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People living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are struggling to source “life-changing” medication amid ongoing shortages in Northern Ireland.

A National Patient Safety Alert was issued in September 2023 in relation to shortages of certain ADHD medications, with hopes that supply issues would be resolved by December.

But the Department of Health has said while some of the shortages have been resolved, certain medicines are still in short supply.

Cathrinea McNulty Burrows’ child (11) has been unable to access medication for three weeks due to shortages and “misaligned procedures”.

“Last year we were told that there was a shortage and the advice was to stock up or keep a supply of medication just in case and that the issues would be resolved by November,” she said.

“This is now May and I went to my local pharmacy and couldn’t get access to medication, that means that my child is unmedicated, preventing them from accessing their healthcare.”

The Belfast woman added that her child has been “unmedicated, suffering with extreme mood swings and really struggling at school, they rely on medication to cope at school”.



“Professionals are trying their best, but they can only deal with the specific aspects that are within their professional remits.

“Parents are bridging the gap in this healthcare system and children’s wellbeing are suffering because procedures are misaligned.”

Ryan Hendry (30) from Lisburn was diagnosed with ADHD when he was seven and has been on medication for 20 years.

But he fears he might run out of medication soon.

“I have 10 days left, because my chemist was able to part-fill my prescription, but we don’t know when they will get new stock.”

He added: “When I go without it, just being able to do things and focus on things gets really hard, even just doing household tasks.

“It’s completely debilitating, I hope I don’t get to that stage.”

People with ADHD are rationing their medication amidst worldwide shortage (Anthony Devlin/PA)
People with ADHD fear they will run out of medication soon. PICTURE: ANTHONY DEVLIN/PA

Sarah Salters from the charity, ADD NI, said an influx in ADHD diagnosis worldwide has put strain on demand for medications, contributing to the current global manufacturing issue.

“However, this is not adequate and individuals with ADHD deserve to have access to their lifechanging medications,” she added.

She added: “This issue has been on-going since September 2023 in the north and should have been resolved by December 2023 at the latest, the fact we are seeing a re-emergence of this issue is totally unacceptable”.

A Department of Health spokesperson said while some shortages have been resolved, certain preparations and strengths of medicines are still in short supply.

The spokesperson said guidance has been issued to healthcare professionals addressing the shortages, which are expected to be resolved between May and September 2024 “depending on the strength and preparation affected”.

Do you think you may suffer from ADHD and live in Florida, California or New York?

If so, please consider scheduling a proper virtual online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis with one of our physicians. Although we have an online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis tool, a proper diagnosis from a Board-Certified Medical Doctor will help you know for sure. If appropriate, a customized treatment program will be recommended at the conclusion of that initial visit.

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