back in October, but the problem persists.

The FDA cites manufacturing delays at one of the main Adderall manufacturers.

“There is a lower supply because the manufacturer is actually having difficulty manufacturing it a lot due to labor shortages,” said Dr. David Berger, certified pediatrician at Wholistic Pediatrics and Family Care.

While other companies continue to produce the medication, it’s not a sufficient supply to meet demand.

“Without this medication, my train of thought will derail,” said Reardon-Mulhall.

The medication is most commonly used to treat patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD.

The lack of medication has left them scrambling.

“Adderall is really truly the medication that makes me do the things I need to do. Some people joke that coffee is their thing, they can’t do anything without coffee. I can’t function without Adderall,” said Reardon-Mulhall.

“There are definitely people who can’t function if they’re not on their proper medication,” said Berger.

Supplies are tight, and pharmacies are back-ordered, meaning many can’t even accept new patients to fill the medication even if they do have it.

“It’s very challenging for somebody who struggles with their focus and their attention when you can’t get a medication, and then you get roadblocks,” said Reardon-Mulhall.

To help, some doctors have been recommending patients ration their medication by skipping a few days if possible.

“So you can have a little bit of a backlog, and I did that. I was skipping it on Saturdays and Sundays, which means I don’t get stuff done at home on the weekends because I need the Adderall to do things,” said Reardon-Mulhall.

In the meantime, experts suggest talking to your doctor about alternative drugs you can take.

“One would potentially be switching to a different stimulant medication. There are also non-stimulant medications that are available,” said Berger.

He said some more natural remedies may help as well.

“Having a healthy diet. Is the patient sleeping well? Is the patient moving around a lot or getting enough sleep? Maybe they have sleep apnea,” said Berger.

Overall, people are hoping things get back to normal soon.

“There’s a stigma to taking Adderall, to taking any of these stimulant-based medications. But, as an adult who was diagnosed as an adult, if I had had this medication when I was a kid, the path of my life would’ve been completely different,” said Reardon-Mulhall.

Experts said supply should start to improve in the next month or two.