You might have recently tried to renew your Adderall prescription but to no avail. The go-to amphetamine-based stimulant is in short supply all over the country. Manufacturers, suppliers, and pharmacies knew supplies were low as of April 2022.
Still, it wasn’t until the summer of 2022 that patients began to feel the effects of short supply. The FDA confirmed an official Adderall/Adderall IR shortage on October 12th, 2022, and announced that they were monitoring the situation and assisting manufacturers.
As it turns out, several factors came together to create the perfect conditions for this present Adderall shortage.
In this post, Klarity will explore those factors to shed some light on the problem. Additionally, we will offer some suggestions for coping with the challenges this shortage presents—including Adderall alternatives that can keep your ADHD symptoms from negatively impacting your day-to-day functioning during the shortage.
Klarity connects everyday people with ADHD-trained medical providers who can diagnose and prescribe medication online—including Adderall alternatives. We’ve already helped thousands of Americans access fast and affordable online ADHD treatments, and now we’re ready to help you.
Find a provider today to find an ADHD alternative that works for you during the Adderall shortage.
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Causes of the Adderall Shortage
Three main factors contribute to the current Adderall shortage. We’ll look at all three in detail to paint a clear picture.
- Shortage of Labor and Manufacturing Disruptions
- Increased Demand for Adderall
- Quotas and Caps on the Amount of Adderall Facilities Can Produce (due to DEA regulations)
1. Labor Shortage and Manufacturing Disruptions
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. manufactures the largest percentage of Adderall in the US, being responsible for producing 30% of the drug here in the States. Teva is one of nine total manufacturers in the US, and all of these manufacturers are limited by DEA regulations (Adderall is a schedule II controlled substance).
So, when the country’s largest manufacturer of Adderall experiences labor shortages and manufacturing disruptions, the effects ripple downstream and amount to unfilled prescriptions and empty medicine bins at pharmacies nationwide.
However, Teva is not the only Adderall manufacturer experiencing shortages. According to a Bloomberg report, other major manufacturers reported shortages, including Amneal Pharmaceuticals Inc., Rhodes Pharmaceuticals LP, and Novartis AG.
But, a reduced supply is only one part of this puzzle. There is also an increased demand for the substance.
2. Increased Demand For Adderall
ADHD diagnoses and ADHD medication prescriptions increased dramatically over the pandemic. ADDitude, a magazine, website, and online community dedicated to coping with ADHD, attributed this spike in diagnoses and prescriptions to the many emerging stressors of the pandemic and subsequent shutdowns.
More specifically, ADDitude suggests the following reasons for the increase:
- Working adults were forced to address underlying problems with motivation, memory, organization, and concentration while working from home. Without the structure and framework of the physical workplace, certain pre-existing ADHD symptoms were revealed or made worse by the new circumstances.
- Spending much more time at home with family allowed adults to observe their children, their spouses, and themselves in ways that weren’t possible before due to the distractions of daily life.
Additionally, the DEA temporarily loosened restrictions on prescribing controlled substances online. This was in response to the massive shutdowns, which prevented people from visiting a doctor in person. This temporary authorization improved access to various medications for millions of Americans restricted from visiting doctors in person due to the lockdowns.
All three of these processes led to an increased demand for ADHD medication—a demand that manufacturers can’t currently keep up with due to certain restrictions on their ability to produce Adderall.
Dependency warning: It is important to note that Adderall is a Schedule II stimulant medication with potential for physical and psychological dependence. It’s important to only use Adderall as directed. Abrupt discontinuation or improper use of Adderall or any other medication can have adverse effects on an individual’s health.
Any changes in medication should be discussed with a qualified healthcare professional, who can provide guidance and closely monitor the transition process.
3. Quotas and Caps on the Amount of Adderall Facilities Can Produce (due to DEA regulations)
Schedule II controlled substances have medicinal value but still pose a high risk of abuse. As part of its regulatory processes, the DEA determines the total amount of each drug that can be manufactured for the following year.
Additionally, it releases an aggregate production quota or APQ that determines how much of the manufactured drug can be allocated toward medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs.
As of this publishing date, the DEA doesn’t plan to increase the amount of Adderall that can be legally manufactured next year, despite the common knowledge that there were supply issues as early as the summer of 2022.
With a hampered supply and an increased demand, the shortage could last into next year.
Adderall Shortage FAQs
When there are national situations like this, the internet tends to respond with an abundance of information on the topic—and not all of it is good information. Here are some questions we’ve recently received regarding the 2022 Adderall shortage.
What Type of Adderall is Experiencing a Shortage?
Both immediate-release (IR) and extended-release (ER/XR) Adderall and its generic form have been affected by this shortage. Other central nervous system (CNS) stimulants have not been affected by this shortage.
Is the Adderall Shortage A Big Problem?
Untreated ADHD leads to a whole host of problems for people. Apart from feeling unmotivated, easily distracted, and disorganized, people with untreated ADHD are more likely to develop comorbid anxiety and depression.
If people can’t fill their Adderall prescriptions, they will likely develop various ADHD symptoms again. They might find impulsive behaviors harder to control and may make riskier decisions. The shortage is an issue for people who are used to taking Adderall for ADHD symptoms.
Though other CNS stimulants are available, comparing those alternatives with Adderall is not one-to-one. As a result, finding the right dosage for the new medication takes time and patience—a convenience many working Americans don’t have.
How Long Will This Adderall Shortage Last?
The FDA predicts that the Adderall shortage could last as long as March 2023. Still, different doses and forms might become available in the interim. The issue is that various manufacturing companies produce different forms and doses according to the quotas and caps outlined by the DEA.
Certain forms and doses will be locally available in different regions over the next few months, but the supply is still limited nationwide.
Is Adderall Still Being Prescribed?
Yes, Adderall is still being prescribed. However, the challenge lies in filling prescriptions due to the Adderall shortage. One pharmacy may have run out, while another across town has some left.
How Can I Manage ADHD Without Adderall?
You can try various medication alternatives and coping strategies to help relieve your ADHD symptoms. Here are some questions you should consider asking your medical provider about Adderall alternatives:
Are There Stimulant Alternatives to Adderall For ADHD?
Yes, there are other CNS stimulants prescribed for ADHD. These include Vyvanse, Concerta, Ritalin, Focalin, and others. These medications are all stimulants but have different side effects and drug warnings.
Be sure to talk with your medical provider about the risks of switching medications.
Dependency warning: Like Adderall, the CNS stimulants listed above are classified as Schedule II drugs. It is important to note that these medications also have the potential for dependency and should be used under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional. Those with a history of drug abuse should exercise caution when taking one of these stimulants, or opt for a non-stimulant medication.
Suddenly stopping these medications can cause adverse withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, any changes in medication should be discussed with a medical provider to ensure proper management of ADHD symptoms and minimize potential risks.
Are There Non-Stimulant Alternatives For ADHD?
Yes, there are non-stimulant alternatives to ADHD that you can ask your medical provider about. Some of these are antidepressants that elevate levels of norepinephrine in the brain. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter responsible for focus, concentration, attention, memory, and learning.
- Wellbutrin (NDRI)
- Strattera (SNRI)
Other cognition-enhancing medications include:
Warnings and contraindications: When considering non-stimulant alternatives for ADHD, such as Wellbutrin (NDRI) or Strattera (SNRI), it is important to be aware of potential risks and considerations. These medications can have varying side effects, including gastrointestinal issues, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, or mood changes.
Additionally, they may interact with other medications or substances, which can lead to adverse effects or reduced effectiveness. Individual responses to non-stimulant medications can vary, and finding the most suitable medication and dosage may require monitoring and adjustments over time. It is crucial to discuss these risks and considerations with a healthcare provider to make informed decisions about treatment options and ensure personalized care.
Serotonin syndrome warning: These medications may also cause a rare but serious condition called serotonin syndrome, which occurs when there’s too much serotonin in the body. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome may include agitation, hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, fever, sweating, shivering, trembling, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
To minimize the risk of serotonin syndrome, it is crucial to inform your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, or substances you are currently taking, as certain combinations can increase the likelihood of developing this condition. If you experience any unusual or severe symptoms while taking non-stimulant medications, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
Summary of Why There’s an Adderall Shortage
To sum up, three main factors are responsible for the current Adderall shortage in 2022:
- Shortage of labor and manufacturing disruptions limiting the supply of available Adderall
- Increased demand for Adderall due to increased diagnoses and prescriptions over the pandemic
- Quotas and caps on the amount of Adderall facilities can produce (due to DEA regulations)
These three factors are the main contributors to the current Adderall shortage. The decreased supply due to labor shortages and manufacturing hiccups is butting up against increased demand for ADHD treatments.
Additionally, the current regulatory framework doesn’t allow manufacturers to effectively increase production to meet the new demand due to Adderall’s designation as a schedule II controlled substance.
If You’ve Been Affected by the Adderall Shortage, Klarity Can Help
There are various stimulant and non-stimulant alternatives to Adderall that are FDA approved to treat ADHD symptoms. If you are having difficulty filling your Adderall prescription and are experiencing a resurgence of your ADHD symptoms, then consider trying a different medication.
Klarity makes online telemedicine easy—within 48 hours, you can talk to an ADHD-trained specialist who can diagnose and prescribe medication online. Schedule an appointment on Klarity today to learn which Adderall alternative is right for you.
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