F.D.A. Confirms Widespread Shortages of Adderall, Depends on How You Measure It
The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that most Americans who take Adderall suffer from only mild side effects, but warned that a growing number of people are abusing the prescription stimulant
“This is not something the average American wants to hear,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House physician for President Obama, during a hearing at the White House about the effects of long-term use of stimulant drugs like Adderall, as well as drugs like the newly approved drug Zolpidem, taken to treat sleep-related problems.
The FDA on Thursday announced that it found no reason to believe that Adderall, the new long-acting, high-potency narcotic drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, has caused harm when used to treat insomnia or fatigue in adults. The agency said it is “very confident” that the drug, which has been approved for these uses and has been on the market since 2007, is safe.
But the FDA also said it is concerned that patients on Adderall are taking the drug long before they have a medical need for it. So the agency wants doctors to consider whether the patient’s insomnia or fatigue might be a sign of a drug-induced issue. Under new agency guidelines, any patient taking Adderall to treat insomnia or fatigue should get a prescription and the drug should be monitored closely, the agency said.
The FDA’s announcement comes almost exactly two weeks after the White House announced a “significant” shortage of Adderall, the most popular drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy.
Adderall has been called the “baxter of ADHD” because its effects on the brain are similar to those of amphetamines, which were prescribed for the behavioral side effects of ADHD as recently as the 1960s.
But the use of Adderall has risen steadily since then, reaching 60 million prescriptions in the U.S. in 2009, according to the most recent data provided by the