Medical professionals in the Ozarks weigh in on ADHD medication alternatives amidst national shortage

Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 3:59 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Patients and providers around the country are dealing with a months-long shortage of stimulant drugs like Adderall used to treat ADHD.

Some pharmacies around the Ozarks say they’re receiving at least 20 calls daily from desperate patients looking to fill prescriptions. With no end in sight, healthcare professionals are seeing more and more people using alternative treatment methods.

“They claim that these have a calming effect on the brain and they help with ADHD,” said child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Amit Jagtiani with Burrell. “But again, have there been studies on it? Is it like evidence-based treatment? No, they haven’t. So again, you can try, and if it helps, fine, do it. But it does not have a huge lot of evidence.”

Some methods, like listening to brown noise playlists, have been picking up steam on social media. But Dr. Jagtiani says there’s no substitute for the meds.

“The medications have the most evidence for treatment,” said Dr. Jagtiani. “Especially the stimulant medications. They have the highest level of evidence available to treat ADHD. So, I don’t want to give you an impression that there are alternate treatments that can replace medications.”

Dr. Jagtiani says if you can’t get your hands on those meds, a healthy lifestyle is your best option.

“Eating well, sleeping well, exercising, we all know these things are so important for our health, not just physical health, but for our mental health as well,” said Dr. Jagtiani. “There have been some studies that say that there are some micronutrients, that deficiency of which can cause some ADHD like symptoms can be iron, manganese, omega three fatty acids, and others where eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. It’s so important. These are things that everyone should do.”

“Experts say if you are having trouble filling your prescription, make sure you talk to your healthcare provider before switching to other over-the-counter medications or other methods altogether.

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