ADHD Medication Shortages: Has This Affected You?

It seems that the shortage of ADHD medication in the USA is lasting much longer than anyone thought it would.

In this article, it is explained that the shortage is related in part to the increased demand for ADHD medication, as well as the DEA controlling the amount of the active ingredient forwarded to the pharma companies to allow them to produce the medication.

It seems that the medications impacted are: Adderall XR, as well as generic Adderall, and generic methylphenidate.

The article referenced above has a quote from the director of the FDA drug shortages program. It’s interesting to me that the FDA has a program for drug shortages. It makes sense… and then the question is – what are they doing about this?

And why is it that it is predominantly the generic medications (which are cheaper and have less profit involved) which are having trouble with supply?

I’m really interested to hear what is happening on the ground out there. Please share your comments and experiences in the comments below:

  • Are you impacted by this shortage?
  • Have you been struggling to get the prescribed medication for yourself or your family member?
  • What have you done about it?
  • Have you had to purchase a much more expensive brand name product?
  • Have you taken less medication to ‘make your prescription last’?

Thanks for sharing your experiences. By sharing here, you can let people know what is happening – without it being ‘filtered’ by mainstream media.

Best,

Dr. Kenny

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Comments

  1. I had problems last month with my daughters generic focalin, hyvee couldnt fill it but walgreens could. This month same thing but walgreens couldnt even but walmart did. these are our only pharmacies in my area. I am afraid of next month none of the pharmacies having her meds. She has been on these for a couple years now and this is the first time we have had problems filling them. I am going to call her doc this week and see about a new med next month. But it took about 3 yrs of med tries to get this med to work. My daughter is 9 almost 10 now.

  2. Both my boyfriend and I suffer from severe adult ADD and have been told that no pharmacy in our area has any dosage of Adderall. I’ve done some research online and found that Adderall has been prescribed by Dietician’s to their overweight patients as a diet drug. I’m absolutely appalled that a regulated amphetamine is being used as a “get skinny quick” pill. It’s even more disturbing because I know what it’s like to be unable to function without my dosage. Real people are suffering from this shortage, I only have a weeks worth left and I’m a college student with mid-terms coming, and there are people filling the same prescription who have other methods available to deal with their problem. My only option is this medication. I’m worried that my grades will drop, which would hurt my financial aid eligibility, and that my work performance will suffer as well.

    Doctors, is it illegal to prescribe Adderall to patients without ADD/ADHD? Is dieting a legitimate use of this medication and are there other legitimate reasons for Adderall to be prescribed?

    • The FDA has approved Adderall for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. About prescribing it for weight loss, that is an “off-label” use. Physicians are NOT prohibited from prescribing medicines for such additional uses, and generally are permitted to prescribe medication as they see fit. Regulating off-label prescribing will lead to price increases. How? – The companies that do the testing required to get FDA approval to market a drug for a certain condition can then force other drugs that are being used for that same condition, but off-label, off the market. If you want to see an example, take colchicine, a drug used to treat gout, that went from $0.05-.06 a pill to $5.00-6.00 a pill – a hundredfold price increase! To hear about it, listen to the Diane Rehm show, 10:34 into the broadcast.
      http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2011-11-02/addressing-prescription-drug-shortages

  3. I ran out of medication. I also suffer from severe adult ADD. It is very frustrating that there is a shortage for this medication. It is even more frustrating to find out that this medication is being handed out as a diet pill. There are real people who need this medication to be able to function. I sent mine in the mail way before I ran out and they tell there is a shortage and don’t know when they are going to be able to any. What am I suppose to do? I need my medication to work. I feel you about college and mid-terms I been there. The best advice is try to take it every other day so you can have some left for your exams. I would also let your professors know what is going on. So they don’t think you are being lazy and don’t care. Good luck with school. I have heard coffee helps a little. Don’t drink soda it might cause the opposite affect. I am really stressed about not having medication now. Any suggestions how to cope?

  4. I was diagnosed w/ ADHD in 7th grade and put on Ritalin. It made me fall asleep in class all the time, I was borderline delirious. Switched to dexedrine in high school. dosage increases over the yrs then went completely off meds 2nd semester senior yr cuz it just started to feel wrong. got put on adderall when i went to college and dosage was upped quickly. Then i was forced to switch doctors and the stupid old B*TCH i saw accused me of being a “junkie” and said “you’ll never get these meds for the rest of your life, i’ll mark your file as misdiagnosis and if you don’t treat your addiction you’ll end up in jail or a psych ward” P.S. Thanks Dr. Patricia McCafferty for ruining the last 10 yrs of my life, i hope you’ve been fired from every position of power you’ve abused since!!! :P now i finally see a PA today for the first time in 10 yrs for my ADHD and she was wonderful and understood exactly how i feel and that my life’s slowly unraveled w/o meds and i can’t fill my scrip ANYWHERE! :( Adderall generic 30mg tabs apparently can only be found at the Walgreens in the UW campus area in Madison. kind of funny that it doesn’t exist anywhere but where there’s a bunch of exam-crunching college kids(all the walmarts near me said they won’t have more til march or april!!!) and can’t even substitute diff count of diff dosage cuz those are all gone too!!!! i’m so frustrated and can’t afford to try Vyvanse cuz my Medco plan said it’s over $120 for a 90day scrip but i actually don’t even know what my copay will be if i am ever able to fill the scrip i actually have……pretty fed up w/ the healthcare and insurance industries in general, don’t even get me started on the federal govt….it’s 3am, i’ve been up since 7:30am and still OFF meds my brain can’t stop til absolute exhaustion..

  5. I will echo the comments above- and know of one woman who has used this for refractory depression and had a breakdown and needed 10 days of hospitalization. She is a highly functional woman otherwise who works with teens with mental health problems.
    But the issue I wish to raise here is that this shortage has sparked so much hostility and negative remarks from t he public regarding usage of this drug that I find that perhaps more troubling. The issue of college kids using it- well, I am 62 and when I left for college my father told me to stay away from pep pills as apparently he used them when h e went to college in the 1940′s. I did not listen and used diet pills when I went to school.
    My children had significant issues with ADHD and due to medication are highly functioning adults-exceptional- given the degree of their ADHD and learning disabilities. Why Americans choose to go nuts on this seems to me typical- Ritalin and Pitbulls always will guarantee and audience- however the vast majority of patients using this medication need it and need it desperately- the joyous outpouring of nasty remarks represents an even greater threat to the possibility of being medicated as needed.

  6. I dropped off my son’s script for Concerta a couple days before he ran out. The pharmacy had it in stock, but we did not want to wait around, so I told them I’d pick it up the next day. The following day the pharmacist called and asked if we needed it that day, and if not, could we wait until tomorrow? (Perhaps another customer needed it.) I said, “Fine”. Of course, the following day it did not come in because of a “shortage”. Fortunately, the pharmacist made the effort to call around and found it in stock at a sister store, but I had to drive out immediately to pick up my son’s script, drive to the other store, then shop while waiting, and then drive home. Lesson? If they have it in stock, be sure to wait right there for it! In the meantime, I wonder what will happen next month. Should I give him a “holiday” on Saturdays to conserve? But his doctor said he should take it “every day”. And Concerta cannot be broken into smaller doses and stretched out. Dilemma.

  7. If you can get by on a half dose certain days, you can subdivide your Adderall XR. Get a piece of aluminum foil (about 7″ long and 5″ wide) and make a crease in the middle, lengthwise. Empty the contents of the capsule in the middle of the foil. Using a butter knife or plastic knife, distribute the tiny seeds alongside the crease. Then divide in half (you can eyeball it). Push half into a spoon or medicine cup or applesauce, and there is your reduced dose of the day. The other half you can wrap in the foil or return to the capsule. Also, if you take care to avoid eating fruit, you may find you can manage on the lower dose.

  8. To help put things in perspective, the shortage of ADHD drugs is bad, but other shortages that are going on are worse. My teenaged nephew has thyroid cancer. After his thyroid was removed, he was supposed to take a radiation pill to prevent the spread of any remaining cancerous cells. Because of a shortage his treatment was postponed for several months. I hear news of spreading shortages of many drugs in the US, Canada and the UK. I am also alarmed to hear that we are now entirely dependent upon third world countries for certain vital medications (antibiotics). Now that we realize that the production of our medicine is infected and contaminated by corporate greed, what will we do about it?

  9. As a 43 year old woman with ADD I find the whole “shortage” BS outrageous. Let’s not get into which drugs are “more important” than others. The fact is there are people, like me, who have been prescribed and are using a specific type of medication to treat a REAL medical condition. This medication allows them to live a “normal” life, for many many years. Now all of a sudden without any warning that specifically prescribed drug isn’t available anywhere. It wasn’t like we were warned not even a simple suggestion to start seeking possible alternative drugs for our current medication due to a possible shortage. So what are we to do? Their answer, “Just take something else.” Obviously these people don’t “really” understand what kind of disorder ADD is, or maybe they just don’t care. One person with ADD and another have nothing in common except for the actual name of the disorder they both suffer from. ADD isn’t like brain cancer, with brain cancer you know what it is, what area of the body that needs to be treated, and how to cure it. With ADD it isn’t that simple, ADD affects people differently, in different areas of the brain, and manifests symptoms differently from one person to the next. To say, “Just try a different drug” is a completely ignorant response to the drug shortage issue. The way Adderall helps someone with their ADD symptoms is completely individual to that person. There is even a difference when it comes to the efficacy of Adderall XR and the generic version for one person or another. One person may try Adderall XR and find no relief for their ADD symptoms. Then they’ll try the generic version and find it is the perfect fit for their own individual set of symptoms.

    I had to try three different types of ADD medication before I found help with Adderall. Not one of those first three medications worked for me for a variety of reasons. Many being the way my body processed and responded to the medication and where in my brain I specifically needed help. How anyone can just arbitrarily tell me to try something else is plain cruel. Then, when I finally give in and decide to try a different medication, amazingly enough – that one isn’t available either. In the last month I have tried to fill prescriptions for four different ADD medications. When I couldn’t get my regular generic Adderall I tried a different name brand Adderall equivalent. Well it turns out my insurance company won’t pay for any name brand drugs (even though there is no generic available) and the cost to me would be close to $400. Then I tried a different variation to that pill again my insurance wouldn’t pay, cost to me $350. Then I tried a completely different medication that didn’t have the same drug combination of Adderall but there was a generic version and, let’s face it, I was desperate. I go to the pharmacy and they don’t have that medication as well and don’t even know when they will be able to provide it to me. I asked if they had the name brand, and again, “Nope.” Now I wasn’t even getting any help in trying to find where I might fill my prescription.

    I am now living without the benefit of any medication for help. All because a bunch of dumb#$$%$ suits can’t get their collective #$$%$ together and decide to be happy with only a few billion dollars in profit instead of a few hundred billion. Then I think, “I’ve never heard of any kind of Viagra shortage, gee I wonder why.” For all those ignorant people who want to say were all a bunch of junkies addicted to Adderall -FYI- I’ve always needed to take a high dosage of Adderall for any ADD relief, 60mg twice a day (generic amphetamine salts) for the last 8+ years. Not once did I ever feel drugged, or “high”, in any way. It has been over two weeks now since I’ve taken any Adderall and I don’t feel like I’m experiencing any type of withdrawal symptoms. What has become apparent is the fact that I’ve started having the ADD problems I was having before I started taking any medication. When a person is first diagnosed with ADD they feel a bit skeptical and aren’t very sure how any medication could be helpful. That’s because they’ve been living and coping with ADD for so long you don’t even know what “normal” feels like. Now that I’ve been living a “normal” life for the last 10 years it is painfully obvious how ADD affects my life.

    If Adderall was a drug that helped the deaf hear would there be a shortage or be impossible for the deaf to find? I don’t think so. Yes, many people abuse Adderall maybe the DEA should focus more on how Adderall is making its way to the drug dealers for them to sell. Instead of punishing the people who actually have a need for the drug to live a productive and satisfying life. And to all the Money Grubbing @##$%$# drug manufacturing companies, shame on you, shame on you for arbitrarily playing with a person’s quality of life just so you can make a buck. And we wonder what’s wrong with this country? One reason may be the loss of any character in our governmental departments and those people underneath them. Our country is a mirror of us all, unfortunately there are a bunch of selfish, deceitful, power hungry, characterless people out in front ruining it for everyone else.

  10. I have been on meds for ADHD for years and did great on generic focalin and the only med of any kind I can find is Vyvanse and Methylin ER… and they are both horrible drugs…

  11. This situation is outrageous. I’m an adult ADD patient and need my meds to make a living. It was briefly reported on the internet that this shortage is due to a DEA action in 2010 that restricted the availability of the ingredients, but those stories have disappeared from the internet. I wonder why?

    Alternative meds are available, at $180 per month, with a discount card, but I can’t afford this, and the alternatives don’t work as well. Who is the government to second-guess my physician?

    This nanny government which thinks it can dictate everything to everyone is the problem. A free market ensures that goods get supplied to those who need them. Goods are only unavailable when markets aren’t free, and only the government can foul them up.

    This problem isn’t being caused by dieters, but rather by politicians.

  12. I have to see my doc on Wednesday because my insurance has me under a “utilization management review” because in November my generic focalin prescription was short and I had to go to a different pharmacy for the same dose in Ritalin and that didn’t work so it was doubled and I went to get a new one early… the letter kept mentioning “If” I am approved for this medicine in the future I am subject to quantity limits…

    basically what worked well for me was on back order, I had to go to one place to get one rx filled and back to my usual one and because they paid for 3 prescriptions of meds in one month even though they were legit and for a legit reason, I am being accused of being a drug seeker… I have taken these meds since I was a child… this is absolutely absurd…

    and I can’t stand these methylin ER pills either… they are worthless…

  13. I am a MBA student, also about to sit for the Bar a second time. For someone with time managment issues, this has been a disaster. I have been botching group work, remissing deadlines left and right, and generally not developing a strong academic or professional network. I was and B+/A- student before. I’m fighting, tooth and nail, to avoid being kicked out of my program now.

    Honestly, what is the hold up?

  14. I have called nearly every Walgreens, Costco, CVS, Walmart King Soopers and SafeWay in the state of Colorado to fill prescriptions for generic add & adhd medication and none is stock and on back order indefinately. SO what can i do

  15. Wake up please :)

    1. The powers that be do not give a dammm .
    This sounds like a FDA big pharma power profit trip ..

    2. Do some RESEARCH and consider natural based stimulants.
    Research any potential side effect. Consider an herb or herbal combo. Herbs take at least 6 week to fully work, in many cases.
    Aside from that, consider and research the many other natural supplements and treatments:: all have far less side effects than ADD ADHD drugs.

    3. Why do you think that the FDA is always trying to ban natural substances….?
    Big pharma cannot patent natural supplements.

    4. Please remember the ‘news’ on the main 3 TV networks is largely supported by a mega Billion dollar drug industry.

    5. Adrenals … the body is a System.

    6. And yes my hearts go out to those of you that have posted.

    7. 2 books I recommend::

    One is called “Prescription for Natural Healing”.

    A better one for this topic is by Gary Null, PHD:
    “The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing”.

    Scott N.P , H.H.P.

  16. I have taken this add med dex. for years. I am raising kids and as of one dose am out of meds. This is terrifying and I amconcerned even about the driving issue. God help the reason better not be greed this is horrible and especiaLLY during the holidays. Street drugs are easier to obtain than real medicine/ only in USA.

  17. The shortage of generic Adderall absolutely affected me. I have been taking this drug for over 7 years, and it has always worked very well for me. I take Barr generic 10mg tabs, two early in the AM, one at lunch. I have always purchased my meds from the same Costco pharmacy, and paid about $25-$30 dollars per script. Until August 2011, when the price quadrupled to over $110. The next month, I went to the same costco, but they didn’t have it. I drove to three different Costco’s that day, and ultimately went an entire week without my script. This is really bad for those of us who have to go to work and earn a living. The next month, Costco didn’t have anying in stock, so I went to CVS pharmacy, who filled the prescription in 3 days at a cost of about $90. when I opened the bottle, I thought they gave me the wrong prescription because the pills were not blue ovals, they were round ovals (EON generic). I didn’t think anything of it until days later after I noticed how draggy I was. I felt like a sleepy moron with the IQ of a wooden spoon. So, the next month, I avoided the CVS, and drove 30 miles to a Costco across town. Unfortunately, $89 later, I discovered that even Costco was using the EON generic.

    I have been taking this prescription for a very long time, and I am always worried about addiction, about drug seeking behavior, and asking for increases in the prescription. My script is for 3 tabs a day, but this month, I have had to take 4-5 tabs and I am still in a foggy state of narcolepsy. People at work are starting to notice, and now my job is on the line.

    So, now I have to go face my doctor and tell him I have been over-taking my prescription for the last 10 days, and pray that he does not consider me some kind of amped up mom-gone-wild.

  18. Yes it has affected me. I have been on Ritalin/Generic for over 10 years and I am currently a Web Developer. A job that can’t be done when I am off the medication…like right now! I mean maybe if I was a teenager at a Friday night party or a circus clown it wouldn’t be a big deal. But working in an environment where you can literally hear a pin drop…and having to do web programing off the medication is pretty impossible!!! And that is why I am writing this and not getting work done. Do they have any idea what this is like? It is like getting a lobotomy and then having to show up for work! It’s a struggle to stay on task 10 minutes let alone 10-11 hours! This is really really messed up. And I don’t really complain about anything but come on this isn’t right.

  19. After trying close to a dozen antidepressant-anxiety medications that not only did not help me, but gave me horrible side-effects, my doctor gave me a test for ADD. I scored way off the chart! She then prescribed me adderall and like magic I was a different person. The “motor” that always seemed to be running was calmed; my depression disappeared.
    I have been taking adderall for a number of years and was doing just fine.
    Then came the time I went to have my prescription filled out to only be told, “We don’t have it.” Pharmacy after pharmacy told me the same.
    So, left untreated, my old anxieties and depressed state of mind returned.
    And, it is bad enough that I am not getting the treatment I need, but after years of using this medication I naturally had built a dependency upon it so I now also suffer from withdrawal.
    It is a really sick government power play to use ill people as pawns to serve their own agenda.
    Before Obamacare things like this never happened to the best of my knowledge. Obamacare wants people needing medications to “beg,” for them.

  20. I am a 28 year old male, father of 2 boys (7-9), small business owner, fulltime college student, and the sole provider for my family of four. I have been on IR Adderall for 10 years and I am at 30mg 2-3 times a day.
    My life was once a long shot from normal and productive, from the age of 4 – 15 I struggled to survive as an unmedicated ADD/ADHD diagnosed kid. I saught my own way to medicate myself since my Father had been 100% against having “an only son with the forbidden ADHD label”. HEROIN, first snorting but only a few weeks agter my discovery of this “sunshine in a bag” I was shooting the stuff. Really though, that stuff brought me down to a livable and manageable speed, a plain that was comfortable and gave me the break i had been waiting for all those years.
    Needless to say, that lifestyle only lasted from the age of 15 up to my early twenties, and stopped so fast that it took 18 months of very expensive rehab to recoop. I now have 6 1/2 years clean and sober, a Hep C infected liver, kidney disease, PTSD (some bad experiences i made it thru during my addiction days), and of course ADD/ADHD.
    Its amazing that a human being can overcome an obstical in life, such as heroin addiction, but cant cope with ADD/ADHD without medicine! And thats the damn truth too, especially for those of us who were diagnosed and medicated before entering college. Now since the fricken shortage presented its self, my life has become a F****** joke again, I feel more worthless than I did when I was sticking 15-20 needles in my arms a days. This shortage is F-ing BS. This shortage has stomped a GD hole is what used to be my almost perfect life, the life that i didnt want nor did I care to live it (for the first 1/2 – 3/4 of my 28 yrs). Everything was perfect; honor roll, business 80% of the last 8-9 yrs.

    Present day-
    I have to go to court on march 23rd for a misdameanor Larceny from Home Depot because I walked out of the store with a strip of staples for my nail gun, walking to my truch 20′ outside of entrance (to see if the staples fit my gun, instead of bringing in my staplegun!….. such an iddiot). And I wrote a statement basically saying I stole the damn things when i honestly did not. On March 19th i have a second court date for a second misdameanor from Belks, for putting on a longsleeved t-shirt that i was going to buy, but after having it in my hands or over my shoulder as I aimlessly walked around the store for over 1 1/2 hrs, I ended up walking out without pa2ying; not remembering I had the thing on my body! As i smoked a cigeratte just outside the entrance to Belk, these 2 loss prevention guys came up behing me and grabbed me…. After i asked what the hell their problem was, the told me the problem was the shirt i stole from their store. My response was “do you see a F****** shirt it my F****** hands, you gd dumbasses?”. The only dumbass was me though because they pointed out that i was wearing the shirt, not holding in my hands. God, I still feel like a moron, I am ashamed of what happened even though I didnt purposely leave with out paying for it. Then they wouldnt let me buy it even after i let them call the cops and give me a citation…. But since i had been rationing my pills for a couple months, i hadnt even taken a single pill that day and this happened at 7:00 pm! Both of these incidences happened because of the damn government and its stupid policy’s with controlled medications and their set limits for the pharmacuitcal’s ingredients… Which I have to say it the biggest crock of shit I have heard, well since Obama was elected anyways…. LMFAO….
    Can ya’ll imagine how the judge will react if I tell him/her what I just told all of you? They will with out a doubt laugh in my face if I told her what happened to me. As if I’m not embarrased enough and dont feel like a midget living in a gaints world. Thays ok because i have let myself be something to laugh at (a dumb druggie) in the past and I will never do anything that would make me feel that way again; even though when getting both citations I felt that way, and no one forced me to walk out with the stuff. In other words, theres no way in hell that i am going to put the spot light on myself as u turn the entire court room into my own Saturday Night Live skit…. its just not my style folks… lol
    To make a long story short, this shortage had weakend my grasp on life in many ways, including ways I didnt list above; No longer being on the honor roll, being cited for shoplifting twice in 45 days, and my overall quality of life nosediving from a 100 % to a percentage below 50 has been a great tradgity;

    A SHORTAGE OF THIS KIND, MAGNITUDE, AND THE SEVERITY, AS WELL AS THE PERCENTAGE OF AMERICANS WHOM IT EFFECTS, IS A TRADGITY. A GREAT FALURE AND INJUSTICE HAS BEEN DONE TO THE LIVES OF MANY AMERICANS WHO ARE DEPENDANT ON OUR OWN GOVERNMENT. OUR GOVERNMENT CONTROLS A MEDICINE THAT IS THE KEY FOR MANY OF ITS CITIZENS ABILITY TO SURVIVE, SUCH AS: FUNCTION PROPERLY, WORK, LEARN IN SCHOOL, BE PRODUCTIVE, BE HAPPY, ETC. MOREOVER, IN 2012 OUR GOVERNMENT, THE STRONGEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD,COULD/SHOULD HAVE AVOIDED THIS PROBLEM AS IT CAN AND SHOULD DO WITH MOST OF THE ISSUES THAT EFFECT OUR COUNTRY. ONCE AGAIN WE HAVE BEEN FAILED BY NONE OTHER THAN OUR OWN F****** GOVERNMENT.

    ALL I KNOW IS THAT IM OVER THE GOVERNMENT CONTROLLING EVERYTHING BECAUSE AS WE ALL KNOW, EVERYTHING THEY TOUCH TURNS TO SHIT.
    (IT MAKES ME NOT WANT TO FILE MY DAMN TAXES THIS YEAR… WHY SHOULD I MAKE MY CONTRIBUTION WHEN I CANT EVEN GET MEDICATION THAT I NEED CUZ OF THEIR GD REGULATIONS? THEY WILL HAVE TO TAKE MY BLOOD IF THEY WANT ANY TAX DOLLARS FROM ME THIS YEAR)

  21. It has affected me, I had to go for 3 months without my 2nd dose of Adderall during the day. I have to buy the brand instead of generic which is $155 instead of $20. It sucks

    With all due to respect to Scott- Natural herbal supplements don’t work. People with ADHD have a brain deficiency, we don’t produce dopamine like the rest of you. Big Pharma, is the only reason i have a life today. I can work, drive, and function like the rest of the world.
    I know you mean well, and I do appreciate your advice.

  22. ADHD meds/insulin/blood glucose/hormones

    Make sure you know if your hormones and blood sugar levels are balanced or not! These issues may be playing a bigger role that we realize, and if we educate ourselves to find out if these may be a real factor in our mental/physical health then it might also lead to finding a better drug for us than one of the drugs that is currently on the shortage list!

    If you have diabetes (1 or 2), might have diabetes, are obese, have ever had hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic symptoms then you NEED TO MONITOR YOUR LEVELS! Low insulin levels in your system will render a stimulant medication USELESS. Ask any woman who has felt her meds didn’t work during specific parts of her cycle and you will see what I mean.

    I am going through this now- I have had hormone imbalances for at least several years and knew that there must be some kind of blood sugar component going along with it because of my symptoms. Spikes in estrogen or just high estrogen levels cause issues with insulin (like insulin resistance), which can cause you to have hypoglycemia (low) or high levels of blood sugar. You might be craving sugary things when your blood sugar is already high, and eat more sugar and create more problems. A vicious cycle.

    I was finally diagnosed just over a year ago (with ADD, I am 42) and have noticed that my recurring bouts of severe hypoglycemia countered with what I call “hormone headaches” have been getting worse. Even as I was losing weight and trying to increase my physical activity and found that the meds made me less impulsive with food, I was still having these episodes at the same time each month and new symptoms were showing up and old ones were getting worse. The mid-cycle peak at ovulation (especially when it kicks hormone levels abnormally high) will really screw with your blood sugar/insulin levels. I am now monitoring my blood sugar and keeping a record to show my doctor, on top of all the records I’ve accumulated on my hormone and other health problems.

    So how would ADHD have anything to do with hormones or diabetes? The way they work and the way you treat them are all tied together. Hormones affect the brain, signals are sent or are not sent, the endocrine system needs to be in balance to function properly, and if you have ADHD and need to be on medication, you better know you have healthy insulin levels in order for your stimulant meds to work. If you are a woman and already know you have hormone issues and how they affect you, start keeping records now. If you can afford to get a blood glucose monitor and maintain the supplies for a couple of months, then do it. Keep good records. You will probably find that for a period of 3/5/7 days (maybe even more than once a month) that you have times where your blood sugar is less than 70 or shooting up over 150. If you do, you have issues to address.

    Low blood sugar, have a couple lifesavers or some orange juice to bring the levels up within 15 minutes, then have a small meal with complex carbs to stretch out the glucose for a few hours to keep things stable. You will need to eat small amounts of healthy foods every 2-3 hours to try to regulate the insulin so that your meds have a better chance of working.

    And guys, you can have problems with estrogen, too. And even testosterone imbalances might possibly be worth looking into, especially if you think you are low-T and have times where it doesn’t feel like the meds work. Monitor your blood glucose when you don’t feel quite right and see if it reveals anything.

    If women like me are essentially throwing our money away on pills that are useless when we have these hormone peaks, is there a better alternative medication that will circumvent these problems, or should we just wait it out without meds until the levels even out again? Is it even possible to keep the insulin where it needs to be so that the meds will work during these times, or are there other hormonal factors we have to consider that will still just mess things up for us anyway?

    I want affordable meds that WORK and WORK ALL THE TIME, that I don’t have to run all over the county trying to find or have to switch from because I can’t get them and need SOMETHING so I can function. Can a non-stimulant operate like Adderal capsules, be affordable, and not be on a shortage list?

    If you think any of this might be describing you, please read this post and the associated research studies:
    http://adhd-treatment-options.blogspot.com/2009/05/adhd-methylphenidate-and-blood-sugar.html

    From my own perspective, I know the insulin is a part of the problem. I have multiple health issues I have been trying to sort out, and most of them seem to be coming back to a pretty narrow path, and everything affects everything else. It could turn out that a huge pile of seemingly unrelated symptoms are really actually caused by this touchy interplay of human hormones, which can pinpoint other things that might need to be addressed (like endocrine/adrenal issues).

    And $140 is too much to pay for meds that aren’t working! I want my Adderal capsules back! (well, at least for most of the month…)

    Good luck to everyone, and stay proactive.

  23. Nicole- please don’t call it a “brain deficiency”- it’s just a *difference*. Not everybody has the same levels of everything in their systems. We can concentrate and focus just fine when we’re involved in something that really interests us. We just tend to not want to bother with the boring things, but the problem is with our modern society that says everybody needs to focus on that boring stuff the majority of the time. We rebel against being a part of the herd and doing what we’re told, we think outside the box and want to be happy and to find joy in our lives. That’s not a deficiency- that’s a gift.

    If we were allowed to play all day, and to learn new things while we are playing, and to do work that engages us and uses our gifts- then we would have happy lives that aren’t filled with anxiety and depression because then our lives wouldn’t be full of trying to live up to other people’s expectations (or what we think their expectations are). How boring it must be to be the status quo! I’d much rather bask in my wild ideas and endless tangents. We are the innovators and the world-changers- we constantly wonder why and why not and ask the questions other people don’t think to ask.

    ADD/ADHD meds can help us function in this modern society we have and be productive in more tangible ways (because aren’t we all judged by how productive and efficient we are?). This shortage is only because of bureaucracy and red tape – what was intended to stop meth abuse/production didn’t have a way out when more people were diagnosed and then they began medication or people already on it had dosages increased. If you have to put in paperwork to get the supplies you need to produce the meds and you base your future numbers on the exact same numbers you currently have, then what will you do when suddenly those “numbers” need a larger supply- and oh, oops! There’s all the new people who are now needing some too, and oh no, now their dosages are being increased… Now there’s not enough to get through the winter! So you file more paperwork to get more supplies from the entity that controls them, which is a longer wait and results in them not giving you as much as you asked for…

    So heck, while we twiddle our thumbs wondering when we’ll get some more supplies to get our meds back into production, why don’t we go ahead and price gauge the supply that’s left in stock so we can make some money off this down time? Sounds great! Let’s double the price! No, wait, let’s quadruple it! Yay for us! We get to stay in business!

    Speaking of tangents…

    Don’t knock what you haven’t tried (and tried vigilantly for long periods of time). Natural supplements CAN work for some people but maybe not for others. Some meds work for some people but not for others. Diet and lifestyle changes are good things that can help the other things you are doing to take care of yourself- whether you’re on meds or supplements or nothing. Meditation, counseling, hiring a coach, having a support system- these can all help you. There is no single guaranteed treatment plan that works exactly the same for everyone, so it is up to you to give everything a chance to find what works best. Things happen in life that we have to deal with, like medication shortages that are out of our control, being laid off and losing health insurance so we can’t afford counseling and maybe not even the cheapest meds. But there are other options out there that may help you no matter what your circumstances are. YOU have to do the work to find them. Ask for help if you need it, and keep asking until you find the one who can help you.

    Never rely 100% on one thing to get you through (the “magic pill”). With the shortages, we can see how destructive that reliance can be. Our reactions to the shortages and fears about the “what ifs” if we can’t get our meds can be many times worse than the actual experience of going without our medication. Stop the negative cycle and find the positive things to focus on. Give yourself more time to do the harder things, get more sleep, make time to make yourself relax and shift gears into a better state of mind (meditate).

    And please, folks, never NEVER take more than what the doctor has prescribed. First, that can be dangerous and might just be your impulsivity coming back out because the different medication doesn’t work for you. Second, when you run out of meds because you took too many too fast, you may find yourself cut off from meds for the rest of the month (or longer) because the doctor doesn’t want to write you a new prescription just in case you are abusing it. If it doesn’t feel like it’s working, it’s probably not, so why take more? Call the doctor for advice.

    And if you are a woman who has estrogen peaks (especially if you are mid-30s and older) or periods of time where your estrogen is too high (you wouldn’t know it without a blood test), that will affect your insulin and blood glucose levels which in turn can prevent your medication from doing it’s job. Taking more pills during these times probably won’t do a darned thing for your focus and attention, but could do bad things for the rest of your body (especially your heart).

    The medication shortage won’t last forever, but don’t freak out through it and let your life fall to pieces. Even if you have to tell your boss you are having a hard time because you are off your meds or on a lower dose, or went to a different one that doesn’t work as well- then tell your boss. Lean on the people you can trust- that’s what they’re there for. Find more people you can trust, and ask them for help. And remember to find a way to show them your appreciation or pay them back in kind.

    It’s easy to freak out, but why freak out when the help you need may be standing right in front of you? Keep your stress levels down, reduce your obligations, and find the people who can help you figure out some ways to make it easier to get through. And be sure to say “No” to the ones who are asking too much of you.

    • Belinda~ I found your comment interesting: ” And if you are a woman who has estrogen peaks (especially if you are mid-30s and older) or periods of time where your estrogen is too high (you wouldn’t know it without a blood test), that will affect your insulin and blood glucose levels which in turn can prevent your medication from doing it’s job.” THIS IS SOOOO ME!! Not only does my medication barely work, I have about 5 days where I am ravenous!! I don’t depend on medication, only use it here and there. Is there anything you recommend (natural substances) to help my brain during this mid point in my cycle? I am 44, and things are getting worse with age. Thanks!

      • I guess the only “cure” is getting past menopause! All I can think of is to just make sure blood sugar/insulin levels stay within a certain range, and the best way to probably do that is to avoid the “junky” sugars and eat smaller meals every 2-3 hours- balance the protein and complex carbs so it will hopefully keep the insulin steady and allow things to work properly. But then again, estrogen has a mind of it’s own and it might not matter what we do, it will just mess things up anyway! I’m still trying to keep track of things to see if I can make a difference, but those blood glucose test strips are expensive, so I am usually only doing one test a day and then more if I’m not feeling so good. If there is a test with results too high or low, then I try to do another test during the day and see what that shows. It’s a lot of work, but helps you see the pattern so hopefully in the future I’ll be able to guess where my levels are and be pretty accurate, and try to be more careful with food, sleep, etc., during those times and maybe the meds will have a better chance. Good luck!

  24. Belinda- didn’t mean to offend, I was trying to make a point. I have tried natural supplements and my life was hell. I get very defensive when people say, u don’t need Adderall, try natural supplements. It’s my own issue, not anyone else’s. Because ADHD can’t be seen in an X-ray, there are some that think it’s made up. I’m hypersensitive to that. If I offended u, I am
    truly sorry. We have an enzyme in our brain that breaks down dopamine and norepinephrine faster than those without the enzyme.

  25. My son just started adhesive meds& is trying concerts for the first time ever taking a prescription drug@ dose of course(seems 2 make a slight difference,wich is really a huge improvement ) I called 3 pharmacys to see if they carried it. 2 didn’t&1 had to order as they don’t keep it in stock but do sell it for sum reason& it would only be 24hrs after turning in the security script but Costco(wich has wonderful low prices @ least on my meds I take a pill that costs almost $45
    everywhere elese but@ less then half that,although sum months it yoyo’s. Slightly no more then $5 diff either
    way)& just to let those who have high copays or no issuance u
    can Google patient assistance for —–meds. My Dr sent us to
    human resources & they helped us fill out a form with Johnson &Johnson prescription assistance program(not shure if this is only offered for concerts,but that’s what they approved us for)& they sent a card in the mail after we revived the acceptance letter& THEY PAY FOR A FULL MONTHS SUPPLY EVERY MONTH,NO COPAY!!!!we where really worried about affording this every month,so this was a godsend& I know they have help 4 diff meds.sum are coupons tho.but hey beats trying to come up with over 200 every month,when we are already eatting speggiiti/hamburger helper 4 times a week!

  26. My son just started adhd meds& is trying concerta for the first time ever taking a prescription drug@ dose of course(seems 2 make a slight difference,wich is really a huge improvement ) I called 3 pharmacys to see if they carried it. 2 didn’t&1 had to order as they don’t keep it in stock but do sell it for sum reason& it would only be 24hrs after turning in the security script but Costco (wich has wonderful low prices @ least on my meds I take a pill that costs almost $45
    everywhere elese but@ less then half that,although sum months it yoyo’s slightly,no more then $5 diff either
    way)& just to let those who have high copays or no issuance u
    can Google patient assistance for______meds. My Dr sent us to
    human resources & they helped us fill out a form with Johnson &Johnson prescription assistance program(not shure if this is only offered for concerta, but that’s what they approved us for) they sent a card in the mail after we recived the acceptance letter& THEY PAY FOR A FULL MONTHS SUPPLY EVERY MONTH,NO COPAY!!!!andits for a whole year as long as we remain near what we put in the form(income insuance coverage if we have it)&@end of year we just reapply. we where really worried about affording this every month,so this was a godsend& I know they have help 4 diff meds.sum are coupons tho.but hey beats trying to come up with over 200 every month,when we are already eatting speggiiti/hamburger helper 4 times a week!

  27. I had been having own prescriptions filled through mail order via Caremark using a discount card provided by the AAA (automotive association). Caremark will no longer fill ADHD controlled prescriptions for people who do not have health insurance – even at full price. So, if you do not have health insurance that will cover the price of the meds (comprehensive insurance costs thousands $$$$ and thousands $$$$ a year), they will NOT fill your prescription. Plus, the physical script when you want it back – well, good luck getting it. Mine was supposedly mailed back to me a month ago, but no sign of it.

    Yes, they are in cahoots and collusion with the health insurance companies.

  28. I not only suffer from ADD, but also have Narcolepsy. In order for me to drive, I need my meds, else I’m extremely prone to falling asleep behind the wheel (which is how I was diagnosed). I have less than one month’s prescription of the generic Ritalin left, which I realize is no longer available. The government can claim “regulation” all they want, however the truth comes down to the old “profit margin”! I can get the name brand “Ritalin” at a cost of $400 for a 90 day supply, problem is, is that I CANNOT AFFORD it!! Nor can I help, or do anything about, punks getting their hands on a drug that others depend on for the lives, and selling it on the street. Not to mention the idiot that buys that drug deserves to be ripped off! I say this because my prescription calls for me to take two 20 milligram pills EVERY three hours, while awake (I know, I don’t know why “while awake” is there, but it is). This means I’m supposed to take eight 20 milligram pills daily, and NO, the sustained release does not work for me.

    I just hope and pray that if something (God forbid) were to happen to one of my kids, that my husband would be at home at that time to rush them to the hospital! Else, if I had to and fell asleep behind the wheel, then I can only assume that the real liability would lie /w the DEA for not allowing my meds to be available to me as my neurologist writes out my prescriptions every three months when I go in for my regular visits and checkups.

  29. I have not been able to get the prescription drugs I need, and that my doctor prescribed for me for over a decade because of the DEA quotas, big Pharma’s need to make HUGE profits, the FDAs need to justify their existence and of course “the war on drugs” to maintain appearances.
    Those of us who take stimulants, our doc is the educated professional who makes the diagnosis and writes the Rx, not the guy who reads this blog, or the pharmacy tech, or whomever, have as much a right to take our drug as we have a right to take our thyroid drug, oe you have to take your insulin, or birth control. Dextroamphetamine is NOT a lifestyle drug.
    I either function or I don’t. It is terribly humiliating to go to the two pharmacies in town every month only to be told, sorry, we’re all out of that, and then have to drive 35 or 40 or 100 miles to find a pharmacy that can fill a different prescription that doesn’t work as well for me.
    And funny isn’t it, that big Pharma doesn’t have any trouble at all keeping up with the demands of the erectile dysfunction crowd. As long as they’re making a fortune and we’ve got men running around as happy as clams the rest of us can be damned.

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