ADHD: Medication Shortages, Coping Strategies, and Steps to Take

Stimulant medication is a first-line treatment for ADHD, a neurodevelopmental condition that impacts all facets of living throughout the lifespan. Research shows that stimulants are effective, safe, and vital to improving the health outcomes of individuals with ADHD.

The medication shortage has created immense hardship for individuals already living with a highly stigmatized condition. Some caregivers and patients must endure hours of phone calls and travel each month to access pharmacies that can fill their prescriptions.

While we do not provide medical advice or advisement at Joshin, we deliver relevant, reliable information, resources, and tactical support. Our navigation team has helped Joshin members successfully navigate this area, and our goal here is to offer suggestions and options if you are experiencing this.

Consider Other Pharmacy Options

Availability can vary widely depending on geographic location, local demand, and supply chain issues. However, certain types of pharmacies may have a better chance of stocking ADHD medications in your area due to their size and inventory management practices, including:

  • Chain Pharmacies: Large chain pharmacies often have more robust inventory management systems and distribution networks, which may make them more likely to have a consistent supply of ADHD medications.
  • Big-Box Stores with Pharmacies: Some big-box stores like Walmart, Target, and Costco have pharmacies that may carry a range of medications, including those for ADHD.
  • Independent Pharmacies: Smaller independent pharmacies may need more space and resources than larger chains. However, they can sometimes be more flexible in sourcing medications and may have different supply channels.
  • Mail-Order Pharmacies: Mail-order pharmacies operated by health insurance companies or dedicated online pharmacies may have different stock availability than brick-and-mortar stores.

General Steps You Can Take

Step 1: Contact Your Pharmacist
Pharmacists often have the most up-to-date information about medication availability and can offer guidance on potential alternatives or when the medication might become available again.

Step 2: Consult Your Prescribing Physician
Your prescribing physician can discuss alternative medications or strategies to manage ADHD symptoms if your prescribed medication is unavailable.

Step 3: Check with Multiple Pharmacies
Different pharmacies may have varying medication stock levels, so it’s worth checking with multiple pharmacies in your area. Some mail-order pharmacies may have different stock availability compared to local pharmacies.

Step 4: Explore Assistance Programs
Some pharmaceutical companies offer patient assistance programs or discounts for medications. You can inquire about these options through your healthcare provider or the pharmaceutical company.

Step 5: Stay Informed
To stay updated on the status of the supply chain, we recommend checking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Drug Shortage Trackers linked here regularly.

Non-Pharmacological Strategies

If you have ADHD and cannot access medications, there are several non-pharmacological strategies and tools you can use to enhance focus and manage symptoms that Joshin can support you with. Our coaches and navigator team provide personalized guidance and support in developing a comprehensive management plan to ensure continuity of care and explore appropriate alternatives if your prescribed medication is unavailable. What works best for you may vary, so it’s essential to experiment with different strategies and tools to find what works most effectively for managing your ADHD symptoms.

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Tags ADHD ADHD management ADHD medication shortage ADHD medications neurodiversity