Adderall Shortage Persists Across U.S. As Number Of Users Increases

A nationwide Adderall shortage is leaving patients with ADHD without medication or forcing them to switch to an alternative.
Posted at 9:02 PM, Oct 17, 2022

Pharmacies across the U.S. are struggling to fill Adderall prescriptions.

"I just talked to someone; she says, 'It's been three weeks since I've had my medication,'" said Jenna Eccles, manager of Wheat Ridge Professional Pharmacy in Colorado.

Because of a national shortage, patients with ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, are being forced to go without their medication, which helps them focus and reduce impulsiveness.

"It's like the feeling when you first wake up in the morning and you can't quite think, except all day long for me without it," said Daryl Linley, Wheat Ridge resident.

The FDA says manufacturers of Adderall have been experiencing production delays, which have been linked in part to labor shortages. Adding to the strain is the rise of patients being diagnosed with ADHD by telehealth services during the pandemic. 

The New York Times reports prescriptions for Adderall increased by 16% last year to 41.2 million. Health experts are now advising folks to talk with their doctor about other options.

"If they simply can't find a pharmacy that has any, that's when we'd recommend them having a talk with their physician who is primarily prescribing for their ADHD about other alternatives," said David Rosenberg, chair of Psychiatry at Wayne State University.

Alternatives include extended-release versions of their medication, but that hasn't deterred folks from continuing to search for Adderall. Those who have managed to find it attribute it to luck.

"Make sure you have saved some medication to make phone calls for because just the ability to stay focused and make a phone call is actually really difficult," Linley said.

It remains unclear how long this shortage will last.