What The Adderall Shortage Can Tell Us About Adult ADHD

Demand for the drug shot up in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns. What The Adderall Shortage Can Tell Us About Adult ADHD Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images

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Thanks to a better understanding of the disorder and improved testing, healthcare providers have been able to more effectively identify and treat ADHD in children and adults in recent years.

But as a result of increased diagnoses (among other factors), the U.S. and other countries have experienced a significant shortage of drugs — like Adderall — used to treat it.

A brief overview of the issue

The shortage of Adderall was first confirmed in October, though at that time experts predicted that it would be a short-lived phenomenon.

About six months later, patients who have prescriptions are still finding it difficult to get their hands on the pills. This has had a significant impact on those who rely on it for various reasons.

Kids with ADHD often have trouble focusing in school while adults who need the medication can struggle at work as well as in maintaining their relationships.

Aside from an increase in prescriptions, Johns Hopkins University of Medicine professor David Goodman identified three main causes of the shortage:

  • Insufficient labor to produce the pills
  • Delays in the manufacturing process
  • Stricter government regulations

Highlighting a bigger problem

Experts say that the demand for Adderall has skyrocketed during the pandemic era, led primarily by adults who say they need the ADHD medication. While many adults can and do benefit from it, doctors can face a significant challenge when determining whether a patient really needs it or plans to abuse the prescription drug.

That issue is further exacerbated by the fact that there’s no real oversight available regarding how the medication is prescribed.

With demand for Adderall and related generic drugs up as much as 10% among certain age groups, Goodman said that many in the medical profession are increasingly asking themselves “whether the demand is legitimate.”

Chris Agee
Chris Agee April 15th, 2023
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