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Adderall shortage leaves some waiting months for refills

Adderall shortage leaves some waiting months for refills
Adderall shortage leaves some waiting months for refills 02:14

(CBS DETROIT) - There's a shortage of a well-known medicine used to treat ADHD and it's raising concerns for both health care providers and patients.

Clinicians say the shortage of Adderall and other stimulants is having a negative impact on patients who depend on them to concentrate at work and school, which could possibly lead to depression and mental exhaustion.

Adderall prescriptions are becoming hard to fill, leaving many patients scrambling to find a pharmacy to fill the order.

"The kind of symptoms are that we typically see in adults are problems with you know attention, concentration, completing tasks, ability to stay focused, and so if they're used to taking it, it helps them do all those things," said Dr. Zoe Martinez of Donefirst.

"So, a lot of the patients are either probably working or in school and then to suddenly lose the ability to pay attention, concentrate, completing tasks, can cause problems with work, for example."

Martinez says the shortage can cause damaging challenges for patients.

"Obviously when they can't do their work, they get more anxious and more depressed," Martinez said. "So, we worry a lot about patients, like their overall mental health when they all of a sudden can't do their jobs."

The national shortage has been happening for months and there's still no answer on when the supply of stimulants will catch up with demand.

"There's some sort of myth that telepsychiatry is partly responsible for this, but I really don't think so," Martinez said.

"I think maybe what telepsychiatry helped people do is more people who needed treatment got access to treatment, but it's certainly not ... overprescribing."

According to the Food and Drug Administration's website, some prescriptions won't be filled until 2024.

Martinez says it's important for patients to consult with their physician about alternative medications.

"It's been called the Adderall shortage, but the truth is that individuals have had trouble getting some of these other medicines as well," Martinez said. 

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