Getting an Adderall Prescription Online: Is It Possible?

Telemedicine has made it possible for patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to get diagnosed from their own homes in some cases. (Learn More) But getting an Adderall prescription online is subject to local laws. (Learn More)

Federal laws on prescribing controlled substances have loosened somewhat, but it might not be possible to get an Adderall prescription online in some states. (Learn More)

Telemedicine and ADHD 

Every telemedicine evaluation for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is different, but most tend to follow the same pattern. A patient uses their smartphone app or online portal to make an appointment, and then has a one-on-one video or phone call with the doctor. Patients are encouraged to treat the conversation as they would any doctor’s visit.

While each doctor is different, the majority of online doctor visits follow the same basic process. First, the patient will make an appointment, often after creating an account. The medium allows the patient to talk to their doctor about their ADHD symptoms, ask questions, provide answers of their own, and interact in other ways that are very similar to actually being in the doctor’s office. The benefit with an online appointment is that it can be over in as little as 15 minutes, with no travel or wait time.

When the session is over, the doctor can diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and give the patient a personalized treatment plan. This will often include a prescription for Adderall.

If this is the case, the doctor will send the prescription digitally to a pharmacy of the patient’s choice, where they can pick it up on their own or have it shipped to them. Some jurisdictions might require the doctor to send a handwritten prescription to the pharmacy. 

doctor helping patient over laptop

Diagnosing ADHD Online

In order to ensure that the patient’s safety is given priority during a telemedicine session, a doctor will:

  • Evaluate all the patient’s current medical conditions, including their drug history and their current prescriptions, as well as any over-the-counter medications they may be taking.
  • Determine what their current condition is and what’s causing it. They will conduct a full examination through the patient app or portal.
  • Make sure that the condition warrants prescription medication. For example, a confirmed diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder will often be treated with a course of Adderall, but it’s not the only treatment method available.
  • Eliminate any contraindications (a situation where the medication might harm the patient, either due to their personal health or interactions with other medications). Online prescription systems do this by requiring patients to log their past and current medications as well as their allergies. This step reduces the possibility of human error by ensuring that the doctor cannot prescribe any potentially harmful or contraindicated medications.  

Getting an Adderall Prescription Online

When a doctor diagnoses a patient with ADHD, collecting an Adderall prescription is the next step. If the doctor or patient lives in a jurisdiction where Adderall cannot be prescribed online, the patient will have to either request a handwritten prescription or be seen by a doctor in person.

While an in-person appointment could obviously result in a handwritten prescription, a digital prescription is immediately (and securely) transmitted to a pharmacy — either a retail location, a mail-order facility, or a pharmacy located inside the doctor’s office or hospital.

When the chosen pharmacy receives the prescription, they will see if the Adderall prescribed by the doctor is covered by the patient’s insurance plan or if the patient wants to pay out of pocket.

Depending on what the answer to that question is, the patient, the pharmacist, and/or the patient’s health insurance company have a few options to make sure the patient receives their Adderall and they can pay for it:

The patient may make a copayment as put forward by their health insurance plan. The copayment is a fixed amount that is paid by the patient for a medication — for example, $5 for generic dextroamphetamine or $20 for Adderall.

The patient may pay a coinsurance amount, a percentage of the total cost of the Adderall. If the patient’s coinsurance rate is 20 percent, and the Adderall costs $100, the patient will have to pay $20.

Defocused shot of a group of medical practitioners working in a hospital

Generics and Insurance

Some states allow the pharmacist to provide the patient with a generic drug (dextroamphetamine, in this case) instead of the Adderall that the doctor prescribed. The patient will still make the decision whether to get the generic or brand-name drug. In areas where Adderall cannot legally be prescribed online, this might be the only option open to a patient who wants to make use of telemedicine services.

Once the patient makes their decision on how to receive their Adderall, the pharmacist will calculate how much is to be paid. This is determined by the doctor’s recommendation, costs, and personal factors of the patient’s case. In many cases, pharmacists will not know how much the patient is required to pay until they actually ring the patient up at the register. The amount is only revealed when the prescription is processed through the patient’s insurance provider.

Is It Possible to Get Adderall Online?

For a long time, concerns about misuse of a controlled substance like Adderall meant that it could only be prescribed after an in-person exam. Now, many states do allow for online prescriptions of medications that have been scheduled by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and federal laws are catching up with the wide-ranging benefits of telemedicine.

However, there are still regulatory controls about who can prescribe them, how much can be prescribed, and how often the medications can be prescribed. Since Adderall is a Schedule II drug, it is subject to some of the tightest restrictions in the country.

For this reason, it is possible that a doctor may not be able (or willing) to prescribe Adderall to a patient without an in-person exam.

References

More Doctors Want to Treat Patients From the Comfort of Their Couch. (March 2019). Bloomberg.

Treat ADHD Symptoms Over Skype? A New Study Says Yes. (March 2015). ADDitude.

Is Telemedicine the Future of Care? (January 2018). AARP.

Virtual Reality: More Insurers Are Embracing Telehealth. (February 2016). Modern Healthcare.

New State Laws Allow Telehealth Prescriptions for Controlled Substances; Yet, Regulatory Obstacles Still Remain. (January 2018). TechHealth Perspectives.

President Signs New Law Allowing Telemedicine Prescribing of Controlled Substances: DEA Special Registration to Go Live. (October 2018). Foley.

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