ADHD medication shortage is ongoing
(ABC 6 News) – It’s been over a year since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared a shortage of Adderall and other medication used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The FDA credits the shortage to manufacturing delays and supply chain issues, but mental health experts in Rochester say there’s also been an increase in ADHD diagnoses since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Misti Hemann is a mom to three boys, ages 10, 11 and 14. All three struggle with ADHD or autism, and have been on ADHD meds for years.
She says over the last three months, the problems they’ve experienced since the shortage began have only gotten worse.
“Everybody was saying this is supposed to be a short-term thing,” said Hemann. “It’s not. When is it gonna end for us?”
“For some individuals, that medication is a necessity to be able to get through the work day, it is a necessity to get through school,” said Heather Geerts, Director of Clinical Services with Zumbro Valley Health Center.
Geerts says the shortage has forced doctors at her facility to get creative when treating ADHD patients.
“Having to look at different types of medication, maybe an extended release versus a short acting. Prescribe different dosages to get the right level,” said Geerts.
One of Hemann’s kids switched medications after they couldn’t get the ones he used to take, and it’s caused a lot of problems.
“Home life has changed. School life has also changed. He was doing really good, now we’re having emotional outbursts, crying, saying ‘I’m tired,'” said Hemann.
Sunil Mehta is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with Prairie Care. He says kids not having consistent access to their medication can lead to a number of problems.
“Younger kids who aren’t on medications, they may have more issues with impulse control, behavior. For older kids, they may be physically present in class, but not able to absorb the material they otherwise would,” said Mehta.
The shortage also causes anxiety for families who have to call around to different pharmacies to find the medications they need. Hemann sometimes drives all the way to Rochester from her home in Blooming Prairie.
“I’ve looked everywhere and if I have to go farther, I’m gonna go. I’m here for my kids,” said Hemann.
Hemann says speaks up for her kids and others who are going the same thing. She urges people to contact their representatives in congress to try and get this shortage fixed.