CDC warns of ADHD medication disruption following telehealth arrests

June 24, 2024
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health Drug Prescribing/Dispensing 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory warning about potential disrupted access to care for individuals taking prescription stimulant medications and possible increased risks for injury and overdose.

On June 13, 2024, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a federal health care fraud indictment against a large subscription-based telehealth company that provides attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatment to as many as 30,000 to 50,000 patients ages 18 years and older across all 50 U.S. states.

According to the CDC advisory, patients who use subscription-based telehealth platforms to obtain prescription stimulant medications to treat their ADHD could experience a disruption to their treatment and access to care. 

This potential disruption also coincides with an ongoing prescription drug shortage involving several stimulant medications commonly prescribed to treat ADHD, including immediate-release formulation of amphetamine mixed salts (brand name Adderall®). Patients whose care or access to prescription stimulant medications is disrupted, and who seek medication outside of the regulated health care system, might significantly increase their risk of overdose due to the prevalence of counterfeit pills in the illegal drug market that could contain unexpected substances, including fentanyl. Seven out of every 10 pills seized by U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency from the illegal drug market contain a lethal dose of fentanyl.

CDC is urging health care providers to assist patients whose access to ADHD care has been affected and help them find new licensed clinicians and pharmacies, and to educate all patients about the health risks of using drugs or medications obtained from sources outside the regulated health care system.

For more information, including other FDA-approved treatment options for ADHD, see the CDC Health Alert: Disrupted Access to Prescription Stimulant Medications Could Increase Risk of Injury and Overdose


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