A CAMPAIGNER and support group have raised concerns about a national shortage of medication to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has issued a national patient safety alert, which states supply issues for seven different types of ADHD drugs could last until the end of the year.

According to the DHSC, the shortages are the result of a combination of manufacturing issues and increased global demand.

Craven Herald:

The medications affected include methylphenidate prolonged-release capsules and tablets, lisdexamfetamine capsules, and guanfacine prolonged-release tablets.

ADHD is described by the NHS as a condition that can make it hard to concentrate and may mean people act on impulse.

Laura Shakesby, 35, who lives in the Skipton area, campaigns to raise awareness about ADHD after she was diagnosed with the condition in December last year.

She said: “The medication that’s affected helps many people with ADHD and the shortages are causing a lot of concern.

“Going without ADHD medication can really affect your mood and ability to function with things like work, relationships, socialising and everyday tasks.

“Therefore people are at risk of all areas of their lives deteriorating if they can’t get hold of their medication.”

Laura said she hoped the situation would be resolved soon for all those affected.

West Yorkshire ADHD Support Group helps individuals with diagnosed or suspected ADHD in the region.

Michael Still, of the group, expressed worries about the medication shortages.

He said: "People with ADHD or parents of children with ADHD are already, by virtue of the condition, under significant additional daily stress and organisational pressure.

"Therefore, the additional anxiety over medication shortage is a very significant extra burden.

"We, via our Facebook page, see stories of people traveling journeys of up to one hour each way to obtain medication."

He added: "The under diagnosis of the condition is especially acute in West Yorkshire.

"Many individuals are misdiagnosed with a range of conditions including anxiety, depression, learning difficulties, and personality disorders.

"ADHD accurately diagnosed and treated is indeed life-changing.

"The additional cost to society of under diagnosis and inadequate support, including medication, is uncalculatable but is known to be very significant.

"The situation is especially challenging for adolescents who are coping with rapid changes in their development.

"Medication compliance and titration for this group can be a significant challenge, without the current supply difficulties."

The DHSC's national patient safety alert about the medication shortages was issued at the end of September.

It states: "The supply disruption of these products is caused by a combination of manufacturing issues and an increased global demand.

"Other ADHD products remain available but cannot meet excessive increases in demand.

"At present, the supply disruptions are expected to resolve at various dates between October and December 2023."

Henry Shelford, chief executive of the ADHD UK charity, said medication is "life-changing" for those with ADHD.

He said: "The NHS should have realised that this was happening and had a plan in place.

"Instead, people are only finding out when their pharmacy can't supply.

"They've been left stranded with no support.”

He added: “Medication is carefully given with dosage and type worked out over months.

“The idea it can be chopped and changed is wrong.

“This is devastating for individuals across the country and will be life-changing for some.

“People with ADHD are being let down by the NHS - this is just the latest way in which we are being failed.”

The Telegraph & Argus put these concerns to NHS England but was told to contact the DHSC as it is responsible for the supply of medication.

A DHSC spokesperson said: "We are aware of supply issues affecting medicines used for the management of ADHD due to increased global demand, and we have issued communications to the NHS to advise healthcare professionals on management of patients during this time.

"We continue to work closely with the respective manufacturers to resolve the issues as soon as possible and to ensure patients have continuous access to ADHD medicines in the UK."

For more information about ADHD, visit the NHS website.