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Update on ADHD medication: July 2024

An update on the shortage of some types of ADHD medication

What is happening with the supply issues affecting ADHD medication?

As you may know there has been a shortage of ADHD medications, particularly from the end of September 2023, and this is still ongoing. This has been caused by a combination of manufacturing issues and an increase in global demand. This has meant:

  • We could not start anyone on ADHD medication for an extended period of time
  • Some people already on ADHD medication had their treatment affected

Medication shortages are showing some improvement although there are still a number of medication types and strengths affected by the shortages. For some medications, there continue to be supply issues.

We know this has been a difficult time for you.

See our previous information about the shortages

See our support guides

What does this mean for those waiting to start ADHD medication?

We are continuing to offer medication appointments and will be in touch as soon as we can offer you an appointment. We are working in date order as this is the fairest way. Please be patient – we’re doing everything we can to offer as many appointments as we can. Because all services were asked not to start anyone on ADHD medication from the end of September 2023, it will take us a while to work through everybody who is waiting.

Our staff will do their best to help you, we always do our best to be polite, and kind and we ask that you treat our staff in the same way.

What does this mean for those already on ADHD medication whose treatment has been affected by shortages?

This will depend on what the type and the strength of medication that you have been prescribed.

Intunviv/Guanfacine: it is very important that you do not make any changes to the current dose unless this has specifically been advised by your ADHD clinician. This is because there are potentially serious risks to you if changes to this medication are not made in the correct way. Please contact your ADHD clinician for advice if they have not already been in touch with you.

For other ADHD medications, please follow the guidance of your GP or contact them if you have any concerns. Please request repeat medication at least two weeks before your current prescription runs out. You may want to telephone pharmacies to check what they have available as supply of medications can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy.  

Coping strategies for anyone affected

While supplies are limited, we recommend that (with the exception of Guanfacine/Intuniv – see above) you take your medication on the days you need it most, for example on days when you’re at work, or have a significant event like an exam.

If you run out of medication you may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as tiredness and poor functioning, with worsening of ADHD symptoms. Usually, these will last no more than three to four days. It’s advisable to avoid driving, operating heavy machinery and not to make any important decisions during this time.

You can talk to your GP about being signed off work if you are unable to function well enough.

If you experience severe mental health difficulties, you can contact NHS 111

The role of your GP

Please be aware that your GP is the first point of contact when you are stable on ADHD medication under shared care. The Adult ADHD service cannot prescribe medication for clients unless we are initiating or titrating medication and we cannot take referrals for clients wishing to change medication solely due to the shortage.

If you cannot find their normal medication, we recommend that where possible your GP writes prescriptions for lower doses or alternative strengths to make up the total daily dose.  We recommend that you do not switch to another type of medication if you cannot access your usual medication. This is because:

  • It may not be the best medication for you
  • It would take time to get the dose right. We anticipate shortages will be resolved before you start to see the benefit from any new medication
  • You would then need to change back to the original medication once it becomes available which would involve a further period of suboptimal dose.


Information correct as of 3 July 2024