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Adderall

(AD-er-all)

For the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

Disclaimer

The content on this page is not medical advice and should be used for informational purposes only. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage are right for you.

Last updatedJuly 27, 2021

Adderall

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in people with ), aged 3 years and older.

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Generic name

Combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine
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Rx or OTC

Available by prescription only. Adderall is a controlled substance.

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Black box warning

  • Adderall is a controlled substance with a high potential for abuse.
  • Taking amphetamines for prolonged periods of time may lead to drug dependence and must be avoided.
  • Adderall is prescribed sparingly to help reduce the chance of using it recreationally or distributing it to others.
  • Misuse of amphetamine may cause sudden death and serious cardiovascular adverse events.


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When & How

  • The first dose is usually taken in the morning when you wake up.
  • One to two more doses may be taken during the day, 4 to 6 hours apart.
  • Can be taken with or without food.
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Do’s

  • Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
  • You will be started with the lowest dose possible to reduce risks of side effects.
  • Adderall should be part of a total treatment program for ADHD that may include other approaches (psychological, educational, and social support).
  • Be sure to schedule appointments with your doctor on a regular basis so that you do not run out of medication. This prescription is not refillable.
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Don’ts

  • Don’t take before bed—you may have trouble falling asleep.
  • Should not be given to children younger than 3 years old.
  • If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about the potential risks.
  • Do not suddenly stop taking Adderall without checking with your doctor.
  • Never take Adderall unless your doctor has prescribed it for you.
  • Do not sell, give away, or let anyone else take your medication.
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Discuss with your doctor

  • If you are taking any other medications and supplements.
  • If you have any heart problems, ask your doctor if it’s safe to take Adderall.
  • If you have any signs of heart problems (such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting) while taking it.
  • Any side effects that bother you or do not go away.
  • Have any new mental symptoms (such as abnormally excited mood, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, hostility) or if any mental symptoms suddenly get worse while taking Adderall.
  • If you have tics or Tourette’s syndrome (Adderall may worsen these symptoms).
  • If you take medications for depression (including MAOIs), blood pressure, seizures, blood thinning, cold or allergies (medications that contain decongestants), or for stomach acid.
  • If you or anyone in your family has a history of excessive alcohol use, substance use disorders, or prescription drug abuse.
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What is Adderall?

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in people with ADHD, aged 3 years and older.

Adderall is also approved to treat narcolepsy, in which people tend to fall asleep whenever they are in relaxing surroundings. It is only for people aged 12 and older.

Adderall works by increasing the availability of brain neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in your central nervous system connections.

It is available by prescription only and is a controlled substance.

Adderall dosages
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Tablets

  • 5 mg
  • 7.5 mg
  • 10 mg
  • 12.5 mg
  • 15 mg
  • 20 mg
  • 30 mg

Similar drugs to Adderall

Adderall is an amphetamine, which stimulates the central nervous system. Other medications that work like Adderall include:

  • Ritalin (methylphenidate)
  • Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine)
  • Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)

Side effects

Disclaimer

Medications may affect individuals differently. Usage of any medication may include side effects and other interactions. Here is a list of known common side effects and interactions. This list is not exhaustive -- there may be other side effects or interactions for this medication that are not listed here. In some cases, the likelihood of side effects or interactions may increase depending on dosage. It’s important to keep in mind that in extreme cases, other serious side effects, even death, may occur. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage is right for you.

Common side effects

  • Stomachache
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth

Serious side effects include (seek urgent medical care)

  • Sudden death in patients who have heart problems or heart defects
  • Stroke and heart attack in adults
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • New or worse behavior and thought problems
  • New or worse bipolar illness
  • New or worse aggressive behavior or hostility
  • New psychotic symptoms in children and teenagers (such as hearing voices, believing things that are not true, are suspicious)
  • New manic symptoms in children and teenagers
  • Circulation problems in fingers and toes (they may feel numb, cool, painful, or may change color from pale, to blue, to red)

Full list of side effects

Cardiovascular

  • Palpitations
  • Tachycardia
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sudden death
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Circulation problems in fingers and toe

Central nervous system

  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Overstimulation
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Euphoria
  • Dyskinesia
  • Dysphoria
  • Depression
  • Tremor
  • Tics
  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Excessive talkativeness or wordiness
  • Chronic skin picking

Eye disorders

  • Vision blurred
  • Dilation of the pupil of the eye

Gastrointestinal

  • Dry mouth
  • Unpleasant taste
  • Stomachache
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Decreased appetite leading to unintended weight loss
  • Anorexia

Allergic reactions

  • Urticaria
  • Rash
  • Hypersensitivity reactions including swelling and anaphylaxis
  • Serious skin rashes, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis, have been reported

Endocrine

  • Impotence
  • Decreased libido
  • Frequent or prolonged erections

Skin

  • Hair loss

Musculoskeletal

  • Rhabdomyolysis

Long-term complications

  • Because Adderall has a high potential for abuse, it may become habit-forming
  • Children taking Adderall regularly may have a temporary slowing in growth rate (on average, a total of about 2 cm less growth in height and 2.7 kg less growth in weight over 3 years)
  • There have been isolated reports of cardiomyopathy associated with chronic amphetamine use

Safety notes

  • Adderall is a controlled substance, which means there is an increased risk of dependence, abuse, and accidental overdose.
  • If you take too much Adderall (or overdose), call your doctor or poison control center right away, or get emergency treatment.
  • It should not be taken by people with heart abnormalities or other serious heart problems, as it may cause heart attack, stroke, or other serious heart event.
  • May cause a small increase in blood pressure. You may need to have your heart rate and blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Amphetamines, like Adderall, can impair your ability to drive or use heavy machinery.
  • Adderall may worsen symptoms in people with bipolar disorder, psychosis, and aggression.
  • Serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening reaction, may occur when Adderall is used along with other drugs that affect the serotonergic neurotransmitter systems such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, and St. John’s Wort.
  • Adderall may cause allergic reactions, including serious skin rashes, angioedema (swelling), and anaphylaxis.
  • When just starting Adderall XR, monitor your circulation in the hands and feet. There is a risk for Raynaud's phenomenon. Look for these symptoms: Fingers or toes may feel painful, cool, numb, change in color, or be sensitive to cold or hot temperatures. Symptoms improve when stopping the drug or reducing the dosage.
  • Adderall has not been studied in the geriatric population.

Adderall interactions

Disclaimer

Medications may affect individuals differently. Usage of any medication may include side effects and other interactions. Here is a list of known common side effects and interactions. This list is not exhaustive -- there may be other side effects or interactions for this medication that are not listed here. In some cases, the likelihood of side effects or interactions may increase depending on dosage. It’s important to keep in mind that in extreme cases, other serious side effects, even death, may occur. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage is right for you.

Tell your doctor if you are taking any of these medications or supplements

These medications may have moderate to severe side effects. Talk to your doctor before taking them with Adderall:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or within 14 days of stopping MAOIs. These include isocarboxazid (Marplan),  phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Emsam), and tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • Medications for depression: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants,  lithium, tryptophan, buspirone, and the supplement St. John’s wort.
  • Antihistamines, used for allergies
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Phenytoin, a medication used to prevent seizures
  • Medications for heartburn or reflux, both prescription and over the counter
  • Medications for pain: fentanyl, tramadol
  • Triptans, for migraines

Tell your doctor if you have any of these pre-existing conditions

  • Advanced arteriosclerosis, symptomatic cardiovascular disease, or moderate to severe hypertension
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Known hypersensitivity or reaction to other stimulant drugs
  • Glaucoma
  • Agitated states
  • A history of drug abuse
  • In patients known to be hypersensitive to amphetamine, or other components of Adderall. Allergic reactions such as swelling and anaphylactic reactions have been reported in patients treated with other amphetamine products.
  • A history of seizures
  • Pregnant or nursing

Adderall pricing

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