This great drug shortage makes the patients “scared”

If you take any prescription drugs, there’s a good chance they play at least a moderately important role in your life. And whether it’s treating a chronic condition or keeping your heart health in check, it’s not uncommon to have a pill bottle with your name on it. In data collected between 2015 and 2016, researchers found that 45.8 percent of the US population had used a prescription drug within the past 30 days, according to a 2019 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) . A refill is usually as easy as calling your pharmacist. A new report shows that a major shortage of a drug makes patients “scared.” Read on to see which pills have been in short supply lately.

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pharmacist filling prescription

The COVID-19 pandemic has made shortages of everyday items like toilet paper or cleaning supplies an all-too-familiar sight. But while ongoing supply chain issues have caused some relatively minor inconveniences, they are also impacting essential products like medicines.

According to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), such shortages occur because of “manufacturing and quality issues, delays, and discontinuation” of certain drugs. The agency says it receives information from manufacturers and “works closely with them to prevent or mitigate the impact of shortages.”

However, because inventory problems can sometimes become unavoidable, the FDA also collects and lists those drugs that are in short supply. The agency lists 125 drugs that are “currently unavailable in the US, from treating allergies and arthritis to a blood pressure drug for which there aren’t many alternatives,” Becker’s Hospital Review reports Oct. 4.

Senior woman looking at prescription bottles

Although it’s not on the official list, one drug that’s harder to find is Adderall, the drug used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Supply was recently strained when Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the country’s largest supplier of the drug, reported a labor shortage and backordered the drug last August. Bloomberg originally reported.

Now the drug shortages are starting to hit the people who rely on them on a daily basis. In an Oct. 4 report published by Vice, some have described calling multiple pharmacies to find supplies to no avail. Others have even considered obtaining the drug through non-traditional means in difficult circumstances.

“I don’t trust the black market. I don’t trust him with thousands of meters.” Ian Wrobela 33-year-old public sector worker from Missouri Vice. “I’m just scared of trying anything else since I’ve gotten used to what I’ve been given for so long,” he said, while describing conversations with his doctor about switching medications.

Others have complained that they cannot fully function without the help of their recipe. “My life has been turned upside down. My ability to deliver in the way I’m used to, both at work and in my personal life, is impacted.” Pat Cassidya 37-year-old from New Jersey, who has been taking Adderall for more than a decade, recounts Vice.

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Single 20mg capsule of Adderall XR, a mixed salt amphetamine stimulant drug used in psychiatric medicine to treat ADD, ADHD and narcolepsy, on a gray surface.

Unfortunately, most signs point to relief not coming anytime soon for those waiting on the drug. According to a survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association, more than six in 10 small pharmacies said they were having trouble getting orders for Adderall last August, per United States today. And in late September, Lannett Co. and Par Pharmaceuticals — two other major manufacturers of the drug — reported that there would be limited supplies of extended-release generic versions of the drug, according to the University of Utah Pharmacy Services website.

Aside from the recently reduced supply, the strain could also be impacted by a recent surge in people taking it. “In 2021, Adderall prescriptions increased to 41 million from 37 million the year before. The spike in demand is related to the ongoing pandemic as more people struggle with anxiety.” Harold HongMD, a psychiatrist at New Waters Recovery in North Carolina, told Healthline in September.

The ongoing shortage also brings to light misconceptions about the drug and how helpful it is to those who take it.

“We’ve always talked about educational deficits as a result of ADHD, but we failed to discuss the social implications,” David W GoodmanMD, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Vice. “People are very anxious to have their medicines – not because they abuse the medicines, but because they realize how important medicine is to their daily functioning at work and at home.”

Aside from feeling worse about not having access to the drug, patients who suddenly stop taking the drug can also experience withdrawal symptoms, Goodman says. These may include irritability, a sudden increase in appetite, lethargy, or a sudden lack of motivation.

Ultimately, many patients simply feel powerless because they cannot access their prescriptions. “The only thing we can do is just call and hope for the best, and that seems really unfair,” said Kristin, a 34-year-old from California, who asked to remain anonymous Vice.

Best Life provides the most up-to-date information from top experts, emerging research and public health authorities, but our content is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. When it comes to taking medication or other health-related questions, always consult your doctor directly. This great drug shortage makes the patients “scared”

Sarah Y. Kim

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