We’ve all experienced the frustration of going to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription only to find it’s not ready yet. But as annoying as a delayed prescription may be, you may not realize that pharmacies can also refuse to fill certain medications completely. In fact, the chances of this affecting you may have just increased as major pharmacies in the US have started blocking prescriptions for one daily drug that millions of people use. Read on to find out if you are affected by the turn against this common drug.
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Telehealth services have been around for years, but became increasingly important to people during the COVID pandemic. A 2021 McKinsey & Company analysis reported that telehealth use had increased more than 38 times as it was before 2020. One of the fastest growing areas of this growth in healthcare is online mental health services. According to Fierce Healthcare, Cerebral, an online mental health company, has provided care to more than 200,000 patients as of January 2020.
“You can do psychotherapy and mental health very well if you have a good audiovisual connection” Paul Desan, MD, director of the Psychiatric Consultation Service at Yale New Haven Hospital, explained to Yale Medicine. “It’s much easier for people to schedule a visit and they don’t have to drive there and then wait to be seen. I don’t think mental health will ever go back to all face-to-face sessions as long with the insurers.” keep paying for it.”
But there are concerns about online mental health care, especially as the use of certain prescription drugs appears to have increased alongside the recent rise of telehealth. Pharmaceutical research provider Iqvia Holdings Inc. reported that Adderall prescriptions dispensed in the US rose to 41.1 million last year, more than 10 percent higher than in 2020. The Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Adderall as a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it is considered a drug with a “high potential for abuse” but is still accepted for medical use. As a result, the FDA advises that amphetamines, such as Adderall, be “prescribed or dispensed sparingly.”
“Long-term administration of amphetamines can lead to drug addiction and should be avoided,” the agency says. “Amphetamine abuse can cause sudden death and serious cardiovascular side effects.”
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Due to the proliferation of Adderall prescriptions, major pharmacies in the US have begun to refuse to fill certain prescriptions from telehealth providers. According to The Wall Street JournalWalmart, CVS, and Walgreens have all recently blocked or delayed stimulant prescriptions from telehealth providers that treat ADHD online, including Cerebral and Done.
A CVS spokesperson told the news channel it has a controlled substance compliance group that flags and interviews clinicians regarding “potentially excessive prescribing practices,” while Walmart confirmed that “some Done-affiliated prescribers have been blocked by Walmart and individual pharmacists have refused to provide prescriptions.” of Done-affiliated prescribers.”
The Wall Street Journal also reported in March 2022 that some nurse practitioners at both Cerebral and Done allege that they were pressured to prescribe Adderall or other stimulants to new patients, even though they did not feel that the assessments provided by the telehealth companies were long. enough to properly diagnose ADHD patients. Both Cerebral and Done told the paper that they simply encourage health care providers to adopt best practices and use the treatment methods they see fit.
“There have been incidents where prescriptions have been temporarily delayed by pharmacies due to confusion over current telehealth policies,” Cerebral said. The Wall Street Journal. “This is an industry-wide problem that we’ve seen and experienced at pharmacies across the country.”
On May 4, Cerebral confirmed it would soon be pulling the plug on Adderall prescriptions. According to a company announcement, starting May 9, Cerebral will no longer allow its clinicians to prescribe controlled substances such as Adderall and Ritalin as an ADHD treatment for new patients. Existing patients “will continue to receive their clinically appropriate, prescription medications,” however. This decision came after Truepill, Cerebral’s preferred online pharmacy, said it would also temporarily suspend prescriptions for Adderall and other controlled substances to treat ADHD. The Wall Street Journal reported.
“It is regrettable that a useful class of medication that is considered a first-line treatment option has become so stigmatized,” David Mouss, MD, Cerebral’s chief medical officer and president, in a statement. “We hope this will change as a population of people with clinical needs can no longer access care from us.”
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