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No end in sight for much-needed ADHD medication shortage

Posted at 6:25 PM, Feb 03, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — For the past few months, families all over have been dealing with a shortage of ADHD medication and challenges filling their prescriptions.

“It has been frustrating, scary,” said Rebekah Pitts. She is a mom of 6. One of her daughters – Clara – is a high school senior. “I’ve known Clara has had ADHD her whole life. She’s very vivacious and larger than life personality.”

For the past few months, her family has been struggling to get Adderall — Clara’s ADHD medication.

“When we found out we couldn’t get the medication, it was just another hard thing to deal with. I was really upset, strangely upset, crying because I didn’t know what I could do to help her," Rebekah said.

Clara has been on medication for two years, and it helps her jump from doing one thing to another without feeling stressed.

“I have been acting as her medication for her at times – where she has to be with me to prod her to stay on task,” said Rebekah.

It's a feeling that doctors say resonates with families all over the state and country who are just trying to help their loved ones.

“We're moving these prescriptions as these families find it, but that means we have to be available and see their message in a time... and send it," said pediatrician Dr. Ellie Brownstein. "So they get frustrated, we get frustrated, and the worst part is, the kids are struggling.”

In October, the FDA announced a shortage of Adderall. Since then, Dr. Brownstein says it’s been a consistent problem.

“I recommend not waiting till the last minute as much as you can, so you have a couple of extra days where we can figure out if we have to move it and find it. Have some understanding for your provider, who is trying their best," she said.

Unfortunately, there's no end in sight.

“We got a new prescription at the end of Christmas break and she’s been taking it for a few weeks, and luckily she’s not having any negative side effects right now, so that was fortunate. But yeah, we waited almost three months hoping that it would come back in stock,” said Rebekah.

Clara is on different medication now, but it's more than three times the cost of Adderall for her family.

“Thinking, 'Well, can we do this? Is this a good idea? Should we be spending over $1,000 a year for her medication? Is there another choice?' and then feeling guilty for going through that thought process," Rebekah said.

She found a discount coupon through the manufacturer, which can be used 60 times.

“I took it to the pharmacy and I remember taking the paper and showing it to her and hoping it was real, that they would really give the discount, and it did — it took $60 off and made it 30, which is more affordable," Rebekah said.

Rebekah hopes that there is some relief soon so Clara doesn’t have to struggle with the little things.

“I don’t view ADHD as a disability, but I view our world as one that makes it hard to have ADHD," she said.