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As the nationwide Adderall shortage enters its fifth month, people who rely on medication to help manage attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are finding few, if any, available alternatives. There’s no sign of relief yet, and no easy solution to the problem, pharmacy experts say.
Widespread scarcity has hit Adderall alternatives, too.
As of January, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, which tracks drug availability, reported shortages affecting nearly 40 different doses or formulations of generic Concerta, a long-acting form of methylphenidate, the drug in Ritalin. Takeda Pharmaceuticals, which makes Vyvanse, also known as lisdexamfetamine, its generic, says there’s no shortage of that drug, but according to dozens of pharmacies reached by NBC News, Vyvanse has been on intermittent backorder for months.
Michael Ganio, senior director of pharmacy practice and quality at ASHP said an unexpected rise in demand was more to blame than manufacturing equipment or drug quality issues.
“All of our drug shortage infrastructure, and everything we have in place in this country to mitigate the impact of shortages is based on potential disruptions in supply,” Ganio said. “It’s been very unusual to have a shortage based on increase in demand.”
In recent years, ADHD medication prescriptions have risen more than the drug companies or government agencies predicted. According to the health data company Trilliant Health, Adderall prescriptions for adults rose 15.1% during 2020, double the 7.4% rise seen the year before.