'We're all struggling': Families search for signs of relief amid ADHD med shortage

Cindy Bae Image
Friday, March 3, 2023
Families search for signs of relief amid Adderall shortage
EMBED <>More Videos

The FDA announced in October the shortage of amphetamine mixed salts, including Adderall, which is used to treat ADHD and Narcolepsy.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hannah Norcross spends most of her days searching pharmacy to pharmacy to find ADHD medication for her 11-year-old son, a cancer warrior who developed Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder after brain surgery.

"His schooling has been affected, his grades have been affected," Norcross said. "He can tell that he's feeling different himself ... so, it's been a very big challenge."

For months, Norcross has made several trips across the state in search of a refill.

"He has enough to get him through the week, and at home, we're all struggling at home on Saturday and Sunday without his medication," Norcross said.

The FDA announced in October the shortage of amphetamine mixed salts, including Adderall, which is used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.

The FDA attributed some of the shortages to an increase in demand, which pharmacist Tony Gurley echoed in downtown Raleigh, an area he said is mostly made up of young people in need of the medication.

"People are having to be more flexible also," Gurley said. "We'll have plenty of 10- and 15-milligram strength, but be out of the 20. So, we work with the insurance companies and work with the patients and maybe give two of the 10s to equal the 20."

While Glenwood South Pharmacy and Market is able to make ends meet, Gurley advised patients against trading medicine and to stick with a trusted pharmacy.

"Ask your doctor what's right for you," Gurley said. "A pharmacist can't substitute one (medication) for the other and there's differences between ADHD medicines."

Gurley may not see an end to the shortage soon but said Adderall is becoming more available.

"Some of the insurance companies are now allowing us to bill the brand-name product, which we are able to get, and they will cover it as if it's a generic for their subscribers," Gurley said.

However, there are natural remedies according to Dr. Michael Lonardo at Renovo Natural Health.

"L-Tyrosine works really well," Lonardo. "Proper diet, exercise, and then a good multivitamin, like Zinc, and Magnesium 3 and 8."

Meanwhile, Norcross and other families hope to see a sign of relief soon.

"I keep hoping every week we go to get new meds, that the shortage has finally resolved," Norcross said. "We're doing a lot of outside time. I've gotten him into an afterschool program for basketball practice to try and keep his body moving, his brain moving, and his mind moving."