Prescription rates for ADHD medications have skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, causing a shortage of medications like Adderall in the U.S. A study published in JAMA Psychiatry reveals that prescriptions for ADHD medications have increased by over 14% in the two years since the pandemic began. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found nearly 6 million new prescriptions for stimulants during the first two years of the pandemic, around 700,000 more than the previous two years.
This surge in prescriptions is primarily driven by an increase in ADHD diagnoses among young adults and women. ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder, is traditionally diagnosed in childhood but often persists into adulthood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that around 6 million children between the ages of 3 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, a number that may have risen since 2019.
Although there is no cure for ADHD, it can be effectively managed through medication or therapy. However, the increased demand for ADHD medications, particularly Adderall, has resulted in a nationwide shortage. The FDA declared a shortage of the immediate release formulation of Adderall in 2022 due to the surge in prescriptions for ADHD medications. Adderall, a controlled substance, has limited production capacity regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Interestingly, despite the shortage, only about 70% of the allotted quota for Adderall was sold in 2022, leaving a staggering 1 billion doses that could have been produced but were not made or shipped. The FDA has indicated that there are currently nine manufacturers with availability of ADHD medications, and additional supply is anticipated in the coming months.
Teva, the largest manufacturer of both generic and brand name Adderall in the U.S., has reported an unprecedented demand for the medication. Consequently, some pharmacies or patients have experienced intermittent delays in obtaining Adderall. This scarcity of ADHD medications highlights the importance of ensuring accessible and sufficient supplies of essential medications for individuals with ADHD.
As the pandemic continues to impact various aspects of daily life, it is crucial to address the growing demand for and shortage of ADHD medications. Efforts must be made to increase production capacity and distribution to meet the needs of individuals with ADHD who rely on these medications for managing their symptoms effectively.
“Wannabe troublemaker. Pop culture fanatic. Zombie nerd. Lifelong bacon advocate. Alcohol enthusiast. Tv junkie.”