9:33 am, Friday, 17th November 2023
Shortage of Medicines for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
Information for Schools and Colleges
As you may have seen in media coverage, there has recently been a national shortage of medications used for the assistance of ADHD due to increased global demand and manufacturing problems. This has made it difficult for all patients to receive the medications they would usually take.
What brands are affected by the shortage?
Unfortunately, the availability is currently changing daily, and differing strengths and types are becoming available or restricted as demand changes.
These are the ones that we know are currently affected and are estimated to be returning December 2023/January 2024:
- Elvanse® 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70 mg capsules
- Elvanse® Adult 30, 50 and 70 mg capsules
- Intuniv® 1, 2, 3 and 4 mg prolonged-release tablets
Methylphenidate and Atomoxetine are starting to return, and treatment is continuing for the patients taking these. Please note there are some restrictions on the following brands remaining:
- Equasym XL® 10, 20, and 30 mg capsules
- Xaggitin XL® 18 and 36 mg prolonged-release tablets
- Concerta XL® 54 mg prolonged-release tablets
- Xenidate XL® 27 mg prolonged-release tablets
How long will the shortage last?
The shortage is expected to resolve at various dates between now and the end of January 2024.
Rest assured, we are actively monitoring the shortage and are committed to keeping the families directly affected informed. As updates become available, we will promptly share them with you.
Are there alternative medications available?
There are alternatives, but they may not be suitable for everyone. Anyone who is suitable has been changed accordingly. However, some patients or their families have stated they would rather wait for the medication they know works for them to be available again. As this is their choice, we must respect this.
What can you, as their school or college, do?
Children with ADHD can often struggle with self-regulation, concentration, and impulsive behaviours. They may also have excessive energy that they need help to manage. The following steps are crucial in helping an ADHD pupil:
- Consistency is key. This might seem obvious but transitions to other classrooms and differing teaching methods can make settling into a task difficult for pupils with ADHD. Please ask your staff to try and remain consistent within all lessons so that the pupil is aware of what is expected and when.
- Seat the student near the front of the classroom with his/her back to the rest of class to keep other students out of view.
- Surround the student with good role models, preferably those seen as ‘significant others’ which demonstrate mentoring and cooperative learning.
- Avoid distracting stimuli by placing the student away from heaters, doors or windows, and high traffic areas.
- Children with ADHD do not handle change well so minimise changes to schedules, physical relocations, and disruptions.
- Maintain eye contact with the student when giving verbal instructions whilst avoiding multiple commands/requests. Keep it simple.
- Make directions clear and concise and consistent day to day.
- Give one task at a time.
- Make sure the student understands what is required before they start a task; repeat explanations in a calm, positive manner, if required.
- Most ADHD learners can find it hard to ask for help, help them to feel comfortable with seeking assistance.
- Modify assignments as necessary, developing an individualised programme and allowing extra time when appropriate.
- Make sure you are testing knowledge and understanding, not merely attention span.
- Offer adaptations such as fidget toys.
- Please be sympathetic. We understand that some of their behaviours may be disruptive, but an ADHD child cannot always control their symptoms. Where possible do not punish for these, but rather offer them a timeout or exercise break.
- Isolating a child for their condition is not recommended. This can further impact their self-esteem and overall mental health.
- An ADHD child can be forgetful, ensure there is plenty of equipment for them to use should they have forgotten theirs and where possible do not sanction for being forgetful.
Where can you find further information?
The ADHD Foundation has several resources and training packages for education settings. These can be accessed at https://www.adhdfoundation.org.uk/resources/
Some notable ones are:
- Improving Behaviour in Schools: Guidance Report
- School Based Interventions for ADHD
- The Influence of School Context on ADHD Symptoms
- Advice and Guidance for Students with ADHD
We appreciate it can be a challenge to understand the needs of ADHD students, if you need to talk about individual support, you can contact Young Minds Matter on 01472 252570 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your help and understanding at this difficult time.