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Shortage of Drugs for ADD/ADHD

Jan 3 2012 | Comments 5


I was in CVS the other day waiting to fill my prescription for Dexedrine, when I overheard the guy in front of me being told they were out of Adderall. The pharmacy tech suggested he go to another store, but the guy said he’d been to every place in the city and couldn’t get Adderall anywhere. Fortunately, CVS did have Dexedrine, but the fact that there is a shortage of drugs for attentional issues is completely appalling and unacceptable in a supposedly first-world healthcare system.

The problem is that the Drug Enforcement Administration only allows a certain amount of Ritalin and Adderall to be produced because of the abuse potential, particularly by college kids who take the stuff like candy to stay up at night studying. The FDA, which monitors supply of the meds, is particularly distressed by the shortages and has tried to get the DEA to change its quotas. But the DEA is claiming there’s no problem, and that patients who encounter a shortage can just switch meds.

Ooh boy. I think we all know how that goes. Yeah, sure, just switch from Adderall to Ritalin–that’ll work. I remember the only time I tried Ritalin, my tongue swelled up and I ended up flat on my back in a CD store, having passed out with some weird allergic reaction. Adderall, however, was benign in terms of side effects for me. The DEA seems to be oblivious to the fact that children (who are the majority consumers of these drugs) can’t just switch around.

While there are more branded meds in supply, not everyone can afford them. This means people go without treatment, another devastating problem for kids (and for adults too, of course).

The article detailing all of this is by Gardinar Harris in the New York Times and can be found HERE.

liz | 8:39 AM | ADD/ADHD, BIG PHARMA, addiction, meds, adderall shortage, adhd drug shortage, gardinar harris, ritalin shortage

Joe Says:

It was fascinating to read that “How each manufacturer divides its quota among its own A.D.H.D. medicines — preparing some as high-priced brands and others as cheaper generics — is left up to the company.” Could the the D.E.A. not foresee how manufacturers would allocate their quotas and anticipate the financial impact and availability issues consumers might face?

Jan 3 10:59 AM

desuetude Says:

Thus the DEA is permitted to derail medical treatment by essentially overruling the prescribing physicians. Which endangers the health of patients, since these medications shouldn’t be stopped abruptly. (More outcry from doctors, please?)

And I’m flummoxed by pharmacists who quite blithely suggest that patients just ask their doctors to switch medications. Pharmacists would be the ones who would best understand that this shouldn’t be done on a whim and isn’t necessarily going to work as a treatment.

Jan 7 1:19 AM

Van Says:

I ran into this issue yesterday at my Rite Aid pharmacy I am a regular user of Ritalin LA and yesterday I went in to get my monthly refill. The pharmacy said that the insurance company suggested I use Vyvanse. I refused. I went to my doctor to see if they could encourage the insurance agency to pay for it, only to have them turn around and prescribe Vyvanse to me. I had no idea there was a shortage until someone said something about it at the doctors office. So now I have an appointment with my doctor to discuss other options.

Jan 9 2:53 PM

Jules Says:

They don’t all work the same for everyone. Adderall works best for me and I’ve encountered this problem. Not to mention, they change the price depending on the supply the distributer has. In November, my regular pharmacy surpised me with a price of 138$ as opposed to 150$ in October. In December it was back up to 148$ who knows how much it will be next week when I got back in. At other pharmacies around town it is as high as 231$ Different pharmacies=different distributors=different prices. I get all my RX from different pharmacies because the prices vary by up to 100$. I can’t afford obamacare so I don’t know what I’m going to do…crazy and inattentive seems to be my only option at this point (unemployed–no emergency unemployment) ahhhh me.

Jan 3 10:55 PM

joe Says:

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Mar 14 10:57 AM


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