Thursday, November 10, 2011
There's an adderall shortage in the US. It's certainly not the first time it's happened. I hope it won't be the last time it happens. I know that there are some people in this world and in the school system who really and truly need adderall, but when the majority (that's not an exaggeration!) of my students are prescribed the same drug, I believe it's overdiagnosed. Here's something to compare it to: 85% of my students are prescribed a prozac. That might be nice and make my job easier, but I can't believe that in the long run, it will be good for them or help them. Here's an article about the shortage. What do you think?
A nationwide shortage of Adderall, a drug commonly prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has left local pharmacies with few options to fill customer orders.
Cheryl Bourg, a pharmacist with the University Student Health Center, said Adderall's raw ingredients are currently unavailable and are restricted by the federal government.
"For each narcotic, only a certain quantity can be produced in a year,"Bourg said. "That's why toward the end of the year there are theseshortages."
Bourg said many students who normally get medication elsewhere have been calling the Health Center to find availability for the drug.
"I'm surprised personally how many students use Adderall," she said. "It's a lot more than I had anticipated."
Bourg declined to comment as to whether the Health Center currently has Adderall tablets in stock.
Mike Anding, a pharmacist with Central Drug Store on Hooper Road, said they have been experiencing effects of the shortage like everybody else.
Anding said ADHD medication in the tablet form is depleted, and more expensive capsules are still available to consumers but in low supply.
"Manufacturers tell you what they want to tell you," he said. "Any ideas I have are pure conjecture. There was a big price increase before it went short, and we can probably look for another increase when or if they come back out."
Bourg said the Health Center does not ever carry Adderall capsules, which last longer than tablets.
A global specialty biopharmaceutical company called Shire manufactures Adderall, among other medications.
Shire cites the shortage to active pharmaceutical ingredient supply issues and uneven product distribution patterns as the reason for the shortage, according to the Food and Drug Administration website.
Teva Pharmaceuticals and Global Pharmaceuticals — companies that manufacture other brands of amphetamine mixed salts — list "[active pharmaceutical ingredient] supply issues" and "inadequate finished product supply to support current market demand," respectively, as reasons for the current drug shortage.
Benjamin Cornwell, assistant dean of students and director of Disability Services, said the shortage has been affecting students for a couple of months, but many students who require services already have accommodations in place.
"It's a little bit scary for a student who can't get medication," he said. "They can go through withdrawal or have to ration the dosage. It can throw mood and attitude out of whack and sleeping and eating patterns out of whack."
Cornwell said accommodations vary on a case-by-case basis, but commonly include extended time on tests, a stress-reducing environment for taking tests and assistance with class notes.
"I've had a couple students comment to me about having problems getting meds," he said. "Many already have accommodations in place, but if they're not registered they have to start the process. But so far we have not had anybody make special requests."
Margeaux Marks, computer science freshman, said she had heard about the shortage and was worried she wouldn't be able to get her prescription filled.
"If I couldn't get it, I would be screwed," she said. "I definitely would not have been able to function at school or even wake up for classes."
Marks said she called a Walgreens pharmacy and didn't have any problem getting medicine because she takes the capsules, not the tablets.
Anding said he is recommending customers convert to the capsules form of Adderall even though they are more expensive.
"It's price prohibitive for some people," he said. "Capsules are hundreds of dollars and tablets are far less than that.
Some people have to rearrange incomes because these medications have gone up and a lot of them need it to function at their jobs."
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