Adderall shortage leaves local patients searching for medication at pharmacies

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. A nationwide Adderall shortage has led to many patients going without their medication for months as pharmacies have struggled to maintain stock of the drug.

If you’re someone who depends on dextroamphetamine-amphetamine salts known under the brand name Adderall you’ve probably run into a problem picking up your medication from your local pharmacy lately. But according to the FDA, you aren’t alone.

According to Dr. Stephen Cook, associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the University of Rochester, the shortage is affecting all age groups.

“We have some pharmacies that we reach out to and they are like, ‘We are not able to get stuff,’ whether it’s Adderall or Ritalin,” Cook said.

Dr. Cook said wait times for the drug are unpredictable across New York.

“In New York, you actually have to do an additional step called ISTOP,” Cook said. “It’s an online check with a state registry to make sure someone with this person’s name and birth has already filled a prescription for a controlled substance within the past so many days. If so was it? When and where?”

Shortages caused by state laws and FDA regulations that limit the amount of the drug pharmaceutical companies can produce are creating unintended consequences for those who rely on the drug.

“They get a sense when shipments come in, but they are not sure or not sure how much,” Cook said. “Or they have usually been getting a generic but a brand name. And so you might get a generic that’s $5 for 30 tablets. But when brand name is the only one available that comes in, then the patient is like yeah, I’ll take whatever, but it’s $90.”

Despite a rise in the number of Adderall prescriptions being written, Dr. Cook said that it doesn’t point to an overall cause of concern.

“I think there may be a slight rise, but a lot of that I think is that is related to health systems getting better at screening people for ADHD, mental health problems,” Cook said.

According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the expanded telemedicine rules adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic have been extended for six months following the expiration of the public health emergency issued on May 11.

The best thing to do when it comes to filling your prescription is to talk with your doctor to find the pharmacy most likely to fill on time.