Published by BBC NEWS - 19th February 2024
  • Published
Hannah HuxfordImage source, Becki Thomas / BBC

A woman said she has been unable to get her ADHD medication for months.

Hannah Huxford, 49, from Grimsby is one of thousands of patients unable to get hold of medicine to manage their symptoms due to a national shortage.

Mrs Huxford, who was diagnosed with the condition two years ago, described the situation as a “huge worry”.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it had taken action to improve the supply of medicines but added that “some challenges remain”.

Mrs Huxford said the medicine made a “huge difference” and got her life back on track.

Since being diagnosed, she has written and published her own book and sells clothes online.

“It enables me to function and concentrate so I can be more proactive, I can be more productive,” she explained.

She said she had been unable to get her usual supply since October 2023 and has to ration what she can get hold of.

“Christmas time it was just getting beyond a joke. I was going back to the pharmacy, probably two or three times in a month, just to collect the little IOUs and it was getting to the point where that, in itself, was becoming a stress,” she said.

“It is a worry because I’ve just got my life back.

“Since my diagnosis and being medicated, I’ve turned my life around.

“All of a sudden, if this medication is taken away from me, I’m frightened that I will go back to not being able to cope.”

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What is Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a condition that affects people’s behaviour.

People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse.

Most cases are diagnosed when children are under 12 years old but sometimes it is diagnosed later in childhood.

However, on other occasions ADHD was not recognised at all when someone was a child and they are diagnosed later, as an adult.

Source: NHS England

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James Davies, from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said the supply shortage has been caused by manufacturing problems and an increase in demand.

“There are more people who are being diagnosed with ADHD, more people seeking to access ADHD treatments. That’s not just related to the UK, this is a global problem,” he said.

Mr Davies said some ADHD medication has come back into stock but added “it’s quite a fluid situation at the moment”.

The government issued a Patient Safety Alert in September 2023, warning that stock issues could last until December 2023.

ADHD UK said the main medicine provider told them it expects shortages to continue until April 2024.

The charity said an estimated 150,000 people were being affected by the current shortage.

Hannah Huxford holding clothes

Image source, Becki Thomas / BBC

A DHSC spokesperson said: “We have taken swift action to improve the supply of ADHD medications but we know some challenges remain and understand that this may be distressing to patients and families.

“We are working closely with the NHS, industry and others operating in the supply chain to help resolve any issues with ADHD medication as soon as possible.

“We have also issued advice to healthcare professionals and any patient who is worried about their condition should speak to their clinician.”

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