Generic Adderall XR Shortage Leaves ADHD Patients Scrambling

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Substitutions Not Always Best Option

Those who live with ADHD and doctors who treat it know how debilitating the condition can be. Without their medication to keep it under control, the consequences can be serious.

"Adults are more likely to get divorced, underperform at work, have motor vehicle accidents, and if they're not treated, tend to have higher rates of substance abuse," said Dr. Lenard Adler, director of the Adult ADHD Program at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.

Children, he said, may have academic problems and place a lot of stress on families because of their hyperactivity.

Adler added that if people with ADHD need to switch medications, it can lead to a number of problems. The dosage may not be correct and it will take time to adjust it appropriately, or they may not respond as well to other drugs.

Switching to immediate release forms means patients have to take more than one pill a day.

"Children who need to take medication at school can be stigmatized and adults have to take medications with them," said Adler. "People with ADHD have difficulty remembering things, which will heighten the difficulty of taking it at the time it's needed."

Widespread Generic Drug Shortage

Mixed amphetamine salts aren't the only drugs in short supply. According to the American Society of Health-Care Pharmacists, there are more than 170 drug shortages and most of those drugs are generic injectable drugs.

"There aren't very many companies that make generic injectable drugs," said Fox. "If one company has a problem, it almost always creates a shortage."

For Silverman-Konigsberg, it's something she hopes she never has to confront. Her son's future may depend on it.

"Medication is about giving him the right tools so he can conform to the needs of an education environment," she said. "If he can't attend, he can't learn. If he is running through the class instead of sitting at a desk, he will not succeed."

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