No health insurance, can't afford my adderall, ADD is running amuck!
March 5, 2012 2:15 AM   Subscribe

Lost my health insurance, & the last 6 months of fighting my ADD w/out Adderall has started to effect my job performance. Monthly doctor appts to get the rx are $150, & Adderall w/out insurance is $90. I can't afford $240/month! Plus there's the Adderall shortage everyone's experiencing. I've seen a lot of OTC pills claiming to mimic Adderall, but are there any that work? keeps pushing ADDTabz (, but at $90 for 60 pills (with shipping), that's not much more affordable for me. And who knows if these things work?

I've also heard of Cerex (, at $48 for 60 pills (with shipping), but I don't know anyone who has actually used these things. My biggest concern is that they'll be unsafe; my second concern is that they'll do nothing and I'll waste the little money I have.

I feel so frustrated. I was on Adderall for 3 years and was doing so well at work because of it! Then I got laid off, lost my health insurance, and I'm afraid I'm about to lose my crappy part time job too. I would never try something like meth, but fuuuu--, no wonder so many people fall into that trap!

posted by wannaknow to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Call your doc and ask if you can just pick up a prescription without making an appointment.

Also look around your area for clinics that charge along a sliding scale. I used to go to a clinic when I didn't have health insurance and they also had a deal with some of the drugstores so that prescriptions were discounted. Planned Parenthood might be helpful - I've heard they do all kinds of basic healthcare beyond just OBGYN stuff.

Otherwise ... meditation and exercise?
posted by bunderful at 4:27 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Can you speak to your pharmacist about this? He or she may be able to suggest one or several generic or OTC medications that would mimic the effects of your prescription. I'm not in the US, so I don't know if this will work in your situation but that's where I'd start. Good luck.
posted by GreenEyed at 4:30 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are more and mOre docs lately who do t take insurance and you can go to them for a reduced rate. For example, ours does a thing where you pay $350/year and then doctor visits are only $30.

Or have you also told your doctor that you don't have insurance? That will usually reduce your doctor visit cost.
posted by dawkins_7 at 4:58 AM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

I would definitely talk to your doctor about this. And your pharmacist. It sounds like you're reading a lot of stuff on the internet about Adderall, the Adderall shortage, and the Adderall generics, and it's scaring you. Please talk to the professionals before you take my advice or the advice of anyone else on the internetz.

As for the shortage, there is an Adderall shortage, but it's probably not as bad as you think. My fiancee is on Adderall XL and 80% of the time the pharmacy will have it in stock, but every once in a while they won't, so we have to drive to another pharmacy to pick it up. I don't think the shortage has ever been so bad that he couldn't get the prescription he needs.

Also, can you buy the Adderall generics? It's $15 (w/o insurance for 30 pills) for pretty much the exact same product.

Secondly, I find it a little strange that you need to see your doctor once a month to get a prescription. Is this a new doctor and are you a new patient? Or are you seeing him for matters other than your ADD? Otherwise, if he's the same doctor that you've been seeing for the last 3 years, you should probably be seeing him a little less frequently than once a month. For example, my fiancee has also been on Adderall XL for 3 years and sees his doctor once every 3 months. I have been on Vyvanse (another ADD medication) for about 2 years, and I see my doctor every 3 months as well. However, when I first started the medication, I was seeing my doctor once a month because the doctor wanted to closely monitor me for any side-effects. After about 6 months, the period between doctor visits gradually increased to 3 months. I still pick up my prescription from the doctor's office once a month, no charge.

So, if you see your doctor once every 3 months, and get a generic Adderall prescription once a month, you should be paying $150 + $15 + $15 + $15 every three months. Which is about $65 a month. Is that a bit more resonable?
posted by nikkorizz at 4:59 AM on March 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

I've had no problems with the shortage, and I have an appointment with my doctor twice a year. You should more fully explore your options, I think.
posted by craichead at 5:13 AM on March 5, 2012

I'm not sure what the regulations are for Aderal, but I see my doctor once every six months to a year and just duck in to pick up a monthly prescription for Concerta from the receptionist. A $150 appointment just to pick up a script seems almost sort of scammy to me, unless you're getting some other treatment / evaluation beyond, "Hi, how is it going?"
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:17 AM on March 5, 2012

I have crap insurance, but the doctor I was supposed to see only charged $65 for the monthly prescription pick up. Other doctors don't charge for it so shop around. (In my case, I called my GP, who does not do ADD meds, and asked to try Wellbutrin, which I'd read is supposed to work for ADD and is not controlled so she can write 6 months of prescriptions at a time and do refills over the phone. It's about $40 a month at Walmart and works well for me.) Here's my question about this.
posted by artychoke at 5:38 AM on March 5, 2012

Rhodiola Rosea helps quite a bit with my ADD. It has been a lifesaver for me. You can find it at Whole Foods, Amazon, and probably a lot of health food stores. I like Nature's Way and Bluebonnet brands, but just look for one that says "3% Rosavins & 1% Salidroside". (The ratio is important.) A bottle of 60 capsules (250 mg) runs less than $20 - sometimes a lot less. I usually take one in the morning and one at lunchtime.

There are some studies that suggest you should take a break periodically or it loses it's effectiveness - for instance, take it for six weeks, then take a week off - but those studies were apparently aimed at use by bodybuilders (it also improves physical performance and reduces fatigue.)

If you Google "rhodiola ADD ADHD", you'll find more information. This is the article that convinced me to try it, but there are lots of others.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:39 AM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Nthing talk to your doctor and see if they can slide you in on a lower scale, or see if you can get into a community clinic and check if they'll see you for little to nothing. Nthing as well to look at the generic Adderall.

I'd recommend against trying over the counter mental meds -- my twin sister tried that route for her bipolar and it didn't do her much good, though she swears it did... right up until (and even after) they hospitalized her. Seriously, these things are better left in the hands of professionals. If Adderall works for you, try and get the Adderall or the generic.
posted by patheral at 6:55 AM on March 5, 2012

FWIW I use Walmart pharmacy and take 20mg 2x daily of generic Adderall, and it still costs around $80 because my insurance won't cover it. So you may or may not be saving yourself time or money (or sanity) searching for that at a good price while we're under this stupid 'shortage' of it. I've not tried anything suggested above, but am nthing the suggestions of talking to your doc. At the very least, you can find a temporary solution. Mine ended up (since the 20 and 10mg were totally out of stock in the area) getting me a scrip for a 5mg twice daily...kept me from being totally off of it so I could focus on school and actually stay out of bed in the morning. Hope you find something...I'm marking this question as a favorite cause I'm sure we're not getting a surplus of Adderall anytime soon. =/
For those asking about the required appointments: I'm supposed to see my doc once every 3 months for my scrip for Adderall, but can pick the monthly one up at their front desk without making an appt. in between those visits. I think the reason for the actual appointment has to do with Adderall being a controlled substance and the abuse factor, and the fact that lots of places can't/won't/don't refill for various reasons.
posted by PeppahCat at 7:12 AM on March 5, 2012

Not specific to Adderall, but your doctor needs to know that these types of prescriptions that require a true paper presecription (e.g., can't be electronically submitted) can be snail-mailed to a pharmacy. You don't have to pick them up in person. If doctor insists on an appt to pickup this type of Rx with no good reason, then you need to find another doctor.
posted by webhund at 7:23 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

OTC medications for ADHD are a scam. Don't let yourself be taken in.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 7:39 AM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

In CA, you can't get schedule C meds without a paper Rx. My neurologist writes me enough for a couple of months at a time. The generic Adderall is roughly $1 a pill, at Costco. My neurologist gives me a discount, too. MeMail me if you want particulars.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:17 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

The other thing is most prescription companies offer free meds to uninsured that qualify. You might have to shell out the $150 for a doc visit though because a lot of times, the application has to be initiated by the doctor. But explain your situation and see if they can get the process going so you can get your necessary medicine—possibly for free!
posted by Eicats at 9:11 AM on March 5, 2012

I went to my physician (who I've gone to for 15 years) for 3 months without insurance. The only reason I was there was for my Adderall Rx, and I still had to make an appt and get charged $150 for an office visit. My doctor told me in CA, she can't write me a Rx for a few months and she can't call in refills to a pharmacy. She told me I have to come into the office to get the Rx and bring it to the pharmacy (while I'm there, she also takes my blood pressure and listens to my breathing, but my understanding is that this is just part of monitoring regular Adderall use).

She knew I didn't have insurance and I don't think she would intentionally screw me over (she's helped me with a lot of insurance issues over the past 15 years), it was just my understanding that I had to actually SEE my physician on a monthly basis because Adderall is a schedule C drug. Am I wrong?

Also, I didn't read about the Adderall shortage online--I experienced it firsthand 6 months ago, and it was horrible. I had to pay $175 once at a tiny pharmacy, because I called every CVS, Target, Rite-Aid, etc in LA and everyone was out, told me they had been for months, and that I was not even the first person to call and ask for it that day. They all seemed pretty grumpy about it, so they must get a ton of calls.
posted by wannaknow at 9:21 AM on March 5, 2012

Talk to the pharmacy about their prescription plan.

Our local Walgreens signed me up for their Rx plan when I had to buy a $60 prescription without insurance. The plan cost me $20 and then they sold me the pills for $20, saving me money.

Also, call the manufacturer and ask for help. Almost all drug companies have programs that give rebates to the pharmacy for people that need help paying for their pills.

Good luck.
posted by Argyle at 10:27 AM on March 5, 2012

Didn't realize Adderall was Schedule C... now specifics might vary from state to state, but I take a class 3/schedule C drug too so I will confirm that it is necessary to pick up the script in person and that the doc cannot write out more than one month at once. However, I do not have to have a doctor's appointment each month; I need to call in for the refill and mine will leave my script at the front desk and it is only necessary to see him in person maybe twice a year (unless there's a problem). But like I said- the office visit thing maybe varies from state to state or perhaps your doctor is just overly cautious. Sticking with one doctor is very important if you're getting this class of drug, but maybe you do need to check around to see if another doctor would not require monthly visits.

I can't urge you enough to check with the drug manufacturer about their assistance plans. You may qualify to receive it for free, or at least at a reduced cost.
posted by Eicats at 11:32 AM on March 5, 2012

Thanks Eicats, but I just googled and the adderall patients assistance program is no longer available.
posted by wannaknow at 1:33 PM on March 5, 2012

My Dr. writes me 3 separate Rx forms at a time--dated months in advance and he sure doesn't charge me $150 for a visit. He can't write the Rx for a 3-month supply, but there's ways to make the Rx stretch out as well.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:39 PM on March 5, 2012

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