Supply Shortage of Medicines for ADHD

The Department of Health and Social Care has alerted us that there is a national supply shortage of the medication prescribed to help manage your ADHD symptoms.

The supply disruption of these products is caused by a combination of manufacturing issues and an increased global demand.

How long will the shortage last

At present, the supply disruptions are expected to resolve at various dates between October and December 2023. These dates may be subject to change.

This is a national supply problem and all UK ADHD services; paediatrics, CAMHS, adults, and pharmacies within the community and in hospitals are affected.

The medicines affected are:

  • Methylphenidate prolonged-release capsules and tablets
  • Lisdexamfetamine capsules
  • Guanfacine prolonged-release tablets
  • There are on-going shortages of the Atomoxetine capsules and liquid
Are there alternative medications available

Other ADHD products remain available, they may not be suitable for everyone and may not be able to meet the increases in demand.

We know how important getting your medicines is. Our team are always happy to talk to you about your medicines and to explain why getting your medicine may be difficult at the moment. We will also explain what that will mean for your treatment.

You may be offered the choice between taking a treatment break or changing your medication to one that is not currently affected by the supply shortage.

The change in medication may mean you are taking mediation more often through the day, or that they are tablets instead of capsules.

Your Specialist team will liaise closely with your GP, and work together to minimise disruption. There may be temporary changes to how and where you collect your prescription/ medication.

Once the supply shortage has been resolved your medication will be changed back to the medicine you were previously prescribed, as clinically appropriate.

Please be aware that there may still be delays at Pharmacies in obtaining the newly prescribed medication.

What should I do if I cannot get my ADHD prescription from the pharmacy

If one pharmacy is unable to obtain supplies, please try a different pharmacy.

The following link will help you find Pharmacies in your local area:  

Pharmacies may use different suppliers or wholesalers to source medicines so availability will depend on whether each pharmacy’s suppliers have stock or not. Please try visiting independent pharmacies as well as the larger Pharmacy chains, as their suppliers will differ.

Where there is a known shortage of a medicine, supply levels can change quickly. This is why pharmacies in one area may be able to find a medicine and others may not.

Alternatively, it may be best to leave the prescription (FP10) with a pharmacy that could check wholesaler stock levels daily and place an order.

Is it safe to stop taking ADHD medication abruptly

Please consult your GP or ADHD service for guidance if you think you are running out of medication.

NICE guidelines recommend having regular treatment breaks from ADHD medications. It is not unusual to stop taking medication over the weekend or during school holidays.

Therefore no harm should come from stopping the medication but this should be done in a planned way.

If you are prescribed Guanfacine (Intuniv®) please contact your ADHD service as this medication must be stopped slowly. It can cause your blood pressure to increase if stopped suddenly. Consult your GP or ADHD service as soon as possible if you cannot get your prescription from the pharmacy.

Please be reassured that you will still be offered your review appointments with CAMHS throughout this period.

Should you wish to discuss any concerns relating to the ADHD shortage, please contact the service you are known to. If you are in crisis, please contact your local crisis helpline.

Page last reviewed: 13/11/2023