The Vyvanse shortage: what to do if you can’t get your meds
If you’ve had trouble filling your Vyvanse prescription for yourself or your child, you’re not alone.
Many Perth parents have found themselves struggling to fill prescriptions for Vyvanse to treat ADHD at their local chemist recently.
The Therapeutic Goods Administation (TGA) has not listed Vyvanse (lisdexamphetamine) as a medication in short supply.
However the WA Department of Health is aware of a current shortage.
Fortunately the shortage appears limited to the Vyvanse 30mg.
What's causing the shortage?
Increased demand and manufacturing complications are likely to be causing the shortage in Vyvanse in Perth.
The United States (US) has experienced a nation-wide shortage in ADHD medications for a year now.
In October 2022, the US Food & Drug Administration announced a shortage of the immediate release formulation of amphetatmine mixed salts, commonly referred to by the brand name Adderall.
Teva, one of the drug companies that manufactures Adderall, is experiencing “ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays”.
Other companies have been unable to produce enough to fill the gap.
Resulting Adderall shortages in the U.S. have created increased demand for Vyvanse as an alternative medication to treat ADHD.
Takeda Pharmaceutical, a manufacturer of Vyvanse, has confirmed that there is low inventory of the medication due to manufacturing complications.
The shortage in Adderall along with increased demand for Vyvanse has likely led to the current shortage we are experiencing now.
Where do I check on shortages?
The Australian TGA publish an alerts page that includes safety alerts, medicine shortage alerts and product recalls.
While Vyvnase is not currently listed on the TGA’s website, the Department of Health has confirmed they are aware of a shortage in Perth.
Perth Facebook pages have referred to the Department issuing a memo to chemists confirming the supply shortage.
If you want to monitor the situation you can do so on the TGA website – Medicine Shortage Alerts.
Side note, the TGA have published a safety alert warning people that “Big Penis USA Tablets pose a serious risk to your health and should not be taken”.
I would recommend anyone considering purchasing these tablets to take that safety alert very, very seriously …
What to do if I can't get my meds?
The benefits of e-scripts...
If you have an e-script for a Schedule 8 medication from a Western Australian authorised stimulant prescriber, then you can call around until you find a chemist who does have stock.
With an e-script you are no longer locked into having your Schedule 8 medications dispensed from one nominated chemist (thank goodness).
This provides way more flexibility in finding meds.
Perth ADHD Facebook groups are indicating that there are plenty of chemists with stock if you are willing to call around.
And the frustrations of paper scripts ...
When it comes to paper-based scripts for Schedule 8 medications such as Vyvanse, any paper-based repeats must be kept in the pharmacy that dispensed the original prescription.
There are two options for obtaining a Schedule 8 medicine in cases of short supply:
The medicine can be obtained from another pharmacy and dispensed in the pharmacy that is keeping the repeat prescription.
The Department of Health encourages this approach, however it is ultimately up to the pharmacy that has stock as to whether they will supply the pharmacy that does not have stock.
The pharmacy seeks approval from the Department to transfer the paper-based prescription to a pharmacy that has stock.
Given the large number of prescription transfer approvals that have to be processed [and the tedious nature of the process] this takes time, hence option 1 is preferred.
If you reeeeeeaaaaaally want to go down this path you can find the details on the Department of Health’s website.
I would also suggest asking your treating specialist to move with the times and to e-scripts to make it easier on you to manage situations that crop up like this.
Where to get your official advice from
Don’t get it from Facebook. Hell, don’t even take it from me.
Get your advice on all the little nuances of these regulations from the source.
The Department of Health regularly updates information on their website as things change relating to stimulant medicines.
For the latest advice it is always best to check their website at: health.wa.gov.au > search for stimulant medicines.
Or, you can call the Medicines & Poisons Regulation Branch on 9222 6883.
Over to you
Are you finding it hard to ADHD medications for your child or yourself? Would it help to have a list of chemists with stock on this website? Kind of like the RAT-trackers we had during COVID where people would report RAT sightings? Let me know your thoughts below.