Between late July and early August, the National Community Pharmacists Association asked some 8000 pharmacy owners and managers if they were experiencing shortages of generic or name-brand Adderall—a drug commonly used to treat people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy. Sixty-four percent said yes [PDF].
This week, as Gizmodo reports, the Food and Drug Administration officially acknowledged the issue. The agency released a statement in which it noted that this nationwide shortage affects the immediate-release versions of amphetamine mixed salts—a.k.a. Adderall or Adderall IR—but their extended-release counterparts are still well-stocked. People who take immediate-release Adderall are advised to talk to their health care providers to figure out an alternative treatment plan if need be.
In the meantime, they can also monitor the FDA’s Drug Shortage page, which lists the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture these drugs, along with details about the availability of each dosage. As of October 12, for example, all of Epic Pharma’s stock—from 5- to 30-milligram tablets—was backordered, while all of Lannett Company’s was available.
As for what’s causing the shortage, the FDA cited “ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays” specifically plaguing Teva Pharmaceuticals. According to NBC News, the Israel-based company is the U.S.’s largest Adderall supplier, and it first confirmed a shortage back in August. At the time, the hold-up was reportedly because the company didn’t have enough workers to package the shipments—a problem that had already been remedied. The current reason for delays, per the FDA’s Drug Shortage page, is because “Teva has been supplying above typical forecast due to increase in market demand.”
The bottom line is that there’s some, but not enough, Adderall to treat all the Americans who take it at the moment. If you’re one of them, it’s probably a good idea to touch base with your doctor about what to do if your local pharmacies start experiencing delays.