Multiple Reports of ADHD Drug Shortages

Emma Hitt, PhD

May 13, 2011

May 13, 2011 — Some drugs used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are, at least temporarily, in short supply, according to multiple reports.

The shortage is a result of failure on the part of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to deliver enough of the mixed amphetamine salts required for its manufacture and increased need for these agents, according to Matt Cabrey, a spokesman for Shire PLC, which manufacturers Adderall XR, in a Wall Street Journal report. According to Shire, increased supplies from the DEA are expected this month.

The shortage is limited to certain brands and dosages and not all areas are experiencing a shortage: Affected products include amphetamine mixed salts (generic Adderall XR), methylphenidate (generic Ritalin), Methylin ER (an intermediate-acting form of Ritalin), and Metadate ER (a long-acting form of Ritalin)

UCB SA, a maker of generic methylphenidate, is also reporting a shortage, citing increased demand as the cause. However, UCB expects more products to be available by about May 20.

Teva currently has all amphetamine mixed salt extended-release capsules on back order, and the company cannot estimate a release date or provide a reason for the shortage.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told Medscape Medical News that patients alerted them of the shortage about 2 months ago when they were unable to fill ADHD prescriptions. According to Valerie Jensen, associate director of the FDA's drug shortages program, the problem has mostly affected generic versions of ADHD drugs.

The FDA notes that almost 13 million people reported they had used prescription methamphetamine at least once during their lifetime. In addition, about 21.2 million Americans have used prescription stimulants nonmedically at least once. These include drugs prescribed for ADHD, such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, and methamphetamine.

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