Western Wisconsin hospitals affected by nationwide ADHD medication shortage

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — Worldwide, 5% of children and roughly 3% of adults have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — more commonly known as ADHD.

Depending on the severity of a person’s ADHD, medication is one of the options to regulate it, but you may see longer wait times at the pharmacy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most common telehealth visits was for ADHD.

“It’s much easier to make an appointment with a physician to be treated for attention deficit disorder,” Gundersen Health System Clinical Manager Marc Ertz said.

ADHD is a chronic condition. Its symptoms include being hyperactive, impulsive, and having difficulty focusing.

“I was diagnosed probably as a 13-year-old, so this would be about middle school to freshman year,” said Kadin Ahler, a sophomore at Viterbo University.

ADHD affects all ages and can be treated using medication.

“I actually just got prescribed medication, so I’m waiting for it to come in,” said Seren Adams.

A sharp increase in demand for ADHD medication during the pandemic has now led to a shortage.

“Much higher demand, and the manufacturers are not able to keep up with supply,” said Ertz.

Nursing student Margaret Beiswanger is just one of the people nationwide struggling to get her medication.

“It’s difficult to obtain all three of those, especially with changing my dosages,” said Beiswanger.

Beiswanger says getting her prescription used to take one to two weeks. Now it’s more like three or four weeks.

“I do stretch what I have to make it last,” Beiswanger said.

Ertz says there are some solutions.

“It could be as simple as switching strengths. A higher dose and cutting it in half, or a lower dose and doubling it to make that appropriate dose work for that patient,” he said.

Ertz says people with ADHD should fill their prescriptions sooner rather than later so that patients can go on with their daily tasks.