ADD patients hit by drug shortage
Posted November 16, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — A drug shortage is hitting a common medication for attention deficit disorder, leading pharmacists to turn some customers away.
Pharmacist Mike James, who works at Person Street Pharmacy, said he gets several calls a day from people desperately searching for the drug Adderall.
"You have people who have been taking this for a good long while who are kind of going into a panic," James said.
The drug is commonly prescribed to help people with ADD organize their thoughts and focus on schoolwork and other daily tasks.
A manufacturer of the generic form of Adderall has blamed the federal Drug Enforcement Agency for restricting the production of Adderall's main ingredient, because it can be used to make methamphetamine.
James said it's not clear that the DEA is to blame for the shortage. The agency is tracking drugs like Adderall more closely, and there's a black market for the drug for use as a study aid.
"There's been a lot of abuse of the medication, especially for college kids," psychiatrist Robert Roy said. "I tell them, 'Don't tell people you're on this and have a party and leave it on your dresser, because it will be gone in five minutes.'"
James said a manufacturer told him the shortage won't go away any time soon. The tablet form of Adderall might not be available until the first quarter of 2012
"I would recommend any patient that's taking an Adderall tablet that they go ahead and make a decision with their physician as to what they should do to correct that, because they're not going to be able to out-wait the problem," he said.
Some doctors are switching patients over to a long-acting capsule form of Adderall. That changes the dosage that patients receive.
Doctors might also know where the drug can be found locally.