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An Update on ADHD Drug Shortages

An Update on ADHD Drug ShortagesAs Psych Central reported earlier this month, there continues to be a nationwide shortage of medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but there are signs the situation is improving. Primarily affected are those who use generic versions of name-brand ADHD medications, such as Adderall and Methylin.

The ADHD drug shortage started in late 2011, beginning in September, when manufacturers began running out of the active ingredient used to make generic versions of their medications.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) requires manufacturers to adhere to strict manufacturing schedules for the active ingredients, since they contain amphetamines. If a pharmaceutical company underestimates demand for one type of their drug — in this case, generic versions — they run out of the active ingredient.

In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that several types of stimulant ADHD drugs were in short supply. These included amphetamine mixed salts (Adderall and its generic versions), methylphenidate (Methylin, Metadate, and its generic versions) and dextroamphetamine tablets.

ADHD Drug Shortages Slowly Easing for Some

The FDA is now reporting that for some of these medications, the shortage is easing in some parts of the country. Pharmaceutical company Shire says there is “adequate” availability of the brand-name version of Adderall, but generic versions remain in short supply.

Drug manufacturer Mallinckrodt says it’s name-brand ADHD drug, Methylin, “will be increasingly available as supply recovery continues.” This affects both the immediate- and extended-release versions of Methylin.

But other ADHD drugs will remain in short supply for the first part of 2012.

Pharmaceutical company Sandoz continues to warn patients that the generic methylphenidate will not be readily available for next few months. Patients will continue to experience delays in getting access to this drug.

Drug manufacturer UCB says it’s “currently out of stock” of 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg versions of its immediate release methylphenidate and it’s 20 mg extended-release tablets. UCB said it expects this shortage to be relieved sometime in mid- to late February.

Last, generic dextroamphetamine tablets will continue to experience shortages through mid-2012, according to manfuacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals.

The FDA and DEA have not announced any change in their policies that would prevent this drug shortage from recurring in the future. The DEA’s strict policies are what caused the shortage, combined with drug manufacturers’ inadequate supply planning.

Attention deficit disorder is a mental disorder that is characterized by severe problems in attention and concentration. The most popular method of treatment for it in both children and adults is through psychiatric medication.

Source: FDA and drug manufacturers

An Update on ADHD Drug Shortages

Psych Central News Editor

The Psych Central News Editor is a member of the Psych Central staff with background in journalism and mental health reporting. This is a rotating position, but is filled with a qualified reporter with appropriate psychology and mental health news experience.

APA Reference
News Editor, P. (2018). An Update on ADHD Drug Shortages. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 17 Jan 2012)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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