The Adderall shortage continues why and for how long it could last

The 2023 Adderall shortage has meant that many people diagnosed with ADHD have gone without it since 2022. Here’s why and how long the shortage could last.

Adderall pills on a flat surface
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The COVID-19 pandemic has led many of us to become familiar with food and drug shortages, thanks to numerous supply chain issues and manufacturer shutdowns. Deficiencies can get quite serious, especially in the case of life-saving drugs. The 2023 Adderall shortage has been on for quite some time here’s what’s going on.

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Mixed salts of amphetamine, a drug category that includes Adderall, are still in short supply, says the Food and Drug Administration. How long could this last, and what alternatives do ADHD patients and other Adderall users have in the meantime?

Child distracted and unable to concentrate in class with the phone.
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That’s when the Adderall shortage started.

The FDA first reported that Adderall was in short supply on October 12, 2022. The drug commonly referred to as Adderall is an “immediate-release formulation” of mixed salts of amphetamines. The FDA liaises with various drug makers to notify the public when certain drugs experience shortages.

For anyone unfamiliar with Adderall, it is a commonly prescribed medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. The FDA has also approved it as a treatment for narcolepsy. When the shortage started, the FDA recommended that patients switch to the extended-release formulation of mixed salts of amphetamines.

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Photo of empty prescription pill bottles.
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What do the experts say caused the Adderall shortage?

In general, drug shortages can be caused by a variety of factors, including a backup of key ingredients or supplies, manufacturing plant closures, or increased demand for drugs. Emily Tucker, assistant professor at Clemson University who studies drug shortages, said in an April 2023 TIME article that production stoppages are the typical culprit for drug shortages.

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Experts cited a few reasons for the shortage, including that drug makers usually don’t produce a single drug. Therefore, if a company ramps up production of Adderall or another drug in short supply, it could affect the supply of other drugs it manufactures at the same facility.

Ozlem Ergun, a professor at Northeastern University and an expert on pharmaceutical supply chains tells us so TIME that “even if everyone wants to increase production, it might not be possible”.

Photograph of spilled pills on a blue counter.
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The FDA highlighted Teva Pharmaceuticals’ delays in its first announcement of the Adderall shortage, given that Teva is a key supplier of that drug. Other causes may be an increase in drug prescriptions and restrictions placed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), these companies haven’t given a reason for their Adderall shortage: Alvogen, Rhodes, and Teva. Camber said he was awaiting the DEA’s review and approval of the fee.

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How are Adderall Demand and Supply Related?

AS vox reported in Spring 2023, growing demand for Adderall has combined with DEA ​​caps on production to impact this ongoing shortage. Due to the risk of misuse and addiction to Adderall, it is heavily regulated. Pharmacies have limits on how much Adderall (and generic equivalents) they can dispense.

Person holding pills in hand to take.
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Is the Adderall Shortage Over?

Unfortunately, as of June 2023, the FDA’s Drug Shortages online resource still lists Adderall as currently in shortage. Tucker notes that six months seems like a long time, and that’s an absolutely long time for patients. Very little has changed by April of 2023, although the additional supply of the controlled substance was expected to launch in April or May.

Here’s what ASHP offers from some manufacturers: Teva says some of its Adderall strengths will be available in July and August. Rhodes estimates a July release date, and other companies have not offered an estimated date for when the drug would be available. Thus, the Adderall deficiency may ease somewhat, but it may still affect patients for some time.

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