Local mom calls for a solution to the ongoing ADHD medication shortage

Parents across the nation are still dealing with a shortage of ADHD medication. One mother in Vienna, Virginia, told WTOP it’s causing undue stress on her two young sons.

“It’s been a journey for both my kids to find the right medication and stimulant medication,” Danielle Cimino said.

Once they finally did, her kids, 6 and 9, did better in school and got along better, too.

“The world changed for us as a family,” she said.

But now, the shortage has upended the family’s life.

She said they face an ongoing struggle involving frequent and frustrating phone calls with doctors’ offices and the insurance company, paying hundreds of dollars out of pocket and long drives searching for a pharmacy that carries what her kids need.

“I can spend a half day or more going from store to store,” she said.

On occasion, her sons have had to go without medication.

“We’ve had to send them to school without it in the past. It’s not their best day,” Cimino said.

Cimino is calling on federal regulators to come up with a solution to increase supply.

The FDA first announced an Adderall shortage in October 2022, due to a manufacturing delay by one drug company. In a joint letter published in 2023, the heads of the FDA and DEA said while the initial delay was resolved, the shortage was continuing due to several factors — including record-high prescription rates.

They called on drug manufacturers to increase production while asking health care providers to accelerate efforts to support appropriate diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. The letter also outlined actions the FDA has taken to support the development of alternative treatment to a controlled substance that can be misused.

Cimino said in the short term, she’s hoping insurance companies will broaden which medication options they cover. She said while she appreciates that companies prefer to cover cheaper generics, her kids don’t always respond well, and what is covered isn’t always available at neighborhood pharmacies.

In the meantime, Cimino said she’s trying to reassure her 6-year-old that he’s going to be OK and that he can lean on coping strategies he’s learned from therapy.

“I think he worries that he’s going not going to be in control of himself and that he’s not going to be his best self,” she said. “He desperately wants to be in control of himself. He tries so hard.”

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Shayna Estulin

Shayna Estulin joined WTOP in 2021 as an anchor/reporter covering breaking news in the D.C. region. She has loved radio since she was a child and is thrilled to now be part of Washington’s top radio news station.

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