LAS VEGAS (KLAS)— Between 30 to 60 days is how long the US Food and Drug Administration said the Adderall shortage would last. That was back in November.

Millions of people in the United States have been prescribed the drug to help manage their attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A good percentage of those people are children.

“It’s been a chaotic house,” said Donell Deem. She has three great-grandchildren with ADHD. All three, ranging from ages 15 to seven, live with her most of the time.

“They’ve been without Adderall October, November, December, and now January and they’re suffering,” said Deem.

The children have been getting suspended from school, getting into trouble at home, having headaches, and having trouble sleeping.

Unfortunately, they’re not alone.

Pharmacies continue to have a hard time filling prescriptions.

“They get it, they sell it, there is a delay and then they order more,” said Dr. Sid Khurana, Nevada Mental Health medical director.

But why?

The FDA and many manufacturers say the increase in demand is the culprit.

Dr. Khurana says with more awareness about ADHD comes more diagnoses, and therefore, more demand.  

“But the demand hasn’t all of a sudden come up in the last three to six months,” he said.

The FDA blames the shortage on manufacturing problems at one major producer, TEVA. TEVA reported labor issues and other companies say it’s a material issue.

“Overall, two and a half almost three years into the pandemic, and now we’re seeing a whole new shortage problem that ‘s having a devastating impact,” said. Dr. Khurana.

Meanwhile, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has warned drug manufacturers that it is concerned about telehealth startups, some of which give quick online assessments and can prescribe Adderall, leading to oversupply and abuse of ADHD drugs.

So, getting your prescription order from a reputable physician is suggested, as the FDA works to confirm that demand is legitimate.

But there is more than one drug that can be used to treat ADHD.  Generic ADHD medications are the ones in short supply. So, Dr. Khurana says low-income families are impacted the most.

“People who can not afford to pay out of pocket for those medications or they have insurances that restrict access to those medications. They do not have access to treatments,” said Dr. Khurana.

He said the American Psychiatric Association has made efforts to meet with manufacturers, identify barriers and resolve them. But patience, not panic, is needed.

“Things take time and what we’ve been told is, the promise is, that by early-mid 2023, we should see some easing of these restrictions,” said Dr. Khurana.

But, for great grandma Deem, time is of the essence.

“Every day has become a struggle,” she said.

“I mean the quality of life has really gone downhill as a result of this and I sure wish somebody would get to the bottom of this and find out what we can do. I’m willing to do whatever I can to help.”

The FDA has updated information about the shortage, including alternatives and what’s in stock, here.