Adderall is a medication commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, more commonly referred to as ADHD. Millions of Americans have been prescribed adderall and use the drug to manage their ADHD symptoms. But for the past few months, an adderall shortage has made it difficult for many patients to get their prescriptions filled.
In October of 2022, the Food and Drug Administration released a statement regarding a shortage of the drug. This shortage was linked to a manufacturing delay: while some smaller manufacturing companies were able to continue producing the medication, the amount was not sufficient enough to meet market demands.
Currently, there seems to have been an improvement in supply issues. However the ongoing delay has caused many backorders and delays for patients.
Joseph Dikun, assistant professor for the Department of Pharmacy Administration, shared his knowledge on the matter.
“There has been an increase in ADHD diagnoses following the pandemic, which, when combined with the DEA exemptions during the COVID-19 public health emergency, has allowed for more flexible telehealth consultations and greater access to controlled substances prescriptions,” Joseph Dikun, assistant professor for the Department of Pharmacy Administration, said. “The situation has been made worse by shortages in manufacturing.”
According to the Washington Post, Adderall prescriptions have risen more than 30 percent over the span of five years, greatly increasing nationwide demand.
Assistant professor of public health and health sciences Hannah Allen explained how an increased demand for Adderall has positives, too.
“The good news is that increased Adderall demand means that awareness is increasing — more people are getting evaluated, diagnosed, and treated for ADHD,” Allen said.
The increased usage of telehealth services as a result of quarantining simultaneously increased people’s access to Adderall prescriptions.
“A rise in the use of telehealth services also increased access to prescribing providers, although there is concern about patients getting prescribed a potent drug like Adderall without being evaluated or seen by a provider in person,” Allen said.
Approximately 1 in 6 students are taking ADHD medication to enhance their daily focus, as well as aid in their academic work. Following the manufacturing shortage and limited access to the medication, many University of Mississippi students were concerned.
“I started taking Adderall for ADHD in August and it took my doctor and I a while to land on the right dosage for me,” senior communication sciences and disorders major Camille Howell said. “It was right around the time of the shortage that I got my dosage straightened out, and it definitely took a toll on my body.”
Howell says this negatively affected her studies, too.
“It felt like it took so long to finally get my body used to the medication, then all of a sudden I was no longer able to get my prescription,” Howell said. “This became sort of like a mental block between me and my school work knowing I didn’t have access to my medication.”
Howell is not the only student who feared for their studies when their medicine became harder to obtain, and so students had to get creative.
“I have been taking adderall for about 10 years now,” said senior journalism major Anne Marie Defrank. “Because of this (the shortage), I’ve had to either drive to my home state of Texas or have my mother bring it with her when she comes to visit,” Defrank said. “Without easy access to my medicine, my ADHD is off the charts. It’s taking a toll on me mentally. My school work is not getting done, my work and internship are affected and my overall mood is not what it used to be.”
Senior journalism and integrated marketing and communications major Ellie Buell described how the shortage impacted her during finals week.
“Due to the shortage, I was left with only a few pills for a week. This meant I had to pick and choose which days I wanted to take them,” Buell said. “I noticed a big difference when I studied with and without them, and did worse on exams in some classes due to not being able to focus during studying. My mom would have to get my prescription filled in Tennessee, and each month we had to get creative on how I would receive it.”
According to several Oxford pharmacists, Adderall medication issues have recently begun to fizzle out. Adderall supply is trending upward, but students are still working to regulate their ADHD prescriptions and symptoms with the abnormally small supply. While pharmacies claim to now have multiple doses in stock, the situation has yet to return to normal.