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ADHD Drug Shortage Has Patients, Parents Scrambling
Date:5/12/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Due to an ongoing shortage, some American adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or the parents of children with ADHD, are having to call multiple pharmacies before finding one that carries the prescription they need to manage the condition.

Accounts of exactly which drugs are affected vary, but much of the focus has been on Adderall XR, made by Shire PLC, and its two generic versions, also made by Shire but distributed by drug companies Teva and Impax.

However, generic versions of the widely used ADHD drugs Ritalin and Concerta have also been affected, Valerie Jensen, associate director of the drug shortages program at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

Although the shortage doesn't seem severe and, according to industry representatives, should be over by the end of the month, not having the pills can cause significant disruptions to patients' lives.

According to Matt Cabrey, a spokesman for Shire PLC, which makes Adderall XR, the "supply interruption" is due both to higher demand and to the fact that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) didn't deliver enough of the active ingredient in Adderall XR, amphetamine, to the company. Amphetamine is a controlled substance and strictly regulated by the DEA.

For its part, drug maker UCB SA, which makes generic versions of methylphenidate, said its shortages stem from a spike in consumer demand early in 2011. The company hopes to be able to meet consumer demand for its products by May 20, spokeswoman Brenda Varney told the WSJ.

Novartis AG, which also sells generic versions of methylphenidate via its Sandoz unit, told the newspaper that it is also having trouble keeping up with market demand.

As the shortage continues, "Families who are resourceful and able to call around to multiple phar
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