Adderall is an amphetamine that excites the central nervous system. It has been approved by the FDA since 1996 for treating ADHD in adults and in children over the age of 5 years old. Adderall tends to have longer lasting results and its side effects are actually not as harsh as the side effects of Ritalin, another drug medication for ADHD. Adderall is generally used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Adderall was sold under another name as Obetrol, previously and was prescribed to help people in weight and dietary control. So whilst it may have some benefits for people suffering from ADHD, it was originally used for other purposes.

Adderall for ADHD treatmentThe most common side effects of Adderall include insomnia, headache, weight loss and appetite loss. It is only fair to expect weight loss and appetite loss when one realizes what the drug was originally used for. Children’s weight and growth may be affected if Adderall is taken for long periods of time. Other side effects include stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, addiction and restlessness but they are not as common as the ones mentioned earlier. Adderall addiction is a main concern as it can cause serious behaviour and medical problems. However, the most serious side effects of Adderall are Tourettes Syndrome, hallucinations and increased heart rate.

Before one considers taking Adderall as treatment for ADHD, it is vital to discuss with the doctor about the risks involved and whether this medication could really help. Adderall should not be taken if one has glaucoma, overactive thyroid, heart problems and a history of drug abuse. Never take Adderall with anti-depressant drugs called MAOI as it can cause serious reactions that can be potentially fatal.

Adderall is a drug with high risk of abuse. This is evident in the widespread use of Adderall among high school and college students during their final examinations. As Adderall is a stimulant that contains Amphetamine, students take it to help them focus longer and recall more effectively (in the short term). Some could end up relying on this drug as they develop a state of dependent learning due to their inability to perform without it. The prolonged and unsupervised use of Adderall may lead to drug addiction, sudden death and serious cardiac defects. Amphetamines have appetite-suppressing properties, so some people take Adderall to lose weight. It is used in combination with other off label prescriptions drugs to treat obesity. This a risky way of losing weight as there have not been any research carried out to test the effectiveness of such treatment.



  • This combination medication is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – ADHD. It works by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain. Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine belongs to a class of drugs known as stimulants.
  • It can help increase one’s ability to pay attention, stay focused on an activity, and control behavior problems. It may also help one to organize tasks and improve listening skills.
  • This drug may also be used to treat a certain sleeping disorder (narcolepsy). It should not be used to treat tiredness or to hold off sleep in people who do not have a sleep disorder.

How to use Adderall XR

  • Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by the pharmacist before one starts taking amphetamine/dextroamphetamine and each time one gets a refill. If any questions, ask the doctor or pharmacist.
  • Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by the doctor, usually once daily in the morning. Taking this medication after noon may cause trouble sleeping (insomnia).
  • Swallow the capsules whole. Do not crush or chew the capsules. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. If one has difficulty swallowing this medication whole, one may sprinkle the entire contents of a capsule on a small amount of applesauce just before taking. Swallow the mixture right away. Do not chew the mixture, and do not save it for future use. Drink a glass of liquid after each dose.
  • The dosage is based on medical condition and response to treatment. Doctor may adjust the dose to find the dose that is best for one. Follow doctor’s instructions carefully.
  • Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it.
  • During treatment, doctor may occasionally recommend stopping the medication for a short time to see whether there are any changes in behaviour and whether the medication is still needed.
  • Adderall for ADHD

    By Benjamin Vincent Kasapoglu – Own work, CC BY 4.0, Link

    This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (including severe tiredness, sleep problems, mental/mood changes such as depression) may occur if one suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, doctor may reduce the dose gradually.  Consult with doctor or pharmacist for more information, and report any withdrawal reactions right away.

  • Along with its benefits, this medication may rarely cause abnormal drug-seeking behaviour (addiction). This risk may be increased if one has abused alcohol or drugs in the past. Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lessen the risk of addiction. Do not increase the dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Properly stop this medication when so directed.
  • When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Discuss with the doctor if this medication stops working well.
  • Tell doctor if the condition does not improve or if it worsens.

Side Effects

Loss of appetite, weight loss, dry mouth, stomach upset/pain, nausea/vomiting, dizziness, headache, diarrhea, fever, nervousness, and trouble sleeping may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell the doctor promptly. Always remember that doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to one is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. This medication may raise the blood pressure. Check blood pressure regularly and tell the doctor if the results are high.

Inform the doctor right away if one has any serious side effects, including: signs of blood flow problems in the fingers or toes (such as coldness, numbness, pain, or skin color changes), unusual wounds on the fingers or toes, mental/mood/behavior changes (such as agitation, aggression, mood swings, depression, abnormal thoughts, thoughts of suicide), uncontrolled movements, continuous chewing movements/teeth grinding, outbursts of words/sounds, change in sexual ability/desire, frequent/prolonged erections (in males).

Seek medical help attention immediately if one has any very serious side effects, including: shortness of breath, chest/jaw/left arm pain, fainting, severe headache, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, seizures, weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, confusion, swelling ankles/feet, extreme tiredness, blurred vision.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if one notices any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Dosing Considerations for all Patients

Adderall pills

  • Individualize the dosage according to the therapeutic needs and response of the patient.
  • Administer Adderall XR at the lowest effective dosage.
  • Based on bioequivalence data, patients taking divided doses of immediate-release ADDERALL, (for example, twice daily), may be switched to Adderall XR at the same total daily dose taken once daily. Titrate at weekly intervals to appropriate efficacy and tolerability as indicated.
  • Adderall XR capsules may be taken whole, or the capsule may be opened and the entire contents sprinkled on applesauce. If the patient is using the sprinkle administration method, the sprinkled applesauce should be consumed immediately; it should not be stored. patients should take the applesauce with sprinkled beads in its entirety without chewing. The dose of a single capsule should not be divided. The contents of the entire capsule should be taken, and patients should not take anything less than one capsule per day.
  • Adderall XR may be taken with or without food.
  • Adderall XR should be given upon awakening. Afternoon doses should be avoided because of the potential for insomnia.
  • Where possible, Adderall XR therapy should be interrupted occasionally to determine if there is a recurrence of behavioural symptoms sufficient to require continued therapy.


In children with ADHD who are 6-12 years of age and are either starting treatment for the first time or switching from another medication, start with 10 mg once daily in the morning; daily dosage may be adjusted in increments of 5 mg or 10 mg at weekly intervals. When in the judgment of the clinician a lower initial dose is appropriate, patients may begin treatment with 5 mg once daily in the morning. The maximum recommended dose for children is 30 mg/day; doses greater than 30 mg/day of Adderall XR have not been studied in children. Adderall XR has not been studied in children under 6 years of age.


The recommended starting dose for adolescents with ADHD who are 13-17 years of age and are either starting treatment for the first time or switching from another medication is 10 mg/day. The dose may be increased to 20 mg/day after one week if ADHD symptoms are not adequately controlled.


In adults with ADHD who are either starting treatment for the first time or switching from another medication, the recommended dose is 20 mg/day.

Dosage Forms and Strengths

  • Adderall XR 5 mg capsules: clear/blue (imprinted Adderall XR 5 mg)
  • Adderall XR L0 mg capsules: Blue/blue (imprinted AdderallXR 10 mg)
  • Adderall XR 1.5 mg capsules: Blue/white (imprinted Adderall XR 15 mg)
  • Adderall XR 20 mg capsules: Orange/orange (imprinted Adderall XR 20 mg)
  • Adderall XR 25 mg capsuler’”7white (imprinted Adderall XR 25 mg)
  • Adderall XR 30 mg capsules: Natural/orange (imprinted Adderall XR 30 mg)


Adderall XR administration is contraindicated in patients with the following conditions:

  • Advanced arteriosclerosis
  • Symptomatic cardiovascular disease
  • Moderate to severe hYPertension
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • In patients known to be hypersensitive to amphetamine, or other components of Adderall XR. Hypersensitivity reactions such as angioedema and anaphylactic reactions have been reported in patients treated with other amphetamine products
  • Glaucoma
  • Agitated states
  • History of drug abuse
  • Patients taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), or within 14 days of stopping MAOIs (including MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue), because of an increased risk of hypertensive crisis.


The basic difference between Adderall and Vyvanse is that Adderall is a mixture of four different kinds of amphetamine salts (one of which is dextroamphetamine) while Vyvanse only contains one salt, called lisdexamfetamine, which only gets converted into dexamphetamine once it is in the body.

Both drugs contain amphetamines making them to work in a similar way. One advantage of Vyvanse is that it may be less likely to be abused; however, there is no generic form available so it is more costly than generic forms of Adderall. Risk of dependence appears similar for both. They work similarly by blocking the re-uptake of two neurotransmitters (chemical substances that help nerves talk to each other) in the body. These neurotransmitters are called norepinephrine and dopamine. By blocking their re-uptake, levels of these neurotransmitters between nerves are increased, which helps relieve symptoms of inattention and agitation in children and adults with ADHD.

Adderall is a brand name for a combination drug that contains four different types of amphetamines (dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate). It’s easier to call these mixed amphetamine salts, or MAS for short while Vyvanse is the brand name for lisdexamfetamine. once lisdexamfetamine is inside the body it gets converted into dextroamphetamine (its active form) as soon as it touches red blood cells.