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This Popular Medication Is Facing a Major Shortage, FDA Says in New Warning

Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand.

Many of us rely on medications in order to stay alive. Whether it's an antibiotic to fight a new infection or a prescription taken regularly, certain drugs are essential to the well-being of millions of Americans. That's why supply chain issues affecting one common medication in particular are a cause for concern. Read on to find out which major medicine shortage the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just issued a warning about—and what to do if you're affected by it.

READ THIS NEXT: 4 Major Medication Shortages That Could Affect You.

The FDA maintains a database to update consumers about drug shortages.

Pharmacist working at a pharmacy organizing products while wearing a protective face mask during the coronavirus outbreak.

If you've ever been unable to get a particular prescription filled, or struggled to find certain over-the-counter (OTC) meds at the pharmacy, you're hardly alone. According to the FDA, drug shortages occur for a number of different reasons. But the COVID pandemic has created a lingering problem for the supply chain, which the agency says it is monitoring. There is even a frequently-updated FDA database that lists all the current and recently resolved drug shortages reported to the agency.

"A major reason for these shortages has been quality [and] manufacturing issues," the FDA states in its Drug Shortages FAQ. "However there have been other reasons such as production delays at the manufacturer and delays companies have experienced receiving raw materials and components from suppliers."

Now, the FDA has just confirmed a shortage involving one popular medication.

The agency is alerting Americans to a new shortage.

lady hands holding a bright red orange prescription medication pill bottle.

Adderall, the popular attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication, has recently become harder for people to get their hands on. On Oct. 12, the FDA confirmed that this medicine is currently in short supply. Specifically, the agency stated that there is a "shortage of the immediate release formulation of amphetamine mixed salts, commonly referred to by the brand name Adderall or Adderall IR."

In a news release posted that same day, the FDA advised patients to consider temporary solutions in the meantime. "Until supply is restored, there are alternative therapies including the extended-release version of amphetamine mixed salts available to health care professionals and their patients for amphetamine mixed salts' approved indications," the agency said. "Patients should work with their health care professionals to determine their best treatment option."

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The Adderall shortage has been spreading for some time now.

adderall pills

For many Americans, news of this shortage isn't exactly a surprise. In an Oct. 4 Vice report, many people described problems trying to find Adderall at multiple pharmacies throughout the country. The issue has became so dire that some people have even considered trying potentially dangerous methods of obtaining the drug. "I don't trust the black market. I do not trust it with a thousand-yard stick," Ian Wrobel, a 33-year-old public service worker from Missouri, told Vice. "I'm just scared of trying something different, since I've been so used to what I've been given for so long."

Patients have also described how hard it is to function in their day-to-day lives without taking Adderall. "My life is turned upside down. My ability to deliver both at work and in my personal life the way I'm used to is compromised," Pat Cassidy, a 37-year-old from New Jersey who has taken Adderall for more than a decade, told the magazine.

Companies are struggling to produce enough Adderall to meet demand.

Medicine tablets on counting tray with counting spatula at pharmacy.

Teva, one major manufacturer of Adderall, is currently "experiencing ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays," according to the FDA. But it appears Teva has been struggling since at least August, when it put certain dosages of Adderall on backorder, as reported by Bloomberg. At the time, a spokesperson for the manufacturer told the news outlet that the issue is tied to "supply disruptions" that are somehow "associated with packaging capacity constraints."

On Oct. 12, Teva said the main issue is how many people now have prescriptions for Adderall, ABC News reported. "The supply that we are manufacturing/distributing right now is on pace to be consistent—or greater than—our supply at this time last year by the end of this year. The demand is not," the company told the news outlet.

Many Adderall suppliers also appear consistent in their production. But the need for this prescription drug, which has skyrocketed since telehealth increased amid the COVID pandemic, is just too much for them to handle. "Other manufacturers continue to produce amphetamine mixed salts, but there is not sufficient supply to continue to meet U.S. market demand through those producers," the FDA warned.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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