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Students call for action on ADHD medication shortage

adhd infographic

Texas State students wonder when the ADHD medication shortage will end and what their local pharmacies are doing about it.
Last October, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a shortage of ADHD medication until further notice. According to the agency, the shortage is from supply chain issues and a spike in adult demand.
Since the beginning of COVID-19, the drug could be prescribed online, causing many patients to order it and create a backorder effect.
“We will continue to monitor supply and assist manufacturers with anything needed to resolve the shortage and will update our website with new supply information as it becomes available,” the FDA website states.
ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a disorder that causes difficulty paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors or being overly active, according to the CDC. From the National Institute of Health, the average of adults with ADHD is 4.4%. Of those, the population that takes medication for their ADHD is 69%.
ADHD medication is used to improve concentration, help focus attention and reduce impulsive behavior. Adderall, Vyvanse, Evekeo, ProCentra and Dyanavel are all examples of common ADHD medications.
The Student Health Center is aware of this situation and has advice for students experiencing this shortage. Luciana Mendoza, a pharmacy supervisor at the Student Health Center, said the pharmacy is encouraging other methods of obtaining the medication.
“The pharmacy is encouraging patients to shop local pharmacies,” Mendoza said. “Pharmacies use different suppliers, so often when one pharmacy is out another has it in stock. If a patient cannot find the medication, then they are encouraged to talk to their provider about changing the medication to something that is available.”
Mendoza said they are checking the wholesaler every day to make sure they can get the medication for students.
“We can only see what the wholesaler has in stock each day,” Mendoza said. “Some of the medications are being allocated so the pharmacy can receive a small amount each week.”
The pharmacy also does not know when the shortage will end since manufacturers are the ones that control the medication supply. They recommend students check the FDA’s website, which updates regularly to inform the public about the current state of the shortage.
“The pharmacy checks the wholesaler supply each day,” Mendoza said. “The order is placed if the wholesaler has it in stock.”
Ollie Payne, a technical theatre senior, said students are worried about what will happen when they run out of their supply of the medication.
“I have to call around between different pharmacies to see if they even have just a simple like one-month prescription,” Payne said. “Having the Adderall really helps keep my days more organized and complete. Not having my medication really throws me out of the loop.”
Payne calls for manufacturers to figure out the shortage quickly since they fear what will happen to people who need this medication.
“There are people that rely on these medications to live,” Payne said. “I can actually do things and now not having my medication I’m having to struggle 10 times harder than a normal person just to do daily functions.”
Since the shortage, students are trying to get three-month supplies instead of the typical one-month supply.
“I have called all around and I’m starting to lose hope,” Zamantha Taboada, a computer science junior, said. “This shortage is hurting me and I can’t imagine how many other people are being affected. I need my medicine.”
Taboada wants answers on what pharmacies are doing to get more ADHD medication for students.
“I just don’t understand why there is a shortage. They were fine for so long,” Taboada said. “I want to know when this shortage will end, and how frequent are they [pharmacies] getting their supply of medications?”

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