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FAQs ADHD shortage methylphenidate Oct 2023

National supply shortage of your prescribed ADHD medication


Equasym® XL capsules Xaggitin XL®, Concerta XL®, Xenidate XL® prolonged-release tablets

This leaflet is aimed at people taking one of these medications for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We recognise that this is a worrying situation, but a temporary pause in medication is not physically harmful.

Why have I been sent this leaflet?
You have been sent this leaflet as we have identified you are taking one of these medications for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Unfortunately, there are widespread national stock shortages with this medicine. Please be assured that healthcare professionals will be reviewing people for alternative therapy where needed.

Why are there drug shortages?
Shortages are due to manufacturing issues and an increased demand for these drugs internationally.

How long will the shortage last?
The shortages are expected to improve at various dates between October and December 2023 for the different brands, but these dates are subject to change.

This is a national supply problem and all UK ADHD services (children’s, children’s and young people’s mental health, adults), and pharmacies within the community and hospitals are affected.

What should I do during this time with my ADHD medication?
You should check the amount of medication you have available and inform your usual ADHD prescriber if you have less than 10 days treatment remaining. Your ADHD prescriber may offer the choice between taking a treatment break, a small change to the dose, or changing your medication to one that is not currently affected by the supply shortage.

A change in medication may mean you are taking medication more often throughout the day, or that you are prescribed tablets instead of capsules.

What should I do if I cannot get my ADHD prescription from the pharmacy?
If your usual pharmacy is unable to obtain supplies, please try a different pharmacy.

This link will help you find pharmacies in your local area.

Pharmacies may use different suppliers to source medicines so availability will depend on whether each pharmacy’s suppliers have stock. Please try visiting independent pharmacies as well as the larger pharmacy chains, as their suppliers will differ.

Where there is a known shortage of a medicine, supply levels can change quickly. So, it may be best to leave the prescription (FP10) with a pharmacy that could check wholesaler stock levels daily and place an order.

Will my ADHD treatment need to change?
Your ADHD treatment may need to be changed because of the shortage. This may be a different brand but in rare cases may be a different medication.

Will I need a review for my ADHD?
The shortages may affect different products at different times. Your ADHD prescriber or specialist will let you know if you need a review because of a change to your current medication.

Is it safe to stop taking ADHD medication abruptly?
Yes, NICE guidelines already recommend having regular planned treatment breaks from ADHD medications. Many people taking stimulant medications (methylphenidate or lisdexamfetamine) often do not take medication at weekends or during holiday periods and safely stop and start their medication in this way.

While supplies are limited, it is recommended to take your medication on the days you need it most (for example on days when you are at work or have a significant event like an exam).

What do I do if I feel unwell?
If you feel unwell or unsafe, please seek care through your ADHD specialist or in primary care with your pharmacist, GP, NHS 111 online or by phone, or in an emergency 999.

Where can I get further information about this?
We do not have any further information about the shortage or return to stock dates at this time. Please bear this in mind before considering contacting your prescriber.