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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Health says it continues to be in communication with federal regulators to find out when prescription drugs used for treating ADHD will be back in full supply.

“We don’t have any clear date yet,” spokesperson Joseph Wendelken told 12 News.

“We’ve been relaying information to prescribers and dispensers throughout the state, so they have the latest. We just don’t have that clarity yet, unfortunately,” he added.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced an Adderall shortage last October.

There isn’t just one reason why the drug and the components needed to make it continue to be in short supply, Wendelken noted. For instance, the components are produced overseas in countries like China and India.

“There are supply chain issues when you’re talking about producing something in such a complex way, especially in other countries,” Wendelken explained. “There are efforts underway at the federal level to bring some of this production back into the United States where there’s a little bit more control over production. But obviously, that’s more of a long-term goal.”

Because it’s a controlled substance, federal regulators set yearly production quotas for manufacturers. Still, the need for ADHD drugs has been on the rise since just before the start of the pandemic.

According to health care research company IQVIA, prescriptions for Adderall and generic medications like it jumped 20% between February 2020 and the end of 2022.

The FDA’s drug shortages page shows some pharmaceutical companies have versions of Adderall available. However, others show the medication may not be available until at least June, while others simply say “TBD.”

With people desperate to fill prescriptions, counterfeit pills have also become a concern. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has issued warnings about an increase in counterfeit tablets that resemble brand or generic Adderall that may be illegally purchased, including from social media platforms. Health officials warn that consuming unregulated pills can lead to serious complications, including a fatal overdose in rare cases.

Pharmacists also warn that rationing or abruptly ending medication could result in stimulant withdrawal.

“Symptoms of withdrawal can occur relatively quickly after stopping an ADHD or stimulant medication and can start to appear within 12 hours.” said Donald McKaig, a registered pharmacist with Lifespan.

Symptoms of withdrawal may include fatigue, increased appetite, lethargy, changes in mood, increased irritability, anxiety, or depression. Some patients may also experience mild fever, chills, sweating, or headaches, according to McKaig.

“Within three to seven days, you can still be experiencing effects from stopping the medication,” he added. “Usually after about seven days, the symptoms start to fade and become more manageable.”

If you’re having trouble accessing regular medications, McKaig suggested keeping in touch with your or your child’s provider for recommendations. A doctor may be able to suggest alternative dosages or other appropriate generic drugs.

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