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Shortage of medicines for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

There is a national supply shortage of the medication prescribed to help manage ADHD symptoms.

This information has been produced to help patients, carers and their families understand the shortage and how it may impact you.

We are asking you to:

  • Check how much medication you have.
  • Make sure you order your next supply in plenty of time.
  • Only order medicine that you need, to help pharmacies manage supplies.
  • Try a few different pharmacies in your local area if you cannot obtain your prescription from your usual pharmacy.

This information is to help you:

  • Manage your supply of medicine so that you are less likely to run out.
  • Utilise limited stock for when needed

Methylphenidate

  • Equasym XL® 10, 20 and 30mg capsules
  • Xaggitin XL® 18 and 36mg prolonged-release tablets
  • Concerta XL® 54mg prolonged-release tablets
  • Xenidate XL® 27mg prolonged-release tablets

Lisdexamphetamine

  • Elvanse® 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70mg capsules
  • Elvanse® Adult 30, 50 and 70mg capsules
  • Guanfacine
  • Intuniv® 1, 2, 3 and 4mg prolonged-release tablets

Atomoxetine

  • Atomoxetine 10mg capsules
  • Atomoxetine 25mg capsules
  • Atomoxetine 40mg capsules
  • Atomoxetine 60mg capsules

Other ADHD products remain available. They may not be suitable for everyone and may not be able to meet the increases in demand. Unfortunately, there may be unavoidable gaps in your treatment.

The shortage is currently expected to last until December 2023, however there is no definite date for when new supplies will become available, and we continue to monitor the situation carefully.

The supply disruption of these products is caused by a combination of manufacturing issues and an increased global demand.

Your local pharmacy, GP practice, and ADHD services know how important your medication is to you. We are working hard to try to find supplies of these medicines and to minimise the impact on patients and carers.

If you are trying to get your medicines, contact your community pharmacy first to see if they have supplies. Try a few different pharmacies in your local area if you cannot obtain your prescription from your usual pharmacy.

If you have trouble sourcing supplies of your medication, your community pharmacy, GP practice and/or ADHD service may be limited in how they can help until stock levels return to normal. If you have followed the advice in this information and need more support, your healthcare team can help you manage any changes in symptoms.

Please contact your GP if you usually get your ADHD medication on a repeat prescription. If you get your prescriptions from the service at Buckinghamshire Hospitals Trust please contact them directly. If you obtain medication from other healthcare providers such as child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), the adult ADHD service, or learning disability services, please contact the relevant service directly.

Please be patient with our staff if you contact us.

Although this may cause you worry, running out of these medications is not an emergency. If you have no medication left, your community pharmacy, GP practice and/or ADHD service may be limited in how they can help further until stock levels return to normal.

Check your supply of medication and order your next supply in plenty of time.

Before running low on your medications, please read this page and consider how you can best manage your medicine.

If you are taking methylphenidate or lisdexamfetamine, you could make your supply of medicine last longer by not taking it every day. Think about if there are any days you could manage without medication. For some people this could be at weekends when they are not at work or school. It is safe to take breaks with this medication.

If you take methylphenidate, your prescription may be switched from the brand to generic to reduce the likelihood of supply issues. This change is safe and will not affect your treatment.

You may want to let your family, friends, school, or workplace know about the shortage of medication so that they can provide support in case you have an increase in your ADHD symptoms if you have problems obtaining your prescription.

You may want to think about what helped you to manage your symptoms before you started medication, so that you prepare to manage your symptoms as well as possible in case you have difficulty getting your medicines.

Information for children and their parents and carers about the shortage of ADHD medicines

For now, please continue with the medication you/ or your child has been prescribed.

Please order repeat medication from your GP with at least 14 days supply left of medication.

Check with your usual pharmacy if they have the medication or they can order it in when you give the prescription to the GP.

If your pharmacy cannot source your usual medication: –

Contact other local pharmacies to see if they have any available stock.

This website can help you find pharmacies in your local area: The NHS website – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Where medication or a particular strength of medication is not available, your specialist team will discuss other available options with you.

Due to the national shortage, there is increased demand for appointments. Please be patient with the booking team and they will be able to support you by arranging a telephone or face to face consultant. They can be contacted directly on 01296 838 000 – Option 2 (Monday to Friday 9am-4pm)

If your child is having medication administered at school by staff it is important to let the school special needs (SEN) team know about the shortages in ADHD medication.

In the event your child attends school and has not taken their ADHD medication, the advice would be to agree a plan with the school SEN team and class teacher to help support your child.

Schools generally like to keep an ‘original pack’ labelled for the child at school. Due to the current shortages, it may not be possible to provide a separate supply for home and school. The advice would be to share the medication between home and school and agree with the school who the medication should be handed to at the start of the school day and who will hand it back to the parent at the end of the school day.

If you are open to social care- please let your social worker/ family support worker know of the shortages.

Please be patient with services as there will be delays in getting changed prescriptions and medication across areas. Specialist services, GPs and community pharmacies are working together to ensure the disruption to the supply of ADHD medication effects patients as little as possible.