Adderall is the brand name of a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults.
Adderall is a combination of two stimulant drugs, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.
Adderall XR is an extended-release form of the drug.
Doctors also prescribe Adderall (but not Adderall XR) to treat narcolepsy.
Adderall may help people with ADHD control their activities and increase their attention spans.
The drug may also prevent symptoms of narcolepsy, which include excessive sleepiness and sudden attacks of daytime sleepiness.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Adderall in 1960. The agency also has approved the combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine as a generic drug.
DSM Pharmaceuticals makes the brand-name drug, and many drug companies make a generic version.
Adderall belongs to a class of drugs called central nervous system stimulants. The drug works by increasing levels of the brain chemical dopamine, which stimulates the brain.
This stimulation has a calming and focusing effect on people with ADHD.
Use of Adderall has surged in recent years.
Research shows that the number of ADHD medications prescribed to children increased 45 percent from 2002 to 2010.
Of these drugs, Adderall was the second most-prescribed medication.
Sales of the drug jumped more than 3,000 percent from 2002 to 2006. In 2010 alone, the total number of Adderall prescriptions topped 18 million.
One reason for the surge in Adderall prescriptions is that increasing numbers of children and teenagers are getting an ADHD diagnosis.
However, doctors also prescribe the drug to children and adults who do not have ADHD.
This increased availability of Adderall has led to widespread abuse of the medication.
Because Adderall increases dopamine levels, it can trigger a feeling of euphoria among people who don't have a medical reason to take it.
As a result, it has become a drug of choice among people trying to get "high," who often crush and snort the pills or mix them water and inject them.
Because stimulants like Adderall increase alertness and attention, a growing number of people who do not have an ADHD diagnosis are using the drug to enhance their ability to think and focus.
This off-label use of Adderall is a growing trend, particularly among high school and college students who are trying to study for exams or boost their academic performance.
Stimulants like Adderall, sometimes called “smart pills,” are currently the second most common form of drug use on college campuses.
Despite the widespread belief that Adderall can improve a person's ability to learn, the drug does not enhance thinking ability in people who do not have ADHD.
Young people who do not have ADHD but are taking Adderall to get better grades in school or gain an academic advantage are at risk for potentially deadly side effects.
Adderall also can suppress appetite, and a growing number of people who want to lose weight also abuse the drug as a diet pill.
However, using Adderall or Adderall XR for weight loss can result in severe side effects, including psychosis, addiction, stroke, cardiac arrest, and death.
Adderall can increase your risk for heart problems, high blood pressure, and stroke.
If the person taking Adderall has a history of a heart defect or other heart problems, there is a risk for sudden death.
Doctors need to check children for any heart problems before prescribing Adderall.
Children on Adderall also may develop psychotic symptoms, which include seeing things that are not there (hallucinations) and believing things that are not true (delusions).
Adderall may be habit-forming. This is more likely if you take Adderall in larger doses, more often, or for longer than recommended by your doctor.
You may need to take increasingly greater doses to control symptoms, but taking larger doses increases your risk for heart and mental health problems.
Children younger than 3 should not take Adderall, and children younger than 6 should not take Adderall XR.
Always tell your doctor if you have allergies to any medications. Let your doctor know about any:
Several other conditions your doctor will need to be aware of before prescribing Adderall for you include any history of:
If your child is taking Adderall, you should talk to the doctor about the risk for delayed growth.
Some stimulants may delay growth and development in children. A doctor will need to check your child regularly while the child is on Adderall.
It's also important confirm a diagnosis of ADHD before treating a child with Adderall.
Sometimes, poor school performance or behavioral issues are symptoms of other problems that need treatment, such as trauma, dyslexia, or mental illness.
Medical experts do not know whether Adderall is safe for elderly people.
If you are older than 65, ask your doctor whether there are other drug options that might be safer for you.
If you suddenly stop taking Adderall, you may have Adderall withdrawal symptoms, also known as an "Adderall crash."
Symptoms of Adderall withdrawal can include depression, insomnia or other sleep disorders, irritability, and extreme fatigue.
You are at higher risk for Adderall addiction if you have abused drugs or alcohol in the past.
Adderall withdrawal can be managed with help from your doctor, who may advise you to slowly taper off your use of the drug.
Adderall might be unsafe to take during pregnancy.
Because of this, talk with your doctor before starting Adderall if you are pregnant or may become pregnant, and call your doctor right away if you get pregnant while on Adderall.
Also, do not take Adderall while breastfeeding because the drug can pass through breast milk to a breastfeeding baby.
Common side effects of Adderall include:
If more serious side effects develop, call a doctor right away. Serious side effects of Adderall may include:
It's very important to let your doctor know about all drugs you are taking, including illegal drugs, any over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, and any herbs or supplements.
Types of drugs that are known to interact with Adderall and may cause problems include:
Additionally, Adderall may affect your level of concentration, coordination, and judgment.
Because of this, do not drive or participate in activities that could be dangerous until you know how Adderall will affect you.
Doses of Adderall are individualized, so your dose will depend on why you're taking Adderall, and on your response to the drug.
Doctors usually start with a low dose and increase the amount gradually.
The best dose will be the lowest possible dose that works.
A child older than 5 who is taking Adderall for ADHD would typically start with a dose of 5 milligrams (mg) and increase it gradually to 30 mg.
A typical dose for an adult with narcolepsy may start at 5 mg and increase to 60 mg.
You can take Adderall and Adderall XR with or without food.
People usually take Adderall tablets every four to six hours during the day.
People take Adderall XR capsules once a day, in the morning. Adderall taken in the evening can interfere with sleep.
Guidelines call for swallowing capsules whole. Or, you can open the capsule and sprinkle the contents into a teaspoon of applesauce. It's important to take any opened medicine right away.
Symptoms of an Adderall overdose may include:
If you think you have taken an overdose or if someone else may have overdosed on Adderall, call a poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
If you or someone else has symptoms of an overdose, call 9-1-1.
Take Adderall exactly as directed by the doctor.
Do not stop taking Adderall suddenly. This can cause severe depression, extreme tiredness, and other Adderall withdrawal symptoms.
If you miss a dose of Adderall, take the missed dose as soon as you remember.
But, if it's almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose.
Do not double the dose to make up for a missed dose.
A: You are correct in saying all medications must meet FDA standards, but in a much different range than you suggest, between approximately 98 percent to 101 percent, much stricter levels. Some people do notice a difference between generic drugs and the name brands due to the fillers and binders used, but the active ingredients are the same. Each person responds to these medications a little differently. If possible, it is better to stay with one manufacturer once you get good results, but sometimes the drug company does not have the supply and the pharmacy must order from a different company.
A: Adderall does not affect metabolism, but it can decrease your appetite, which will cause you to lose weight. You should not see weight gain with this medication.
A: Adderall (generic name is dextroamphetamine with amphetamine) is typically used for a couple of conditions. Adderall (dextroamphetamine/amphetamine) works by stimulating the central nervous system, which is not a long term effect. Adderall has a number of side effects with the most common being overstimulation, restlessness, headache, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and dry mouth. More serious side effects can affect the heart and brain function. Any new or worsened behavior and thought problems should be reported to your physician. Also any chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, or any chest discomfort should be reported to your physician. If someone wanted to stop taking Adderall, it is important not to abruptly stop and discuss tapering off the medication with their physician. Adderall (dextroamphetamine/amphetamine) can cause tolerance and dependence, therefore stopping therapy with this medication should be done slowly. This information is solely educational in nature and not meant to diagnose or treat conditions. It is important to discuss any questions or concerns about Adderall with your physician. I have attached a couple of links for more information about Adderall. http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/adderall https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601234.html
A: Many people who take Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) often lose appetite, and therefore weight, as a side effect. I am not sure if you are asking what you can do to get your son to eat or if you are trying to get him to eat healthy food because he is currently eating unhealthy foods. For either scenario, you might want to try keeping nutritious snacks that he enjoys around the house. If he likes fruit cut into slices, keep some precut fruit for him so that he can easily grab it when he feels like it. If he likes granola bars or nuts or crackers, keep some of those handy. If he is experiencing loss of appetite, you might want to consider a liquid supplement like PediaSure or Boost. Many children tend to enjoy these types of drinks, and they may be an easy way to consume calories and nutrition. For main meals, try cooking with leaner meats, like chicken breast or turkey. These will provide protein without a lot of saturated fat.
A: Adderall is a medication that is used to treat ADHD in children, and narcolepsy in adults. There are a number of side effects with Adderall that you should report to your health care provider, including, but not limited to: Confusion, Chest tightness, Chest pain or heart palpitations, Shortness of breath, Depression, More outgoing or aggressive behavior than normal, Strange behavior, Hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not really there), Agitation or restlessness, Fainting, Uncontrolled movements of the head, neck, mouth, arms, or legs (known as tics). You definitely should let the physician know about these new side effects so that he or she can decide what the best course of action is for your condition. Here is a link to more information on Adderall: http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/adderall Lori Mendoza, PharmD Poulin, PharmD
A: Adderall is an amphetamine-based drug. Anytime an amphetamine is given with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Zoloft, caution has to be taken. The possibility of a serotonin syndrome occurring increases since both work on the neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin. Symptoms of the serotonin syndrome include mental status changes such as irritability, confusion, hallucinations, increased heart rate, increased sweating, and nausea and vomiting. A physician should be aware that an individual is taking both medications and monitor the situation. Also, Adderall taken with Wellbutrin can lower a seizure threshold which is important in individuals that have a history of seizures. Alcohol should be avoided when taking Adderall, Wellbutrin, Zoloft and Klonopin because the combination can cause increased drowsiness and potentiate side effects. For more information on the drugs, please visit Everyday Health at http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/. Kimberly Hotz, PharmD
A: Increased and decreased sex drive are both possible side effects of Adderall. Generally, the male sex drive tends to decrease while on Adderall, and the female sex drive tends to increase. This is not true for all cases though, every person is affected by Adderall differently. If the medication is causing an increase in sex drive at the beginning, it may over time decrease once again. For more information on Adderall, follow this link: http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/adderall Lori Mendoza, PharmD Mendoza, PharmD
A: Adderall is a brand-name psychostimulant medication composed of racemic amphatemint aspartate monohydrate, racemic amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharide and dextroamphetamine sulfate, which is thought to work by increasing the amount of dopamine and norephinephrine in the brain. Adderall is widely reported to increase alertness, libido, concentration and overall cogitive performance while decreasing user fatigue. It is available in two formulations: IR (Instant Release) and XR (extended Release). The immediate release formulation is indicated for use in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, while the XR formulation is approved for use only with ADHD. In the United States, Adderall is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substanse Act due to having significant abuse and addiction potential. Your question relates to the safety of Adderall. Prolonged high doses of amphetamines followed by an abrupt cessation can result in extreme fatigue and mental depression. Chronic abuse of amphetamines can result in the manifestation of amphetamine psychosis. Because Adderall has a powerful effect of increasing blood pressure, it carries the same risk of sudden death, stroke, and heart attack, as does Ritalin (methylphenidate) and other stimulants used to treat ADHD, as well as the same risk of seizures in patients with a history of seizures Do not discontinue the medication. Consult your physician about any dosage changes or decreases. For immediate questions or concerns, please contact your physician or health care provider. Joseph Hall, RPh.
A: Adderall is a psychostimulant medication composed of racemic amphetamine aspartate monohydrate, racemic amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharide and dextroamphetamine sulfate for use in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Use the lowest effective individualized dose; administer the first dose as soon as awake; use intervals of 4-6 hours between additional doses. Initial dosing of Adderall is 5 mg once or twice daily; increase daily dose in 5 mg increments at weekly intervals until optimal response is obtained. The usual maximum dose is 40 mg per day given in 1 to 3 divided doses per day. For more detailed information, consult with your physician or pharmacist for guidance based on your specific condition and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Shereen A. Gharbia, PharmD
A: It may not be 100% complete but here is a partial list: Adderall (amphetamine dextroamphetamine); Didrex (benzamphetamine); Ritalin (methylphenidate); and Dexadrine Spansule (dextroamphetamine). William Gault, PharmD
A: There is a possibility that Adderall may be addicting. However, if you use it under a doctor's supervision, it is a lot safer. Some people do experience tolerance to the medication and may need an increase in dose. If you are on Adderall, you do not have to stay on it forever. Many people do get off of the medication if for some reason it is no longer needed or they may switch to another medication. If you are concerned about the medications addictive properties, it would be good to talk with the doctor about your concerns. Megan Uehara, PharmD
A: Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Amphetamines are thought to block the reuptake and increase the release of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Adderall is used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. Narcotic pain relievers and Xanax (alprazolam) are central nervous system depressants. So, in general, these drugs have the opposite effect of Adderall. However, narcotic pain relievers work at opioid receptors in the brain to relieve pain. Xanax belongs to the group of drugs known as benzodiazepines and these sedatives work on a different brain chemical known as GABA. A review of package inserts and medical literature showed no reports of an interaction between the specified medications; however, it is possible that central nervous system depressant effects, such as tiredness and impaired thinking, may be increased with the combination of a narcotic pain reliever and Xanax. Patients should not operate a car or heavy machinery without knowing how the drugs affect their ability to react. Michelle McDermott, PharmD
A: Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is a central nervous system stimulant that affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Adderall is used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a system of classifying drugs for use during pregnancy called Pregnancy Categories. The categories are based on whether or not study information is available and if the information is from animals or humans. The FDA then looks at whether or not any available information shows that the drug can be harmful or not. Adderall is classified as Pregnancy Category C. This means that there is not enough information to know whether or not it will harm an unborn baby. According to the prescribing information for Adderall, studies in rats have shown adverse effects in their babies. However, there are no adequate studies in pregnant women to know if the same effects happen in human. In this case, Adderall should only be given if the benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the baby. Your doctor is best able to help you determine whether or not to take Adderall during pregnancy. Contact your doctor right away for recommendations. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or local pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Sarah Lewis, RPh, PharmD
A: Unfortunately, many long-term effects of medications are not known since many medications are not studied for over 6 to 12 months. Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine) is a medication that has been used for many years in the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. The prescribing information lists the most common side effects of this medication to include loss of appetite, dry mouth, insomnia, headaches, emotional changes, diarrhea, and increased heart rate. The only documented long-term effect of Adderall is an increase in blood pressure over time. There are a few side effects that should be mentioned to your physician such as agitation, strange behavior, more outgoing or aggressive behavior, and restlessness. These are not considered normal side effects of the medication and should be brought to the attention of a physician. For more information on Adderall, click on this link: http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/adderall For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Lori Poulin, PharmD
A: Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. It runs an unpredictable course of ups and downs. When left untreated, these ups and downs can be devastating. The recurring manic and depressive episodes that characterize the disease make it difficult to lead a stable, productive life. In the manic phase, you may be hyperactive and irresponsible. In the depressive phase, it may be difficult to do anything at all. Early diagnosis and treatment can help you avoid these problems. Successful treatment of bipolar disorder depends on a combination of factors. Medication alone is not enough. In order to get the most out of treatment, it's important to educate yourself about the illness, communicate with your doctors and therapists, have a strong support system, make healthy lifestyle choices, and stick to your treatment plan. A comprehensive treatment plan for bipolar disorder aims to relieve symptoms, restore the ability to function, fix problems the illness has caused at home and at work, and reduce the likelihood of recurrence. Medication is the cornerstone on bipolar disorder treatment. Taking a mood-stabilizing medication can help minimize the highs and lows of bipolar disorder and keep symptoms under control. Psychotherapy is essential for dealing with bipolar disorder and the problems it causes in life. Managing symptoms and preventing complications begins with a thorough knowledge of the illness. Education is a key component of treatment. Lifestyle management involves maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding alcohol and drugs, following a consistent exercise program, minimizing stress, and keeping sunlight exposure stable year round. Support: Living with bipolar disorder can be challenging, and having a solid support system in place can make all the difference in your outlook and motivation. The support of friends and family is also invaluable. Medications called mood stabilizers are used to prevent or mitigate manic or depressive episodes. Mood-stabilizing medications with demonstrated efficacy include lithium, and anticonvulsants such as Depakote, carbamazepine, and lamotrigine. The atypical antipsychotics are all FDA-approved for acute treatment of mania (quetiapine, olanzapine, risperidone). Generally speaking, mood stabilizing medications are more effective at treating or preventing manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder; however, some medications (i.e. lamotrigine, fluoxetine, quetiapine) have demonstrated efficacy for the treatment of bipolar depression. Everyone's different, so finding the right medication or medications for you will likely take some trial and error. This requires patience, as some medications need eight weeks or longer to take full effect. Generally only one medication is changed at a time so your doctor can identify which medications work to relieve your symptoms with the least bothersome side effects. This can take months or longer, and medications may need to be adjusted as your symptoms change. In medicine, every medication has its side effects: bipolar disorder medications are no exception. It is important to point out that each medication is associated with a unique side effect profile. Medications should be taken as directed by a doctor. Sometimes a person's treatment plan needs to be changed. When changes in medicine are needed, the doctor will guide the change. A person should never stop taking a medication without asking a doctor for help. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Shereen A. Gharbia, PharmD
A: Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine are combined in a single pill (brand name Adderall) for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adults. The product is available in an immediate-release form and an extended-release form. Both forms are dosed according to response. According to the package insert, the immediate-release form is started at 5 mg once or twice daily with increases by 5 mg per day at weekly intervals until an optimal response is achieved. Generally, doses do not exceed a total of 40 mg per day. The extended-release from is started at 20 mg per day and increased as necessary on a weekly basis to achieve efficacy and tolerability. It is recommended that amphetamine therapy be interrupted occasionally to determine if there is a recurrence of behavioral symptoms to require continued therapy. It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Amphetamines are habit forming and can be diverted. Do not take this medication in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label and if you have concerns or need more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Regards, Michelle McDermott, PharmD
A: Adderall (dextroamphetamine+amphetamine) is a psychostimulant which increases the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine to improve symptoms of ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and narcolepsy. When a medication is started, in order for it to get to what is called the "steady state," it takes, on average, 5 half-lives to reach this state. Steady state is when the medication is at the therapeutic level in the body twenty four hours a day. The half-life is how long it takes the drug to be eliminated by half the amount in the body. The average half-lives for the two ingredients in Adderall (dextroamphetamine+amphetamine) are 10 and 13 hours. Therefore, the steady states would be reached at 5 times those hours, which are 50 and 65 hours on average. Everyone reacts/responds differently, so these average times may have a range of action time around them. Another factor on the absorption of the medication is acid. The pH levels in the stomach and the urine can influence how much Adderall (dextroamphetamine+amphetamine) is absorbed. In the stomach, acidic substances, such as citric acids, can decrease the absorption of the medication and in the urine, it can decrease reabsorption in the kidneys. Alkaline agents, such as antacids can increase reabsorption in the kidneys, which can result in a dangerously high level. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Patti Brown, PharmD
A: The fact that Lonamin (phentermine) is making you depressed may be diagnostic of a much more serious issue. This type of medication usually makes people feel energized. By virtue of the fact that you may have had a paradoxical reaction (opposite of what is typical) may shed some light on what else is going on with you. I would hesitate to discuss Adderall XR with you at this point. It is important that you discuss the effect that the phentermine had on you with your provider. Write down in detail what kinds of depressive symptoms that you were having. When did they start, how intense were they, what activities did you engage in when you were "depressed"? Give these descriptions to the physician. You can also find helpful information on phentermine at http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/phentermine. Matt Curley, PharmD
A: Stimulants, like Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine), are by far the most commonly prescribed medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and they all have the potential side effect of reducing growth. The main way they do this is by cutting down the child's appetite. In children and adolescents who are still in their growth period, Adderall can suppress linear growth. Physicians commonly interrupt treatment, if possible, on weekends and holidays, when children are not in school, for growth catchup. Children and adolescents taking Adderall require close monitoring for growth suppression and periodic measuring of their height. On average, the decline in growth with stimulants is small (a few centimeters at most), and children may catch up somewhat by growing for a longer period of time during puberty. So, although they are short as teens, they often reach normal height in adulthood. A child who is short or small to begin with may have more of a problem, and may need his dosage adjusted, or perhaps a different medication altogether. It would be best to consult with the prescribing physician about your concerns. He or she is in the best position to answer any questions you may have about your child's growth. For more specific information, consult with your doctor for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Lori Poulin, PharmD
A: Adderall (the generic is amphetamine salts) is a common medication for autism. The immediate-release version is used for ages three years and older. An alternative stimulant for three years old and up is Dexedrine or Dextrostat (dextroamphetamines). Other alternative stimulants are for ages six years old and up, and they include Adderall XR (amphetamine salts XR), Concerta, Focalin, Metadate ER, and Ritalin (methylphenidate). Strattera is a non-stimulant for ADHD and is also used for autism. In addition to stimulants, antidepressants are also often prescribed. Antipsychotic medications can help with irritability, and sometimes mood stabilizers recommended. You should talk to your child's doctor to find the right medication for him or her. Patti Brown, PharmD
A: Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant. It affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Adderall is used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall passes through breast milk. The prescribing information from the manufacturer states that patients should refrain from breastfeeding while taking this medication. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed, be sure to talk with your health care provider. He or she can decide whether you should or should not take Adderall while breastfeeding, based on your particular situation. Lori Poulin, PharmD
A: Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant. It affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Adderall is used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall passes through breast milk. The prescribing information from the manufacturer states that patients should refrain from breastfeeding while taking this medication. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed, be sure to talk with your health care provider. He or she can decide whether you should or should not take Adderall while breastfeeding based on your particular situation. Lori Poulin, PharmD
A: Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, both of which are central nervous system stimulants. This medication affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Adderall is used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a neurological condition related to the brain's chemistry and anatomy. ADHD manifests itself as a persistent pattern of inattention or hyperactivity/impulsivity. Common side effects of Adderall include headache, dizziness, insomnia, dry mouth, unpleasant taste in the mouth, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, and loss of interest in sex. This is not a complete list of side effects that can occur with Adderall. The amount of time it takes for Adderall to clear your system depends on whether it is the immediate-release or extended-release product and patient age. Both forms of Adderall, IR and XR, have the exact same amphetamine-based ingredients and identical composition, with the only difference being the amount of time by which they are released into the body. On the basis of body weight, children have a higher clearance than adolescents or adults. The mean half-life for d-amphetamine is 10 hours in adults; 11 hours in adolescents aged 13-17 years and weighing less than or equal to 75 kg/165 lbs; and 9 hours in children aged 6 to 12 years. Most pharmacists consider that after 3 to 5 half-lives, close to 90% of the drug has been eliminated and is no longer affecting the body. Therefore, it generally takes up to 2-3 days to fully clear Adderall from the body. Sarah Lewis, PharmD
A: Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine) is a medication that is used to treat ADD/ADHD or narcolepsy. It is in the class of medications that are considered stimulants and although it goes against the way you would think a stimulant would work, it calms down the patient with ADD/ADHD. The prescribing information on Adderall does not specifically list any interactions with the ingredients of cough/cold products. However, you should keep in mind that the products that contain a decongestant (pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine) can cause an increase in blood pressure either by themselves or together with the ingredients in Adderall. You should use the least amount of decongestant for the shortest amount of time when using over the counter cough/cold products and Adderall. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Lori Poulin, PharmD
A: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is currently treated with stimulant drugs and the no stimulant Strattera (atomoxetine). Stimulant medications include Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana (methylphenidate), Detroamphetamine-amphetamine (Adderall) and Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine). Stimulants are thought to balance the chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. The stimulants are formulated in different forms such as short-acting and long-acting. The short acting forms such as Ritalin (methylin) can last about 4 hours. The long acting forms such as can last about 6--12 hours. Adderall is an example of a stimulant available as a short-acting and long-acting formulation. Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) is a stimulant that affects chemicals in the brain that are associated with hyperactivity and impulse control. Adderall is used in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall is available as a short-acting and long-acting formulation. Adderall is usually taken in the morning. Doses of Adderall late in the day can result in insomnia or trouble sleeping. Adderall can be taken with our without food. Common side effects with Adderall include a headache, dizziness, sleep problems, dry mouth, diarrhea, constipation and weight loss. Concerta is available as a long acting formulation. Concerta (methylphenidate) is a stimulant that affects chemicals in the brain that cause hyperactivity. Concerta is indicated for attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Common side effects include nervous feeling, sleep problems, weight loss. Ritalin is a stimulant available as a short-acting, intermediate, and long-acting formulation. Some Ritalin is also available as a generic. Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a stimulant that affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that affect hyperactivity and impulse control. Ritalin is used in attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sometimes narcolepsy. Side effects include weight loss, sleep problems, nervousness. Strattera (atomoxetine) affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that cause hyperactivity and impulse control. Strattera is indicated to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Common side effects of Strattera include decreased appetite, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, trouble sleeping and headache. Talk to your doctor about an alternative option and a cheaper medication for the Adderall. Your doctor can determine the best treatment for your current medical condition. Kimberly Hotz, PharmD
A: Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Adderall is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. According to the prescribing information, the most common side effects of Adderall are loss of appetite, insomnia, weight loss, abdominal pain, mood changes, and vomiting. As a result of the stimulant effects of Adderall, this drug should not be used in people who have advanced or symptomatic cardiovascular disease, moderate to severe hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland), or glaucoma. Blood pressure and heart rate should be monitored routinely in people taking Adderall, especially in people with high blood pressure. An increase in blood pressure should be managed by decreasing the dose of Adderall. Amphetamines are controlled substances because of their high potential for abuse. Tolerance and psychological dependence have occurred with amphetamines. Tolerance is the need for higher and higher doses of the drug to achieve the same degree of stimulant effect. Physical dependence is when the body becomes used to the medication and if it is stopped suddenly, withdrawal symptoms can occur (such as extreme fatigue and depression). Addiction is different than physical dependence or tolerance in that addiction results in drug craving behaviors and the inability to control drug use. Amphetamines should only be taken as prescribed by a healthcare provider and only by the person for whom they were prescribed. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Michelle McDermott, PharmD
A: Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine) is a stimulant which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Some of the most common side effects associated with the use of Adderall include insomnia, headache, anorexia, dry mouth, abdominal pain, nausea, weight loss, increased heart rate, and agitation. Contraindications for Adderall use, or disease states in which Adderall should not be used, include arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), cardiovascular disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), glaucoma, agitated states, patients with a history of drug abuse and patients who have been on a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressant within the last 14 days. The prescribing information for Adderall does not state that patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) should avoid treatment with Adderall. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Multiple sclerosis directly affects the myelin sheath, which is a layer around nerves that helps to transmit signals. Symptoms of MS vary widely among individuals, but may include muscle spasms, tingling pain, weakness, and loss of balance. Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease, meaning it can get worse over time. Some patients with MS have mild symptoms and can live very active lives, while those with very severe MS may have lost the ability to walk or speak. There are several different treatment options for treating MS. Your doctor will determine what treatment options are best for you based on the severity of your MS, what symptoms are most bothersome for you, your other medications and overall health status. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Laura Cable, PharmD
A: Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine) is a combination medication that is categorized in a class of drugs known as central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. Adderall is used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Adderall works by stimulating the release of the chemicals, norepinephrine and dopamine. Adderall has a stabilizing effect in ADHD, and can stimulate the brain to help with alertness. According to the prescribing information for Adderall, decreased sperm count was not reported as a possible side effect of the medication. Impotence and changes in libido (sexual desire) are listed as possible side effects of Adderall. Some of the common side effects associated with Adderall include weight loss, headache, insomnia, dry mouth, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Kristen Dore, PharmD
Latest Update: 2014-04-28
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