Have You Been Affected by the Shortage of Stimulant Medication?

Many of you know all too well the frustration and confusion people are experiencing getting prescriptions filled for stimulant medication. Now there is something that you can do that may help.

It started a year ago with shortages of generic short-acting Adderall. This likely prompted an increased demand for substitutes, sparking shortages that included other short-acting generics (Ritalin and Dexedrine) as well as brand medications. Even long acting stimulants eventually became scarce, particularly the generic versions. The cause, you will discover, appears to be a combination of shortsighted rigidity in the DEA’s decision to limit supply, and the drug companies’ effort to make their expensive and more profitable brand name drugs more available than generics.

Locally, there appears to be some improvement in stimulant availability in the last month or so, but the issue persists and has clearly caused plenty of hardship. Changing from a familiar stimulant to another one just because it was temporarily available reminded people of why they settled on their preferred medication in the first place. Side effects reappeared, the new medicine often felt like it did not work as well, and finding the right dose was difficult enough when just as likely the next month a whole new search and trying yet another medication was required all over again. Even worse, moving from less expensive generics to sometimes very expensive brand name medications when they were available was so costly for some they decided to go without any medication at all for a while.

We try our best to help people respond to the shortages as quickly and effectively as possible, but the consequences have been very disruptive and have lasted for months now.

In an effort to keep you informed about the nationwide shortage of ADD medications we suggest two articles written in January 2012; one from the CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder) website and the other, a front page story in the New York Times (dated 1/1/12 at www.nytimes.com/). It will likely come as a shock that the DEA did not think there was a supply problem!

CHADD is spearheading a national effort to collect data to get to the bottom of this story in support of a lobbying campaign to change the situation. They need your help. If you have been frustrated getting your prescriptions filled over the past year, this is a great way to make your voice heard. The survey only requires a few minutes of your time. Here’s how to help:  visit the CHADD shortages survey.