Supply and Demand: The ADHD Medication Quandary

ADHD medication shortages due to high demand and manufacturing delays are leading people to seek alternatives or reduced doses.

Bill Truran:alamy
Bill Truran

According to a recent New Scientist article, there’s a shortage of medications used to treat ADHD in many countries. To address the issue, people may need to ask doctors for alternative drugs or reduced doses of existing treatments. Some countries, like the UK, have imposed export bans to mitigate the impact of the shortage.

The medications, including common ones like Ritalin (methylphenidate), are in short supply due to manufacturing delays reported by companies such as Teva and Takeda. The shortage is affecting various ADHD drugs, including stimulants like amphetamine mixed salts, methylphenidate, and lisdexamfetamine.

The increasing demand for ADHD medications is one of the contributing factors to this shortage. For example, in the UK, ADHD diagnoses among men have risen significantly between 2000 and 2018. In the US, young adults aged 22 to 44 have seen a 50% increase in prescriptions for the most commonly used ADHD drug between 2018 and 2022.