Vyvanse and Adderall Shortages

Authored by The Rx Advocates, / Medically Reviewed by Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS


Vyvanse and Adderall Shortages: What Should Patients Expect?

Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the company that manufactures Vyvanse, has announced that it is anticipating supply issues. The company blames manufacturing stalls and a greater demand for the ADHD medication.

The following dosages will be impacted:

  • 40 mg
  • 60 mg
  • 70 mg

Takeda Pharmaceuticals expects the delay to last until the early fall of 2023. Multiple pharmacy chains across the United States have been impacted, including CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid.

Why is There a Vyvanse Shortage?

Takeda Pharmaceuticals says Vyvanse has been in greater demand due to shortages of Adderall and other ADHD medications.

The FDA stated there was an Adderall shortage in October 2022. As a result, doctors have needed to prescribe alternative medications, including Vyvanse.

Lauren Hoffman, PharmD is an assistant professor of psychiatry and a clinical pharmacy specialist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio.

Dr. Hoffman says, “This has been one of the most impactful medication shortages that we’ve seen. While we are no strangers to medication shortages in the pharmacy world, this one has been particularly difficult due to the fact that Adderall has a limited number of alternatives and additionally is a controlled substance, which comes with a host of added requirements and restrictions.”

Because Adderall is a Schedule 2N Controlled Substance, it can’t be refilled. Patients must obtain a new prescription from their doctor each month, and only receive a 30-day supply. The same is true for Vyvanse.

ADHD Medication is in High Demand

More people than ever before are now taking ADHD medication to treat their symptoms. According to CNN, 27% more prescriptions are filled for Adderall today than in the past.

In 2019, there were 35.5 million prescriptions for Adderall written. In 2022, that number jumped to 45 million.

It’s possible that the COVID-19 pandemic could be to blame for the spike in prescriptions. But experts aren’t entirely sure what caused the demand to increase quickly.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has limited the amount of amphetamine produced in the United States. With the increased demand, this limit may have hindered patients’ production of desperately needed medications.

The demand for ADHD medication will likely continue, and some experts believe it may even worsen as time goes on.

How are Patients Coping with ADHD Medication Shortages?

If you encounter Vyvanse or Adderall shortages in your area, talk with your doctor about alternatives.

Many people are doing just that. Some are parents with children who take ADHD medications and others need Vyvanse, Adderall, or another stimulant medicine for themselves as well.

Several parents were kind enough to share their stories about their struggles with getting the ADHD medications they needed for themselves and their children.

Finding a Workaround

Felicia Martinez is a mother of two. She and one of her daughters take Adderall and have been unable to fill a prescription since January 2023.

When she was first told their prescriptions couldn’t be filled at their normal pharmacy, she called to see if other pharmacies had Adderall in stock. Unfortunately, they were all out.

Martinez learned the importance of determining when pharmacies received their shipments and how to request quick refills from her doctor.

She also talked with her doctor about using Vyvanse as a backup medication. However, there are days when both Martinez and her daughter have to go without their meds.

Potential Criminal Activity

Jill has two children who need ADHD medications. Her daughter takes Concerta, and her son takes Focalin.

While these medications are not listed on the shortage list, they are often out of stock when Jill tries to get prescriptions filled.

To boost her chances of getting at least some type of medication that will help her children with their ADHD symptoms, Jill resorted to getting multiple prescriptions for each of them.

The problem with this approach, or even searching for any ADHD medication, is that Jill could eventually be unable to fill prescriptions for controlled substances.

She is very concerned about being flagged as a person who is abusing stimulants. Jill says one of her biggest fears is showing up at the pharmacy and finding out she is blocked from getting her children’s prescriptions filled.

Are Vyvanse and Adderall Available at Online Pharmacies?

It is possible to get prescriptions for Adderall and Vyvanse filled at online pharmacies. However, patients need to proceed with caution.

Some online pharmacies may not be legitimate. Even though their websites may indicate they have ADHD meds available, they may not be pure.

Unregulated pharmacies are plentiful online, and many patients purchase their medications illegally on the black market.

The FDA licenses legitimate online pharmacies. But patients desperate to get the necessary medicine may turn to illegal channels.

If you have found that your ADHD medication is hard to refill locally, use due diligence when turning to an online pharmacy.

Talk with Your Doctor and Pharmacy

Your doctor is your most excellent resource for obtaining the ADHD medication you need.

Also, discuss the situation with your pharmacist. A simple change in the way your prescription is written may help.

For example, if you are prescribed 20 mg, and the pharmacy only has 10 mg in stock, they may tell you they can’t fill it. But if your doctor prescribes 10 mg with instructions to take 2 at a time, that can help.

Also, medication should not be the only treatment prescribed for ADHD for you or your child. Children often benefit from therapy; some may even do well with special education support.

For adults, lifestyle management strategies can greatly help when ADHD medication is in short supply. Learning how to be more organized, improving time management, and prioritizing important tasks can all make a difference.

Do You Need Help Getting Your ADHD Medication?

At The Rx Advocates, we understand how frustrating it can be when you can’t fill your ADHD medication prescription.

Because we work directly with patient assistance programs, we often have access to medications that may be out of stock at your local pharmacy.

In addition, we can save you money on the cost of Vyvanse or other medications, depending on your eligibility.

If you want to learn more about our program and how to enroll, please contact us today.

  1. EverydayHealth. Supplies of ADHD Drug Vyvanse Dwindle as Adderall Shortage Continues. June 23, 2023. Available at EverydayHealth.com.
  2. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. FDA Announces Shortage of Adderall. October 12, 2022. Available at FDA.gov.
  3. EverydayHealth. Real Stories of the Adderall Shortage: People With ADHD Scramble to Get Their Meds. July 5, 2023. Available at EverydayHealth.com.
  4. CNN. Adderall users struggle with ongoing shortage while reason – and resolution – remain uncertain. February 23, 2023. Available at CNN.com.
  5. Drugs.com. Adderall. November 8, 2022. Available at Drugs.com.
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