Seven months into Adderall shortage, expert offers advice

Jun 6, 2023, 8:00 PM

FILE - Adderall XR capsules are displayed on Feb. 24, 2023. Drug shortages are growing in the Unite...

FILE - Adderall XR capsules are displayed on Feb. 24, 2023. Drug shortages are growing in the United States, and experts see no clear path to resolving them. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced last fall a shortage of the attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder treatment Adderall due to a manufacturing problem. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

(AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Now seven months into an Adderall shortage, many individuals have been left waiting several months for refills. On Oct. 12, 2022, the FDA announced it would put Adderall on its shortage website. According to the agency, the primary blame was a massive increase in demand for the drug during the pandemic.

Erin Fox, assistant chief pharmacy officer with University of Utah Health joins Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega, hosts of Dave and Dujanovic, to explain where things stand with the shortage and advice to those struggling with it.

Adderall misuse

Fox says there are “glimmers of hope” when it comes to pharmacies getting Adderall. She says a big problem is the misuse of Adderall.

“Part of the struggle with this is, you know, we don’t want people to abuse these products, we don’t want them misused,” Fox tells Dujanovic and Noriega. “And so, there’s this delicate balance between the drug enforcement agencies and the pharmacies to make sure that … people aren’t ordering too much. But at the same time we’ve also had a shortage of just the product itself. And so, all of those things are, are really, are a recipe for disaster for patients, unfortunately.”

While Adderall’s intended use is to help people with ADHD, many people misuse it to assist with things like weight loss, to stay awake or to prepare for final exams.

“I think, you know, that’s, that’s the balance FDA recently warned, uh, patients not to share their medicine or sell it to other people,” Fox says. “You hear stories about younger adults getting pressure from their friends. ‘Hey, you have Adderall. Can I have one? I have a test, I need to stay up tonight,’ … That’s not a good use of Adderall.”

Working around the Adderall shortage

Dujanovic says during a shortage of her prescribed eyedrops, her doctor was able to provide her a “workaround” by prescribing a different medication.

“I know there can be workarounds for some medications, just from my experience,” Dujanovic says. “Is there a workaround for the Adderall shortage if people are still bumping into a problem?”

Fox says there can be workarounds. She suggests, if you can, to stick with one pharmacist. Along with this, she advises to talk with your doctor.

“Maybe you could take, you know, two pills of a smaller dose to make your current dose,” she says. “You might also be able to kind of change a formulation. You might be used to using the long acting. The short acting might end up working for you. You might have to take it more times a day.”

In other cases, Fox says, there are alternative medicines.

“Unfortunately, a lot of this does require that really good communication back and forth with your physician. That can be challenging,” she says. “But I know physicians are also really sensitized to this and trying to work with patients.”

Listen to the full segment.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

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Seven months into Adderall shortage, expert offers advice