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Adderall (Dextroamphetamine/Amphetamine)

Adderall is a combination of two medications, dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, and is used to control the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, teens, and adults. Adderall works best as part of an overall treatment plan for ADHD; this medication can help control your symptoms but should be combined with therapy for best results. Adderall is part of a class of medications called central nervous system stimulants and is sometimes prescribed to treat narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.

Dosage

Adderall comes in a regular or quick-dissolve tablet form and is taken one or two times per day, usually in the morning. A doctor may start their patient out on one dose and then slowly increase their dosage to find the correct amount.

Important Information Before Use

Adderall can be habit forming and should be taken only as directed. If you have or have ever had glaucoma, thyroid problems, depression, bipolar, anxiety, heart attack or heart disease, high blood pressure, or lung, kidney or liver disease, you should talk to your doctor before you take Adderall. Tell your doctor if you have a family history of heart problems or sudden death from a heart-related condition. If you are over age sixty-five you should not take Adderall; work with your doctor to find an alternative medication for your condition.

 

Adderall may interact with other medications or supplements, including antihistamines, some antibiotics, antidepressants, supplements like glutamic acid (L-glutamine), beta blockers, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and more. If you are taking any other prescription drugs or herbal supplements, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking this drug.

Important Information During Use

  • Take Adderall in the morning or early part of the day for best results; taking this medication in the afternoon can cause sleep-related problems.
  • Let your doctor know right away if you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking Adderall. This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy, so you will need to use an alternative treatment for your condition.
  • Adderall can make it difficult to concentrate on or complete tasks; use care when driving or operating heavy equipment.
  • Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice when you take Adderall; grapefruit can reduce the effectiveness of this medication.
  • Adderall overdose is a potentially fatal medical emergency and should be treated right away. Symptoms of Adderall overdose include mood or behavior changes, headaches that will not go away, restlessness and rapid breathing, heart attack, or stroke.

Side Effects

If you experience serious or severe side effects from Adderall, you should call your doctor immediately. Serious side effects may include:

  • Rapid heart beat
  • Dizziness, faintness, or weakness
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Hives, itching, or skin rash
  • Blistered or peeling skin
  • Facial swelling
  • Hoarse voice
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Seizures
  • Confusion, suspicious thoughts, or hallucinations
  • Depression, mania, or changes in behavior or mood

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Change in sex drive or ability
  • Difficult urination
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Headache
  • Irritability, nervousness, or restlessness
  • Sleep difficulties

Withdrawing

If you are taking a very large dose of Adderall, you may feel some symptoms when you stop taking this medication. Slowly tapering off over time can reduce your symptoms; if you take a low or moderate dose, you are less likely to feel withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking this medication. Possible symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Depression
  • Heart rhythm changes

References:

  1. Adderall. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-63163/adderall-oral/details
  2. Highlights of prescribing information. (2013). Retrieved from http://pi.shirecontent.com/PI/PDFs/AdderallXR_USA_ENG.PDF

Page content reviewed by James Pendleton, ND

 

Last Update: 12-22-2014

 
   

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