WASHINGTON (WUSA) - A shortage of Adderall nationwide has hit the DC area hard with pharmacists unable to fill any prescriptions.
Some pharmacists say the problem stems from the fact that Adderall, Ritalin and other drugs used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are narcotics, so they are controlled through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Since the FDA limits the manufacturer's use of a chemical in Adderall, the manufacturer must stop making the drug when it reaches its annual limit.
Adderall - also distributed as the generic Amphetamine Salts - is used as a medication for people diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A stimulant, the drug helps patients focus and manage their energy levels. However, it also has a potent power to keep people awake, especially when its misdiagnosed or taken by someone who has not been diagnosed with ADHD. The latter effect makes it a drug in high demand on college campuses.
"Go to any college campus and it's there," said American University student Danielle Feinstein. "You can buy a pill off of someone from anywhere from $5.00 to $15.00. I've known cases of people getting Adderall stolen from them."
Feinstein and Mathematics major Christian Cavender have heard of undiagnosed students who rely on the drugs to study, take tests or even just focus in classes. Typically, they are buying the drug from a peer who has a legitimate prescription.
"I have heard of cases of people who step into it thinking they can control their usage and then they find their dependent on it," said Cavender.
Some believe its prevalence on the black market may also be a reason for the shortage. Other experts talk about a possible patent expiration.
9NEWS NOW called dozens of pharmacies within 30 miles of our zip code and was told the same thing over and over again - no Adderall and no one is sure when they'll be restocked.
On its website, the FDA has listed Adderall as a drug in shortage since this past July. The cited reasons are: inadequate finished product supply to support current market demand, API supply issues and uneven product distribution problems.
Now, that's caught up with many pharmacies in the area. Some pharmacists tell us they don't anticipate they will have any Adderall until Jan. 15.