If your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you know how important it is to manage their symptoms. If ADHD medication is a part of your child’s ADHD treatment, you may also be aware of the recent medication shortages.
- In October 2022, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) informed the public about a shortage of amphetamine mixed salts (commonly known as Adderall or Adderall IR), which is a short-acting amphetamine stimulant used as an ADHD medication.
- The shortage of Adderall and Adderall IR has also put pressure on the supply of other ADHD medications, like Ritalin and Concerta, sparking concern about additional shortages.
ADHD medication is used to help children manage symptoms of ADHD, allowing them to avoid challenges in school, with friends and at home. Without it, their symptoms may be disruptive and lead to problems in their everyday life.
Parents know medication management can be integral to their child’s care plan to ensure they thrive and live healthy lives. However, this process sometimes comes with challenges.
The current ADHD medication shortage is one of those challenges in a child’s care plan due to delays in medication and availability. Here’s what you need to know about the ADHD medication shortage and how to support your child’s care.
What’s causing the ADHD medication shortage?
The reasons for the ADHD medication shortage are not completely clear. One cause may include increased ADHD diagnoses in the past few decades – and even more during the pandemic. While the FDA has cited manufacturing delays and supply chain problems, other possible factors exist. Mental health care is more accessible, there is less stigmatism in seeking care and a greater awareness of symptoms. For example, it has been discovered ADHD can present differently in girls, showing up as anxiety, trouble focusing and disorganization. They may also compensate by working harder to mask symptoms.
These factors mean more people are in need of ADHD medication.
When can I expect the ADHD medication shortage to be over?
Unfortunately, no one knows when ADHD medication supplies will replenish enough to meet the current demand. In 2022, the shortage was suspected to last into 2023. In early 2023, it was estimated to last into the spring.
While the end is not completely in sight, the issue is not being ignored. It will take some significant changes to get to a place where everyone using medication to manage ADHD is easily able to access it.
What should I do If I can’t get my child’s ADHD medication?
As a parent, your concerns about getting your child their medication are justified. Regardless of where your child is in their medication journey, it’s best to be prepared with a plan to avoid stopping medication altogether.
If your preferred pharmacy is out of stock, call nearby pharmacies, and ask if they have your child’s medication on hand. If they do, contact your child’s prescribing provider right away, and ask them to send the prescription to the new pharmacy as early as possible.
What if I have concerns about the dosage of ADHD medication prescribed for my child?
You may have concerns about your child’s medication management and dosage and wonder what is the best approach for your child. Ask your pediatrician about options, including switching medications, lowering dosages or even pausing medications temporarily. However, you should never decrease medication without discussing it with your pediatrician. Your pediatrician is an important part of your child’s care journey and is there to support your family during this time.
Managing ADHD During the Shortage and Beyond
At Children’s, our pediatric and adolescent medicine physicians are trained in diagnosing, treating and managing ADHD, along with other conditions, like anxiety and depression.
By using a combination of treatments, including therapy and medication, we can support your child’s needs as they live with ADHD — during this shortage and in the years to come.
Do you have questions or concerns about managing your child’s symptoms during the ADHD medication shortage? Contact their pediatrician or adolescent medicine specialist to get your child the support they need.