View Full Version : Managing Adderall prescription while moving to UK?


cavendishes
05-18-17, 10:30 PM
Sometime lurker, first time poster! I'm posting because I've finally run into a problem that has me looking for advice, especially from people who've had experience moving abroad. I'm in my last year of college in the US and am going to move to the UK next fall for graduate school, which I'm very excited about! However, I'm confused and concerned about the specifics of acquiring meds in the UK as a temporary expat. I'd definitely like to avoid losing something that's important for managing my ADHD right as I go into one of the most intense academic environments of my life, if possible.

After getting diagnosed early on in college, I worked with a psychiatrist to test out a bunch of different meds and doses, and eventually determined that although Ritalin does very little for me, Adderall can be helpful. Google tells me that in the UK, Adderall isn't a licensed drug. Further googling indicated that this means that it won't be covered by the NHS, but that healthcare professionals can legally prescribe (some?) unlicensed medications if they feel they're necessary: https://www.gov.uk/drug-safety-update/off-label-or-unlicensed-use-of-medicines-prescribers-responsibilities - is that right? I also can't tell whether Adderall would fall under the umbrella of drugs that could be prescribed anyways, or if any attempt to get Adderall would automatically be illegal. Although I'd prefer to stick with what's been working (it does scare me to consider swapping right before such a critical phase of my education, but I do have the summer to work with my psychiatrist to test meds that are more available in the UK, if it comes to it), I'm certainly not so wedded to that preference that I'd be willing to break the law for it.

However, if it is legal, I can pay for it out of pocket - but I'm still confused about the actual process of acquiring it. I have a prescription from my US-based psychiatrist, whom I'll be continuing to see up until I move. I assume I can't fill an Rx for that sort of controlled substance by an American doctor in the UK, though? Also, she can't write me a prescription for enough Adderall to last the length of the degree, even if she can write me a script for the first month. I have ample documentation of my diagnosis, from multiple doctors, regular meetings with this psychiatrist, and hours and hours of testing that my college paid for. If I bring those sorts of records to a doctor in the UK, will they be able to prescribe Adderall for me? If so, does anyone know how much Adderall tends to cost in the UK?

This is probably something I should ask my institution about, but given the stigma around ADHD and popular suspicions that people who use such meds are just trying to get an extra boost for studying, I'm sort of hesitant to reach out to their disability center ...

sarahsweets
05-19-17, 03:32 AM
After getting diagnosed early on in college, I worked with a psychiatrist to test out a bunch of different meds and doses, and eventually determined that although Ritalin does very little for me, Adderall can be helpful. Google tells me that in the UK, Adderall isn't a licensed drug. Further googling indicated that this means that it won't be covered by the NHS, but that healthcare professionals can legally prescribe (some?) unlicensed medications if they feel they're necessary: https://www.gov.uk/drug-safety-update/off-label-or-unlicensed-use-of-medicines-prescribers-responsibilities - is that right? I also can't tell whether Adderall would fall under the umbrella of drugs that could be prescribed anyways, or if any attempt to get Adderall would automatically be illegal.

I am not an expert and someone else may have to step in here but I have some friends in the UK. My one friend takes dexedrine (whatever the generic is called). I believe she had to go private in the beginning, or at least start with NHS and then get a referral to go private. I think she mentioned the Maudsley(sp?) institute?Anyway, she had to start with the usual ones like Concerta, but ended up being prescribed dex. When she had to start over with a newer doctor due to a move, she also went back to concerta before resuming dex. She is a citizen so and not from the US so her process was different. I am not sure about going from here to there and getting the same exact treatment. My point is, dexedrine is the closest you will get to adderall. Its a pretty good match because Adderall contains levoamphetamine- and dex is basically plain amphetamine.


I have ample documentation of my diagnosis, from multiple doctors, regular meetings with this psychiatrist, and hours and hours of testing that my college paid for. If I bring those sorts of records to a doctor in the UK, will they be able to prescribe Adderall for me? If so, does anyone know how much Adderall tends to cost in the UK?

Having all this documentation is great and definitely will make your treatment more likely. Something I would recommend would be to ask your doctor to write a letter noting your treatment, length of time you have been treated and that the doctor says your current meds are a medical necessity. Also ask the doctor if he/she will note that in the event adderall is not allowed, that an acceptable subsitute would be dexedrine.