ADHD Medication Shortage Notice and Tips for Families
As many of you have experienced, we are in the midst of a national shortage of medicine used to treat ADD/ADHD. Both long acting and short acting, generic and brand name medicine quantities are extremely limited.
For a while, it seemed that with a little creativity, we could make it work to get you through, but it has only worsened as the months have gone on, and we are experiencing a flood of messages regarding your inability to find any medicine for your child. This is a national crisis, and we urge you to contact your elected officials and ask for some action.
In the meantime, here is a list of suggestions that may help:
- Be open to shopping around or getting your prescription at another local pharmacy. Instead of having us call in the prescription to a specific pharmacy, get a printed copy and bring it around to your local pharmacies. Because these are schedule II narcotics, pharmacies are not allowed to disclose information over the phone but can fill if you arrive with a prescription in-hand. This is frustrating and time consuming for busy families but is one way to get your child’s medication. (While our staff can often go the extra mile and make pharmacy recommendations, they are simply unable to call every pharmacy daily to know for sure which medications are available at each location.)
- Ask for partial fills. Sometimes a pharmacy may have 9 pills available. Take whatever you can get! We can always generate a new prescription if you need. Just let us know if you didn’t get a full 30 days.
- Think and plan ahead. Easier said than done, we know, but try putting a calendar alert in for every 30 days and request a refill at least a week before you are out of medicine in case you need to search for a pharmacy that can fill your child’s prescription.
- Look for generic or brand name versions. Sometimes the insurance prefers filling one or the other, and there may be a higher copay to get the non- preferred version, but it may be available. We can sometimes write for a prior authorization to get a brand name covered, if available.
- Try not to request a different medicine. Many of the most commonly used medicines are currently not in stock and unlike many other types of treatments, mental health medicines are not interchangeable. You and your provider have customized your child’s current regimen based on symptom relief and side effects, so it is not as easy as just “writing it for something else”. If your child has done well on different medications in the past, we are happy to write a prescription for something that has previously worked.
- Use math. Sometimes a pharmacy will have lower doses in stock that can be given in multiples. If your child takes Adderall XR 25 mg, ask if they have 10 mg and 15 mg pills in stock. We can then send over two prescriptions, and you will need to pay 2 copays, but will have the total of 25 mg a day. If they take methylphenidate CD 30 mg, ask for 10s and we can write for a different quantity of pills to make 30 mg per day.
- Be prepared for no medicine days. Let your child’s teacher and guidance counselor know that you are unable to access their medicine and ask about possible accommodations for days when they are unmedicated. Sometimes being able to get up and move more, doing every other problem for homework, or getting extended time for assessments can help your child be successful during their school day. We are happy to provide letters in support of a 504 plan if required for accommodations.
- While desperate times often call for desperate measures, please resist the temptation to “borrow” medicines from friends and family. These are tightly regulated medications, and they should ONLY be taken by the person for whom they are prescribed.
We are sorry for all the headaches this shortage is causing and we will do our very best to work together with you to make sure your child can maintain an uninterrupted treatment plan.