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As the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) continues to rise, so does the demand for ADHD medications. The global market for ADHD medications is expected to reach $24.9 billion by 2025, according to a report by Grand View Research. With over 6 million children in the US diagnosed with ADHD, and 77% of those cases on medication, it’s no wonder the market is booming.
“adhd is classified as a mental disorder,” says lea mcmahon, clinical director of symetria recovery. “This disorder becomes prevalent in an individual’s early years and can continue into adulthood. ADHD affects your physical behavior, such as how you sit or pay attention to a specific task.”
But what does all this growth mean for the consumer? Are ADHD Medications Getting More Affordable or Are They Getting More Expensive? Let’s discuss the prices of ADHD medications, whether insurance typically covers their cost, and ways to save money on your necessary prescriptions.
related: adhd medications and children
Does insurance cover ADHD medications?
Most insurance plans (including Medicaid and Medicare) with prescription drug coverage will cover a percentage of the cost of ADHD medications.
If a generic version of a drug is available, the insurance plan is more likely to cover the generic than the brand-name drug. for example, your plan may cover amphetamine-dextroamphetamine (generic adderall) but not brand-name adderall. Newer drugs, like qelbree, don’t yet have generic versions available and are less likely to be covered by insurance.
In some cases, especially in cases of brand-name medications without a generic alternative, insurance requires prior authorization before covering ADHD medications. This means that your health care provider will need to provide information to the insurance company about why you need the drug and how it will be used to treat your medical condition. Medicaid often requires prior authorization for children who have been prescribed ADHD medication.
Health insurance companies have their own rules and regulations for ADHD medication coverage. Each plan has a list of covered drugs, called a formulary. Some plans do not provide insurance coverage for certain ADHD medications or may require you to try a different medication first. You will need to file a coverage appeal or ask your health care provider to switch to a drug that is on your plan’s formulary.
How much do ADHD medications cost with insurance?
Insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid may not fully cover the cost of your prescription. The cost of ADHD medications with insurance is likely to be higher before you meet your plan’s deductible. After you meet your deductible, your insurance will likely pay more or even fully cover the cost of your medication for the rest of the calendar year.
Another factor that affects prices for ADHD medications with insurance is your plan’s formulary. The formulary classifies drugs on a tier system. the higher the tier, the more you pay for the drug. generic drugs are typically lower tier drugs and therefore have a lower copay or coinsurance. brand name drugs are often higher tier and more expensive.
how much do adhd meds cost without insurance?
There are several types of fda-approved medications used to treat adhd. each medication works a little differently and has its own set of side effects. The cost of ADHD medication also varies depending on the type of medication and the dose prescribed. Common classes of medications used to treat ADHD include stimulants, non-stimulants, antidepressants, and other off-label medications.
“Stimulants have shown promising results in treating people with ADHD,” says dr. mcmahon explains. “ritalin, adderall, and dexedrine fall into this category.” Most stimulants are available in affordable generic versions and extended-release formulations.
Some extended-release ADHD medications are taken once a day, while immediate-release ADHD medications can be taken two or three times a day. The cost of ADHD medication can increase with the frequency of doses. for example, a one-month supply of immediate-release adderall may contain up to 90 tablets, while a one-month supply of adderall extended-release (adderall xr) contains only 30 tablets.
Use the ADHD medication price chart below to compare prices for popular prescriptions. Overall, the most expensive ADHD medication on our list is the brand-name antidepressant Wellbutrin XL, which costs about $2,582 for 30 300-mg tablets. that’s about $86 per tablet. The most expensive stimulant medication for ADHD is brand-name dexedrine, which costs about $1,690 for 60 15-mg capsules. that’s about $28 per capsule.
Overall, the cheapest ADHD medication on our list is the antidepressant nortriptyline (generic Pamelor), which costs $32 for 30 25-mg capsules, or about $1 per 25-mg capsule. the cheapest stimulant listed below is generic ritalin, which costs $66 for 60 10-mg tablets, or about $1 per 10-mg tablet.
adhd medication retail prices
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* Prescription drug prices often change. these are the most accurate drug prices at the time of publication.
how to save on ADHD medication costs
There are several strategies that people with ADHD can use to save money on medication costs.
1. use singlecare.
singlecare offers prescription drug discounts at no cost to you. By using the SingleCare Prescription Drug Discount Card, you can save up to 80% on the cost of your ADHD medication. for example, 60 generic ritalin 10mg tablets cost less than $10 with a one time care coupon. that’s $56 in savings. anyone can use singlecare’s free drug coupons regardless of insurance status or income level.
2. Compare the prices of ADHD medications at different pharmacies.
The cost of ADHD medications can vary significantly from pharmacy to pharmacy. There are many treatment options available for ADHD. by comparing prices, you can find a more affordable option. look up your prescription at singlecare.com and enter your zip code to compare drug prices at pharmacies near you.
3. check the drug manufacturer’s website for rebates.
Drug manufacturers may sometimes offer a rebate or coupon to help offset the cost of your medications. this is especially true for newer drugs that recently entered the market. however, manufacturer coupons generally have strict eligibility requirements or are capped at a certain dollar amount.
4. Get a prescription for a 90-day supply of medication.
After finding a medication that treats ADHD symptoms, consider filling a prescription for several months at a time. Although a higher initial cost, larger refills can help lower the cost per pill.
5. switch to an extended-release formulation.
Extended-release medications are designed to be taken only once a day instead of two or three times. Switching to a generic extended-release drug could help you save money. it will also reduce the number of times you have to remember to take medication each day.
6. ask your doctor about an alternative medication.
If you are taking an expensive medication for ADHD, ask your provider for advice on affordable alternatives or generic medications that may be available.
7. find patient assistance programs.
There are several patient assistance programs available that can help offset the cost of ADHD medications. programs vary in terms of who is eligible and what is covered.
other costs of adhd to consider
In addition to the high cost of ADHD medication, there are other costs associated with ADHD treatment. it could take months or years to get a diagnosis, and finding the right drug and dosage can be costly and time consuming.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is useful for most mental health disorders. As of 2016, 47% of children with ADHD received behavioral treatment. The average cost of therapy for people with ADHD is between $100 and $250 per session.
Most people who take ADHD medication need regular checkups, often every three months. The cost of these appointments can add up quickly, especially for those with a high-deductible insurance plan or no insurance.
Health care costs aren’t the only additional expense related to ADHD. Children and adolescents with ADHD represent approximately $12,000 of additional childhood expenses, not including treatment costs, according to research by Florida International University. this figure includes expenses such as special education, juvenile justice involvement, and employment.
In adults, productivity costs were estimated at $6 billion in 2019, according to the adhd institute. Employment-related expenses, such as time off from work and reduced employment, also contributed heavily, with an estimated $1.7 billion in absenteeism costs in the workplace.
adhd treatment can be expensive, but there are ways to save money. By comparing prices at different pharmacies, using SingleCare, or checking drug manufacturer discounts, people with ADHD can find more affordable options. Understanding other costs associated with ADHD treatment, such as therapy and testing, can help you plan for overall costs related to ADHD and its treatment.
Read this article in Spanish here.