Doctors share advice on dealing with the Adderall shortage

There’s a widespread shortage of some types of the drug, but there are other medications for patients, experts say

Ten milligram tablets of the hyperactivity drug Adderall, made by Shire, is shown in a pharmacy on Jan. 19, 2006. (JB Reed/Bloomberg News)

If you’re having trouble renewing your Adderall prescription, experts say you should work with your health-care provider to shop around at nearby pharmacies or discuss rewriting your prescription to a version of the medication that isn’t in such high demand.

There’s a widespread shortage of certain types of Adderall. The Food and Drug Administration said last week that Teva, one of the largest producers of the medication, is dealing with manufacturing delays, and other drugmakers can’t keep up with the demand.

Adderall is a highly regulated drug that consists of the stimulant amphetamine, which increases the function of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, helping someone to focus their attention and self-regulate. Six million children in the United States have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a survey published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 62 percent of those children are on medication for ADHD.

The Washington Post spoke with physicians who treat children and adults with ADHD and asked for advice on dealing with the shortage. Some experts say there’s a range of alternative treatments available for patients.

“There are a number of other amphetamine products that you can convert people to safely, and they’re equally effective,” said Timothy Wilens, an ADHD expert and chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. “So, there is a solution to it.”

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