‘I don’t want to plan my life around a medication that I am prescribed’: A recent ADHD diagnosis and the struggle to treat it amid the ongoing Adderall shortage

Engle was prescribed Adderall at the beginning of the year, but getting the medication has been challenging.
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 10:27 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A few months ago Megan Engle was diagnosed with ADHD at 25 years old.

She said being able to treat the condition she’s been battling her entire life has been life-changing.

“Before I would have my own ways of coping with not being able to attend to certain tasks or get things done because I was overwhelmed. And just knowing that I have that medication to kind of relieve that part, I was able to complete tasks on time, able to just like, think clearly, honestly, that’s like the biggest thing that I’ve noticed is like thinking clearly and knowing that even if something does happen, I can take a step back and then figure it out,” Engle said.

Engle was prescribed Adderall at the beginning of the year, but getting the medication has been challenging.

“It was like February 3, and they’re like, ‘We can refill it February 17.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my goodness,’” Engle said. “So, I called my doctor. And I was like, ‘Okay, do we just stop? Do I try a different medication? Do I go to generic, and see if they have generic? Or do I stay on the brand and just hold treatment for now.’ And I ended up calling like three or four pharmacies to see if they had it in stock.”

She said there’s a price to pay without the medication, so she’s willing to pay a little more so she doesn’t have to suffer.

“Once I did switch it actually tripled the cost of it just so I could get it. And I was like, at least I had like HSA money because I wasn’t planning in my budget to spend that.”

There’s been an Adderall shortage for six months now, and Engle fears that things will only get worse.

“As I continue on with treatment, and the more my body gets used to it, knowing that I may have 10 days without it and having to either plan that and be like okay, I’ll take it every other day, or I won’t take it on the weekends stresses me out I don’t want to plan my life around a medication that I am prescribed,” Engle said.

The FDA says manufacturers have gotten their supply back to normal, but now the demand is far outweighing the supply.

“And I can’t imagine the people who have been very consistent on treatment for ADHD. Finally, like, experiencing the shortage too because it’s a medication that if you miss a day, it’s a very big difference, because of just like, the effects and how it is used every day,” Engle said. “I finally see like differences in my day-to-day life in a month of taking one simple little medication. And knowing that I wouldn’t be able to get it, or I would have to struggle to get it was difficult.”

The FDA sent the following statement to WECT about the shortage:

“The FDA recognizes the potential impact that increased demand of certain products may have on health care providers and patients. While the agency does not manufacture drugs and cannot require a pharmaceutical company to make a drug, make more of a drug, or change the distribution of a drug, the public should rest assured the FDA is working closely with numerous manufacturers, agencies, and others in the supply chain to understand, mitigate and prevent or reduce the impact of intermittent or increased demand of certain products.”

In regard to Adderall, the current shortage was first posted on Oct. 12, 2022, and started with a delay from a manufacturer, which has since been resolved, and is now demand-driven. Manufacturers are working to meet the demand and the FDA is helping with anything we can do to increase supply. Supply is increasing and the FDA is continuing to offer assistance.”