TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has officially declared a shortage of Adderall, a medication that’s used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

The drug is especially important for children struggling to stay focused in school. So what can parents do if their child depends on it?

The first thing to know is that there are two versions of Adderall: the extended-release capsule and the immediate release tablet. The FDA says there’s a shortage of the latter.

For some, this isn’t just a life-changing drug — but a life-saving one.

Brett Jones says he abused alcohol for years. He couldn’t control his behavior, complete basic tasks or pay attention. Then an ADHD diagnosis, and the drug Adderall, changed everything.

“It was like my brain functioned like a normal person, I was able to be a functioning member of society,” Jones said. “I’m one of the best workers on my job and I enjoy working.”

But for the 1st time in 15 years, he can’t find the fast-acting tablet. It’s out of stock.

“It’s not only on backorder but they also have no idea when it will be coming or showing up,” Jones said.

The FDA says Teva, one large company that makes the drug, is dealing with “ongoing manufacturing delays.” The company first reported delays in August, citing a labor shortage.

The company tells 8 On Your Side their shortage should be resolved by the end of the year. A spokesman says they’re “actively shipping both branded and generic Adderall” and they “expect inventory recovery in the coming months.”

Adderall use is on the rise. More than 41 million prescriptions were dispensed last year, up more than 10% from 2020, according to analysts at one life science industry group, IQVIA.

Dr. Mark Cavitt, the medical director of pediatric psychiatry at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, says this is not the first shortage they’ve faced. He urges families to stay calm, but acknowledges how disruptive the shortage could be for some children.

“Well certainly for those children who are uniquely responsive to Adderall and only Adderall, this could be very disruptive,” Dr. Cavitt said. “This is a medication that, for many, keeps them glued together throughout the day.”

For this group, the minority, Dr. Cavitt says parents may be forced to pay for a more expensive name brand. He says for many other kids, however, alternative therapies work.

“It may, in fact, be an opportunity to find something that works as well or better,” said Dr. Cavitt.

For now, to get by, Brett Jones is using Adderall’s extended-release capsule.

“It’s a much more, kind of, dull version I’m on,” he said. “I’m not as responsive and not as sharp as I would be.”

Adderall is a controlled substance, so it’s highly regulated. The FDA limits total yearly production for each distributor.

You can find a list of current manufacturers and products that are still available on the FDA website.