Struggling with the ADHD Medication Shortage

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This week alone, I have played phone tag with numerous pharmacies, my doctor’s office, and our insurance company in search of one thing: the medication I take daily to curb the symptoms of moderate ADHD.

I was formally diagnosed with ADHD in the summer of 2018. It was not a surprise to me in the slightest, and as I was done having children, I felt that it was time to move forward with taking medication. As a teacher and a mom of two little boys, the overwhelm had hit a point where action needed to be taken, and I was ready and willing.

I had taken the ADHD medication Vyvanse (or the generic Lisdexamfetamine when it became available) almost every day for almost six years until almost two months ago when the shortage caught up to me. Sitting in line at the drive-thru, I had a pharmacist at the only pharmacy I had found my medication look at me and kindly tell me he had no idea when I could have it. To compensate, I opted to take my prescription only on school days when I needed the ability to focus the most. I just finished up a stint of two weeks of not taking my medication due to being on spring break, and I have never been more sure how much I truly need the medication to maintain a shred of executive function than I am now.

In the last two weeks, I have felt chronically overwhelmed. I struggle to remember details and have difficulty focusing because my brain is too loud. I have felt very overstimulated, so things that don’t typically bother me too badly can be the straw that pushes me to tears. My husband can almost always tell if I have had my ADHD medication or not, and he knew how badly I was struggling when I finally broke down and told him I just needed to feel normal. 

As badly as I need my medicine, however, thousands of others, including children, need it more. As a teacher myself, I see daily the difference between students who are able to take their medication that morning and those who have also been affected by the shortage. I cannot imagine being in a parental position and seeing your child struggle and not being able to help them because their medicine isn’t available. It’s a hard situation for many right now.

As far as I am concerned, it was decided that as the shortage is (supposed to be) coming to an end, we are paying out for the name brand, which is not currently in a shortage. It is almost three times as much as the generic, and I am very thankful it is something we can begrudgingly swing at the moment. I hope that in time, this will all be a blip on everyone’s radar as supply rises and that we can go back to feeling like us again.

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Kate is a born and bred Hoosier, who has planted roots on the Southside. She and her husband are the proud parents of two rambunctious little boys. They have the privilege of raising their toddlers out in the country, where she enjoys a bit of a slower pace of life. Kate graduated from IUPUC in 2009 with a degree in Elementary Education and is a second grade teacher. When she isn't busy wrangling toddlers, she loves reading, writing, and working on her latest adventure: running. She strongly believes that no Mama should feel alone, and enjoys writing honestly about being a wife and a Mommy, and all the adventures it brings.


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