MANKATO — Patients who are on Adderall are having a tough time getting their medication.
The Food and Drug Administration first announced a shortage of the drug in October 2022. The shortage still presents a problem for people locally and nationally, sources say.
“I prescribe it frequently,” said Mankato Clinic psychiatrist Sreelatha Spieker. “I get a call saying, ‘Hey, we can’t find it.’ Or sometimes patients’ parents are calling different pharmacies, and saying ‘This pharmacy has it, please resend my prescription.’ Or they can’t find it anywhere and we have to switch medications. It’s important for them to take it so we end up switching.”
Adderall is most commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It’s prevalent enough where Spieker says she’s treating it on “a daily basis.”
Unmedicated ADHD affects school performance for her child and adolescent patients, she said, as they struggle to focus and find it hard to control impulses which can affect their social and academic functioning. Sometimes Spieker said she finds that a patient’s insurance won’t cover the prescription, and this obstacle presents another challenge.
“I hope the situation gets better, because it’s been a pretty difficult situation when ADHD is not treated optimally,” Spieker said.
The FDA’s website lists eight manufacturers that have reported Adderall shortages to the agency, according to news reports. The reason behind the shortage of some versions of the drug is because of the increase in demand and the lack of an active ingredient to make the drug.
“Yes, there’s a shortage,” said Melanie Moore, pharmacist with Health Services Pharmacy at Minnesota State University. ”But we’re going to do everything for the patient so they can get the medication they need. We’re either working with their insurance plan or calling around to other pharmacies to get their medication. Ultimately, we’re putting the patient first. We want to make sure they’re getting what they need. That’s the most important.”
“A lot of patients are having to switch medications or go without and see if they’re able to do that,” said Audra Poggi, pharmacist at Thrifty White Pharmacy in Mankato. “And we’re trying to recommend other medications they can switch to if their doctors are OK with it.”
As for how long the Adderall shortage is expected to last, Poggi said she’s heard that the problem might be resolved at the end of March. “Some are saying that,” she said.
Moore said the issue is unique in that the shortage has lasted so long and “stretches across all manufacturers.” In the past with other medication shortages, one manufacturer might run low but another manufacturer could provide the medication, she said.