You may have heard, either from your pharmacist or in the media, that there is a global shortage of some types of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medicines.
- Equasym XL 10, 20 and 30 mg capsules
- Xaggitin XL 18 and 36 mg prolonged-release tablets
- Concerta XL 54 mg prolonged-release tablets
- Xenidate XL 27 mg prolonged-release tablets
- Elvanse 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70 mg capsules
- Intuniv 1, 2, 3 and 4 mg prolonged-release tablet
Although we are doing all we can to address this shortage, we need you to be prepared for potential challenges this could bring over the next few weeks.
We have written some frequently asked questions and answers:
How long will the shortage last?
At present, the supply disruptions are expected to resolve at various dates between October and December 2023. The shortage is caused by a combination of manufacturing issues and an increase in global demand.
Rest assured that we are aware of this situation and are preparing carefully considered responses.
Are there alternative medications available?
Other ADHD products remain available, but they may not be suitable for everyone and may not be able to meet the increases in demand.
We know how important getting your medicines is. Your specialist community paediatric service is always happy to talk to you about your medicines and to explain why getting your medicine may be difficult at the moment. We will also explain what that will mean for your treatment.
If we need to make changes to your medication due to shortages, please contact us directly.
Our specialist will offer you the choice between taking a treatment break or changing your medication to one that is not currently affected by the supply shortage. If so, when you next collect your prescription, the branding or dosage may look different to what you usually have. This will probably be explained to you by the pharmacist.
Once the supply shortage has been resolved your medication will be changed back to the medicine you were previously prescribed.
What should I do if I cannot get my ADHD prescription from the pharmacy?
Please be aware that there may still be delays at pharmacies in obtaining the alternative prescribed medication.
If one pharmacy is unable to obtain supplies, please try a different pharmacy. Pharmacies may use different suppliers to source medicines so availability will depend on whether each pharmacy’s suppliers have stock or not.
Where there is a known shortage of a medicine, supply levels can change quickly. This is why pharmacies in one area may be able to find a medicine and others may not.
Alternatively, it may be best to leave the prescription with your nominated pharmacy who can check wholesaler stock levels daily and place an order.
If you are concerned because your pharmacist cannot get a supply, please contact us as soon as possible. Contact details can be found at the end of this letter.
Is it safe to stop taking ADHD medication abruptly?
Please consult your child’s specialist for guidance if you think you are running out of medication. Guidelines do recommend having regular treatment breaks from ADHD medications. So, it is not unusual to stop taking medication over the weekend or during school holidays. Therefore, no harm should come from stopping the medication, but this should be done in a planned way.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If your child is prescribed Guanfacine (Intuniv) please contact their specialist service, as this medication must be stopped slowly as it can cause your blood pressure to increase if stopped suddenly. Consult your child’s specialist service as soon as possible if you cannot get their prescription from the pharmacy.
Where can I get more help and advice?
Alternative therapies: We can provide guidance on alternative therapies, such as behavioural interventions that may help manage ADHD symptoms in the absence of medication. Please contact us for advice on the contact details below.
Patient support groups: Joining local or online support groups for ADHD patients and families can be helpful during times of medication shortage. These groups often share information and experiences. Some examples include:
- ADDvanced solutions: addvancedsolutions.co.uk
- ADHD foundation: adhdfoundation.org.uk
- ADHD solutions: adhdsolutions.org
- ADHD and You: adhdandyou.co.uk
- ADDISS (national ADHD information service): http://www.addiss.co.uk/
Please read our ADHD Medicine Shortage Patient Letter.
If you are concerned because your pharmacist cannot get a supply, then please again contact us below:
Woodview Child Development Centre
Crow Wood Health Park
Crow Wood Lane
Telephone: 0151 495 5400
Child Development Centre
Tel: 01925 946 730