Are Your Professional Amphetamines Working?
I wanna know!
A second post in the same week — is this high of 67 in February thawing me out? Maybe! At any rate, I found something intriguing on TikTok that I would like to discuss.
A lot of people think they’re being sold fake prescription amphetamines. They say they’re falling asleep at work on 50mg of Vyvanse, taking old pills and feeling a noticeable difference to their new ones, and feeling that even increased doses are less effective.
I hesitated to dig into this, because TikTok is basically a massive algorithmic rumor mill, but then I saw this video of a woman saying that her drug screening came back negative for amphetamines, 3 hours after taking Vyvanse. Here she shares a copy of her results:
Enable 3rd party cookies or use another browser
Soo.. that’s weird, and it seemed to validate a lot of people’s experiences with stimulant medications in the last few months. Yes, the body does build up a tolerance to stimulants over time, requiring a higher dose, but that’s gradual, not sudden, and certainly not directly after a dosage increase!
In a capitalist prohibition market where authorities hold all the power, people do not have the resources to test their own drugs and understand exactly what they’re putting in their bodies. This can be deadly for users of illicit drugs, but these experiences show how little power prescription drug users have, too.
Consumers are at the mercy of companies and regulators — if the drug you rely on everyday suddenly stops working, what can you do?
I am not an investigative reporter, so it’s a bit beyond me to really figure out what’s going on here, but it’s not like there isn’t precedent.
Pfizer was ordered to pay $2.3 billion in 2009 for lying about the efficacy of their drugs, and in 2012, GlaxoSmithKline paid out $3 billion in the largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history. The FDA is also pretty bad at regulating drug quality, and as Katherine Eban discovered in her investigation of generic drug manufacturing, companies have been found to just fully make shit up.
In alternative theories: one TikToker noted it’s possible that manufacturers are using new kinds of binding agents, which can alter the way a drug feels and present new side effects — in her case, switching to a different manufacturer made an antidepressant that was previously working well start to increase suicidal thoughts.
While I cannot promise you answers, one thing I can do is gather stories. If your stimulant meds have suddenly stopped working, if you’re getting strange new side effects that you shouldn’t (like starving and falling asleep? on amphetamines?!), if you’re a healthcare professional or you work in a school and you’ve heard or seen this happening — if you have a direct experience of this you’d be willing to share for an article (anonymously or not), I want to talk!
Here are some things I want to know:
What drug and dose are you taking, and is it generic?
Who is the manufacturer?
How long have you been on this drug and dose, and when did you start to feel it change?
What does the drug “working” mean to you? (because I realize the phrase “this drug works” is vague and subjective, and I’m looking for specifics)
How is this affecting your life?
You can reply to this email, or reach me at email@example.com. Also, the comment section on this post is open if ya’ll want to compare notes.
Oof. Absolutely riveting read! I am currently not prescribed any meds for my ADHD (AuDHD), but I’ve been looking into starting. Thank you for gathering stories and beginning to look into this. Thanks for keeping us updated as you learn more!
Ah! I’ve been off medications for 2 years and finally have insurance again. It’s been over a month of trying to find providers then been told they’re out of network. Was literally supposed to have an appointment right now but it was canceled because I need pre-authorization. Of course when I called insurance to see if this provider was in network they did not tell me my plan needed pre-authorization.
It will be really cool if by the end of all this, the meds I get prescribed don’t work! That’s awful for everyone. Buried in my medicine cabinet are 6 Adderall from my previous prescriptions, stored for emergencies. I’ll at least have something to compare it to.