Adderall Shortage Will Last Until At Least Spring

by Staff Writer
November 18, 2022 at 12:44 PM UTC


Clinical Relevance: With the ongoing Adderall shortage, consider reviewing treatment plans in patients with ADHD

  • The FDA warns that Adderall shortages could last until at least the new year.
  • Manufacturing delays and increased demand are to blame for the shortfall.
  • Adult demand for the drug increased by nearly 15 percent during the pandemic.
  • Patients should not share medication and should be alert to prescription scams.

Updated February 6th, 2023 to reflect recent developments.

It looks like shortages of Adderall and other ADHD drugs may last well into the Spring. The FDA database shows that that generic Adderall manufacturer Alvogen, expects its shortfall to last until mid-April. Teva Pharmaceuticals, the country’s largest Adderall supplier, said that its problems with its brand-name versions of its fast-acting tablets are now resolved but still lists recovery dates for other formulations as “To Be Determined.”

However, Michael Ganio, senior director of pharmacy practice and quality at American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, recently told NBC News that he blamed the shortages more on an unexpected spike in demand than the manufacturing woes.

“All of our drug shortage infrastructure, and everything we have in place in this country to mitigate the impact of shortages is based on potential disruptions in supply,” Ganio told NBC. “It’s been very unusual to have a shortage based on increase in demand.”

The DEA calculates how much of a given drug ingredient is needed to meet demand, then allocates that precise amount, according to the NBC report. The problem, said Ganio, is how DEA uses historical data — meaning prescription numbers from previous years — to set these amounts. Now there’s a mismatch between DEA quotas and prescription numbers because the data did not account for the sharp increase in ADHD diagnoses during the pandemic, the report said.

Updated December 29, 2022 to reflect recent developments. 

Adding to the Adderall shortage woes, drug maker Janssen has quietly ended the production of its generic version of the ADHD medication Concerta, according to the website, ADHD Rollercoaster. The blog, which tracks topics related to adult ADHD, reported that production officially ends in mid-January 2023, although Janssen said it had already shipped the last of its supply. The discontinuation was also reported on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug shortages website page

The drug’s disappearance from the market means patients who relied on the generic will have to find a new alternative. Treatment costs are likely to rise depending on insurance and other resources, the blog said. And finding a pharmacy or supplier to fill new prescriptions may also prove challenging for many in light of the overall ADHD medication shortages.


Patients who depend on the medication Adderall to help manage their ADHD have known for months that there is a shortage of the drug. It doesn’t appear that shortage will be rectified anytime soon.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that it could be up to two months before the supply catches up with demand. Manufacturing delays caused by labor shortages at Teva Pharmaceuticals and other manufacturers who make the drug are partly to blame for the supply woes, the agency said.

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“Teva is experiencing ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays,” the FDA wrote on its website. “Other manufacturers continue to produce amphetamine mixed salts but there is not sufficient supply to continue to meet U.S. market demand through these producers.”

Until the shortage is relieved, an extended-release version of Adderall is an alternative for patients, pending approval by a doctor, the FDA post said.

The scant supply can be blamed on surging demand as well, the FDA added. 

The rate of Adderall prescription has been rising for over 20 years. There was a 15 percent increase in use of Adderall among people ages 22 to 44 from the year 2020 to the year 2021 alone, a review by Trilliant Health found. There was also a slight rise in use by people over the age of 45, the report noted. 

Why the uptick? Although ADHD is often thought of as a childhood diagnosis, it affects an estimated 10 million adult Americans; it often goes undiagnosed in patients past childhood and can lead to difficulties academically, at work and in life. The stress and isolation of working from home during the pandemic may have exacerbated the symptoms of adult ADHD plus many patients found it easier to obtain the drug as medicine shifted from in-person visits to telehealth. 

Patients having trouble filling their Adderall prescriptions are searching for alternatives, like asking friends to share, according to a CNN report. The report also said social media accounts are taking advantage of the situation by claiming to have a supply ready to ship. Consumers have no idea what they are really getting and should be on the lookout for scams.

Abruptly stopping the drug can exacerbate ADHD symptoms in some patients and may lead to withdrawal. Now is a good time to check in with your patients with ADHD to ensure their treatment plans are up to date.

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