The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced last month the shortage of the immediate-release formulation of amphetamine mixed salts, commonly referred to by the brand name Adderall.
The drug is a stimulant-based medication most commonly used for the treatment of people diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, or ADHD.
Doctors are now worrying about what patients might do to get their hands on it during the shortage.
“This is one of those medications that is at the heart of abuse, it is a medication that is abused routinely,” said Dr. Joseph Allen, Premier Health Regional Director.
Allen told News Center 7 Adderall helps children, teens and students focus and not be distracted by their environment.
Now, as many as 16-million adults, prescribed the medication as children, still use it as adults for ADD or ADHD.
“It is really about focusing and they feel their production, or what they produce, is higher quality,” Allen said.
Adderall is a prescription stimulant that saw its use double in a decade ending in 2016. There was a 22% increase in adult users between 22 and 44 in the last three years. It’s even being used to treat post-COVID-19 fatigue now.
With the largest U.S. manufacturer failing to meet quotas because of a worker shortage, there are big concerns with shortages in stores.
One is that users will feel withdrawal symptoms. They then might resort to unregulated online or black market sales sources. Those unregulated sources can easily be fake or contaminated pills that contain deadly substances, like fentanyl.
Two Ohio State University students died in May of this year when university investigators believe they took counterfeit Adderall pills.
“It is that they go seeking it other places and find something that isn’t it,” Allen said.
Allen told News Center 7 that patients that use Adderall should talk to their doctor about available alternatives.
He also cautions people not to rush to judgement about this medication.
“It does feet a bad name because of the potential for abuse, and that does go on, but for some patients out there it is a very useful medication and does its job very well,” Allen said.
The FDA is working to alleviate the Adderall shortages.
Doctors are urging patients or family members of patients to make sure that they get their medication from confirmed, safe outlets.