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ADHD Drug Shortage Pushes Parents to Seek Substitutes
Date:1/6/2012

reported shortages to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And, companies producing various forms of methylphenidate are also seeing shortages.

Both Hollander and Adesman said they've had reports from parents that Adderall and its generic equivalent have been harder to get. They both suggest that parents call from pharmacy to pharmacy in their area to see which one might carry the needed medication.

If you can't find any pharmacy that has the medication you're looking for, let your child's doctor know. If the medication isn't available, they can first try another medication in the same class of medications. For example, Adderall is an amphetamine derivative. Vyvanse is another medication in that class. However, some insurance companies may balk at paying for medications that aren't on their preferred drug list, and you may have to pay a higher co-pay.

If there's a shortage of generic methylphenidate, the brand-name versions (Concerta, Focalin, Ritalin, Metadate and Daytrana) may be available.

There are also non-stimulant medications for ADHD, such as Intuniv, Kapvay and Strattera, that may be an option, Adesman said.

Dr. Michael Hobaugh has more experience than he'd like with having to switch children's ADHD medications. Most of his patients are on public insurance, which means he has to follow the state prescription drug formulary for these patients. And that formulary often changes several times a year.

"Sometimes, the switch is easy. It's very patient-dependent. Usually there is a similar product that's close enough, but some kids have trouble," said Hobaugh, who is the chief of medical staff at La Rabida Children's Hospital in Chicago.

"It can be a difficult trial-and-error process to figure out what works for some patients," he said. "Their lives aren't uniform from day to day. Is it a side effect of the medication, or does the child have a virus or stress, or maybe didn't get enough sleep? And trying to assess what
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