‘That’s frightening’: Consumers finding ways to acquire Adderall without a prescription amid nationwide shortage

Drug used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy; high demand has caused a nationwide shortage
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 3:47 PM CST
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Texas (KWTX) - The Food and Drug Administration is reporting therapists and physicians alike have had to cut back their Adderall prescriptions in recent months due to a nationwide shortage.

Adderall is a prescription drug used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy in adults and children.

Since late 2021, the FDA reports the drug’s shortage can be linked to high demand and low supply.

Four months into the shortage and things aren’t looking any better.

“Families that have relied on medication are having limited access or fear that they will no longer have access. More families are wanting to know more information about what other options are available,” said Dr. Rebecca Jackson, the vice president of programs and outcomes at Brain Balance.

During the pandemic, online mental health companies, including one of the biggest, Cerebral, began to offer treatment for ADHD, often prescribing Adderall.

This increase in mental health awareness is another reason for the decline in supply.

“We’re seeing an increase trend in diagnosis with recent TikTok trending videos that can be raising awareness but can also be raising awareness without the full information behind it,” said Dr. Jackson.

TikTok ads like the ones posted by Cerebral can influence people to get checked but they can also lead to people self-diagnosing themselves, seeking out medication in other ways like Facebook groups.

“That’s frightening to me,” said Dr. Jackson. “The medication is a prescription that comes from a physician. You want to know that it’s manufactured in a safe way especially when it’s coming to your child.”

Dr. Jackson cites that there are other ways to treat ADHD and that everyone’s case varies, highlighting on the recent developments of neuroplasticity and the brain’s ability to change over time. “It doesn’t mean that the struggle has to be maintained. Change is possible,” she says.

Drug manufacturers like TEVA hoped to regain traction by March of 2023 but having reported manufacturing delays, the shortage could continue into the summer.