(NewsNation) — Americans who rely on Adderall and other attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications are still struggling to fill their prescriptions months later as an ongoing shortage is making it hard for companies to meet demand.
Now, many are taking to social media to share their frustrations over the shortage, with some claiming that the prescriptions they were able to fill aren’t working as they used to or not at all.
The terms “ADHD medication” and “ADHD meds not working” are even trending on TikTok, with videos attracting hundreds of thousands of views.
Health officials said that if anyone has questions regarding the effectiveness of their medication, they should talk with their doctor and ask if there has been a change in dosage or a change in manufacturer.
The shortage was confirmed in October by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which said in a statement, “There is not sufficient supply to continue to meet U.S. market demand.”
Teva, the most prolific generic producer of the drug, said it has experienced ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays. The company originally expected the supply problems to last through March, according to a Bloomberg report.
However, with the spike in diagnoses and the FDA capping production based on numbers from prior years, it’s difficult for government agencies to pinpoint an end to the shortage.
The demand for these medications has grown significantly over the past few years, taking government agencies like the FDA by surprise and setting drug companies and manufacturers back on production.
In 2021, Adderall, both generic and branded, was prescribed 41.4 million times in the U.S. This is up more than 10% from 2020, according to IQVIA.
Reports from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal suggest an ADHD diagnosis, and therefore an Adderall prescription became easier to obtain and more popular during the pandemic.
ADHD services are becoming readily available online in response to a growing awareness of mental health and an increasing demand for telehealth.
Prescriptions for adults between 22 and 44 years old increased by 58% between 2018 and 2022, according to Trilliant Health, an analytics company that reviews insurance claims.
Some online services diagnosed people with ADHD remotely after a 30-minute video call, according to The Wall Street Journal. The report states this is much faster than a typical diagnosis from an in-person psychiatrist.
Psychotherapist Dr. Lisa Palmer said there’s a real problem in this culture where people think that medication is the only answer to every problem. She explained a lot of people are turning to pills as a way to cope.
But now, she said people are finally waking up and realizing that these pills are not working, so they are now trying to get to the actual root of their problems.
“We’ve developed this addicted generation, where you have depletions of dopamine — a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for focus — and a lot of people are turning to even illegal drugs to try to self-medicate to bring their dopamine levels up,” Palmer said.
She said the reality is there are other reasons why people might not be able to focus.
“It could be anything from a hormonal imbalance, drinking too much coffee, having a bad lifestyle, having thyroid hormone imbalances, having gluten sensitivities, food allergies, there are all kinds of things that can really affect someone’s focus,” Palmer explained.
Palmer recommended that people undergo the proper tests to see what’s going on hormonally. She said once that is all straightened out, then people can find the most effective treatment to help them cope with their diagnosed issues.
NewsNation writer Tom Palmer contributed to this report.