ADHD Medication Shortage: What Parents Need to Know

portland pediatrics

At East Portland Pediatrics, kids doctor in Portland, we understand how crucial it is for your kids to have the access they need to their medication. The recent shortage of ADHD medications is leaving many parents wondering what to do. 

Why Is There a Shortage of ADHD Medication?

It’s a complex issue. One of the main reasons for the shortage is the increased demand — more children are being diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed medication to manage their symptoms. 


These medications are highly regulated, and only a few companies are licensed to produce them. Any disruption in production, such as issues with manufacturing or supply chain disruptions, can result in a shortage. 


The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has implemented quotas on the production of stimulant medications, such as Adderall and Ritalin. These quotas are intended to prevent overproduction and diversion to the black market, but can also lead to shortages.

What Can Parents Do to Manage the Situation?

If your child takes ADHD medication, it’s important to be aware of the shortage and take steps to ensure that your child’s medication is available when they need it.


We are asking you to call your pharmacy to confirm availability of your child’s medication before we send in the prescription. This helps avoid confusion and multiple phone calls.


Here are some other options to consider:


Talk to other pharmacies: If your regular pharmacy doesn’t have the medication in stock, try calling other pharmacies in your area. Portland pediatricians often see parents have better luck at Costco pharmacies.


Mail-order options: Many insurance plans offer mail-order options for prescription medications. This can be a convenient way to ensure your child’s medication is available and delivered right to your doorstep.


Consider skipping non-school days: If your child is taking medication for ADHD to help with school, some families might consider not taking it on non-school days. Skipping days can help to conserve the medication supply and make it last longer. Since all cases are different, make sure to talk to your doctor before taking this route.


Alternative options: There are several alternative medications and treatments for ADHD. Talk to your child’s doctor about these options to see if any are a good fit.


Do your best to plan ahead and stay organized – which we know can be especially hard if an adult in the household has ADHD as well! Before you go to the pharmacy to refill your child’s medication, call ahead to confirm that they have it in stock. This can save you time and frustration. Make sure you have a sufficient supply of medication and plan ahead for refills. 


Maintain open and honest communication with your child about the medication shortage. Explain to them the situation and reassure them that you are doing everything you can to manage it. Encourage them to talk to you about any concerns or issues they may have.


What East Portland Pediatrics is Doing to Help

We are making every possible effort to send your ADHD prescription to a pharmacy as soon as you have confirmed the availability. If you have selected texting as a communication preference we can also text you to let you know as soon as the prescription was sent.


We have put a hold on sending in three months worth of stimulant prescriptions at this time so that availability can be confirmed for each prescription.


Our pediatricians will work with you to see if an alternative dose or medication is appropriate when certain medications are not available. This may require some trial and error as we seek to balance the right medication for each individual with availability and insurance coverage.


The shortage of ADHD medication can be stressful and challenging for patients and families. We are committed to partnering with you in managing behavioral and mental health challenges. Just contact our office if you have any questions.