DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Mental health treatments continue to be scarce, as are pharmacy staff.
Many people have been waiting months for their prescriptions, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.
“We understand how frustrating and how difficult this situation is,” said Nicole Thomas, clinical pharmacist at Kettering Health.
An increase in those diagnosed with depression or anxiety during the pandemic played some part, along with top manufacturers of anti-depressants dealing with labor shortages.
“Some relax government regulations regarding the ability for prescribers to diagnose and prescribe telehealth have increased the number of diagnoses in that regard,” said Thomas.
During the pandemic, the DEA enacted telehealth flexibilities that permitted people to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances without needing to go to in-person appointments. These flexibilities are set to last through the end of 2024.
Additional government regulations on the amount being produced have also played a part in the shortages for the main drugs that treat anxiety, depression, and ADHD.
“Then when the Adderall became short, people get moved over to alternative treatments, like Vyvanse or Concerta. And so, it kind of snowballed from, you know, rolling on from one to another until, unfortunately now they’re kind of all difficult to find off and on,” said Thomas.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially declared a shortage of the ingredients needed to make amphetamine mixed salts, commonly known as Adderall, on Oct. 12, 2022.
Without their medication, people may experience a range of side effects, from flu-like symptoms to life-threatening seizures.
“Active about looking for inventory, knowing exactly what products are covered by your insurance, will really help us help you,” said Thomas.
Thomas recommends giving your pharmacists and prescribers as much notice as possible when ordering medication.