Keeping Extra ADHD Medication On Hand
Experts recommend you keep an emergency supply of prescription medications on hand, with some suggesting you obtain 90-day supplies. For most people who include ADHD medication in their treatment plans this can be difficult because of legal requirements regarding Schedule II medications.
At this time, there have not been reports of ADHD medication shortages because of the COVID-19 health crisis. The majority of people who have been prescribed medication should be able to receive their medication as usual. However, there have been reports of local shortages due to an increase in demand. This can mean some people may encounter delays in getting their prescription filled at the regular time.
Challenges may also exist if the doctor prescribing the medication is unavailable, if the pharmacy can’t receive a shipment of medication, or has limited hours of operation due to local ordinances.
Creating an emergency supply
Specific legal and insurance requirements apply to prescription stimulant medications for ADHD. Most pharmacies cannot fill a prescription more than a day or two before it’s due to run out. Doctors generally write the prescription for a 30-day supply. However, in some situations prescribers can write a 60- or 90-day prescription, allowing for a longer time between visits to have it refilled.
One of the concerns of allowing people to have extra medication on hand is the need to prevent diversion of the medication. This is when someone else takes that medication. It is illegal and can have serious health consequences. Limiting the amount of medication dispensed is one way to prevent diversion from occurring.
If your doctor agrees to write an extended prescription during this time, take steps to protect your medication. ADHD medication should not be stored in places where someone else might think to look for it, such as in a bathroom cabinet. If necessary, keep medication in a locked box and a secure, hard-to-find location.
Medication should be taken as prescribed. Do not skip doses to create an emergency supply.
Talk with your doctor
With current stay-at-home orders in 40 states, your best move is to contact your doctor’s office with regard to creating an emergency supply of medication. Discuss with the doctor your health needs and the current civic restrictions that limit travel. Recent waivers to telehealth requirements may allow you to video conference with your doctor.
If your doctor agrees to write an extended prescription, call ahead to your pharmacy to find out if the prescription can be filled in its entirety. Let the pharmacy know when you plan to be there to submit the prescription and have it filled.
Some pharmacies now offer home delivery. Find out if your pharmacy does. If not, use the drive-thru pickup if available. If you must go into the pharmacy, keep the social distance of six or more feet between you and the other customers and make your trip as brief as possible.
ADHD medications remain available
ADHD medications remain available. Some areas of the country are experiencing some stimulant ADHD medication shortages. The FDA has listed the reason as an increase in demand for the medication, rather than a lack of production.
If you are unable to have a prescription filled because of a local shortage, discuss alternate medication options with your doctor. You can also contact other local pharmacies for the availability of your medication at those locations.
To report a medication shortage:
- FDA: How to Report a Shortage or Supply Issue
- Let CHADD know about a local shortage by calling 866-200-8098 or email us at customer_service@CHADD.org