The Adderall Shortage Is Real – Here’s How RxSS Helps Members

Compared to most manufactured products, pharmaceuticals have mostly managed to avoid major supply chain issues. But they do happen, and we’re in the midst of a notable one now.

Adderall is the 22nd-most prescribed drug in the U.S. with more than 26 million prescriptions written annually to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Here’s the latest on the shortage:

  • October 7: FIERCE Pharma reported that seven of the nation’s nine Adderall manufacturers are running low on supplies.
  • October 12: Teva, the largest generic Adderall manufacturer, said it expects its supply problems to last through March 2023.
  • On the same day: FDA officially announced a nationwide shortage of the most popular 10 mg, 20 mg and 30 mg immediate-release tablets.

This one can’t be pinned entirely on pandemic shutdowns or the Great Resignation. Periodic Adderall shortages have been happening since 2019. Demand has climbed steadily for the past decade. So have ADHD diagnoses. Some speculate this current shortage was driven by millions of kids returning to classrooms in August for the first time in months or years. Manufacturers can’t catch up overnight.

Adderall 20 mg recently entered Top 25 territory for all-time searches in the RxSS desktop and mobile app. We know members are scrambling to find pharmacies with their doses and formulations in stock. They’re also looking for alternatives and other clinical or fulfillment options.

A screenshot showing the search functionality within the Rx Savings Solutions member portalAn image of a list of the 25 most searched drugs by Rx Savings Solutions members in the desktop or mobile app

Assisting Affected Members

During this and other drug shortages, RxSS can be an invaluable resource for members:

  • Our portal and mobile app automatically show members their closest in-network pharmacies, as well as the drug’s price at each.
  • Members can search their current Adderall dose and form to find alternatives that their pharmacy or a different one might have in stock. A couple of common moves:
    – Switching from an immediate release tablet taken multiple times per day to an extended-release formulation in stock
    – Changing to a higher dose tablet and splitting along the scored lines, or the opposite—taking twice or three times the amount of an available smaller dose

Whether they show up as savings opportunities or search results, alternatives do exist in the ADHD drug class. Patients may have been prescribed Adderall after Vyvanse®, Concerta®, Focalin® or their generics were tried first with undesirable results or side effects. But maybe that’s not the case and an alternative can be tried or tolerated, at least until the shortage subsides.

Of course, any change to a different Adderall dose or formulation—or to an alternative, or even another pharmacy—will require a new prescription from the doctor. Members can request one with one click or call, and our Pharmacy Support team takes it from there. (Note: Depending on the patient, doctor and/or state laws, an office visit may be required.)

Adderall shortages may be common, but not every pharmacy in every region of the country has been affected. When calling around, if you find a pharmacy with sufficient supplies more than once, consider having your doctor transfer it there, even if it’s not your regular store. Since many patients can skip or halve a dose when not in school or working, that can help one fill last a few extra days each month. The key to avoiding an empty vial for days on end? Don’t wait until the last tablet is gone.

It’s never a pleasant experience when your regular pharmacy suddenly runs out of your daily medication, especially one that can be so critical to learning. However long the Adderall shortage lasts, more members will no doubt learn how RxSS can make the situation more manageable.