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Adderall - Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Precautions, and Interactions

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Adderall is a drug used to treat people who have trouble paying attention. To learn more about Adderall, read below.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vishal Anilkumar Gandhi

Published At November 15, 2022
Reviewed AtNovember 17, 2022

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription medication for attention deficit (ADHD) and narcolepsy. The medicine is a combination of two drugs, Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine. It is considered a first-choice treatment for ADHD as it helps increase the ability to pay attention and stay focused on an activity. Amphetamine is an FDA-approved medication to treat ADHD in adults and children six years of age and older. Adderall comes under the Federal Drug Control Act, under which possessing medicine without a prescription is an offense.

What Is Adderall Used to Treat?

Adderall is used to manage and treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder as it acts as a central nervous system stimulant. The drug is also a second-line agent for narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep disruption, sleep paralysis and hallucinations seen primarily in adolescence. Lisdexamfetamine, a long-acting Amphetamine, is used to treat binge-eating disorders. Taking Adderall increases the ability to focus, pay attention, and control behavior problems. It helps one to organize tasks and improves listening skills.

How Does Adderall Work?

Adderall is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that increases dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the synaptic cleft through various mechanisms. The drug enters the presynaptic axon terminal through diffusion. It increases the number of monoamine neurotransmitters.

Adderall also inhibits the metabolism of monoamine neurotransmitters by inhibiting monoamine oxidase (MAO). Adderall keeps norepinephrine around in the synapses longer and sustains the flight-or-flight response. It triggers alertness, clarity, and focus and decreases appetite.

How Is Adderall Available?

Adderall comes in two forms: Immediate-release tablets and extended-release capsules.

Adderall contains active forms of Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine and includes:

  • Amphetamine aspartate.

  • Amphetamine sulfate.

  • Dextroamphetamine saccharate.

  • Dextroamphetamine sulfate

What Is the Dosage of Adderall?

Take Adderall exactly as the doctor prescribes, and do not take in amounts other than recommended. The choice for therapy is based on concern of abuse, age, the severity of the condition, or per patient’s preference. Dextroamphetamine is the only FDA-approved for use in children younger than six years with ADHD for behavioral therapy. Adderall is available in different strengths- immediate-release tablets in strengths: 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, extended-release capsules in strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg,15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, 30 mg, and an oral solution. Take medicine with or without food.


What Are the Side Effects of Adderall?

Adderall may cause side effects like

  • Stomach pain.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Weight loss.

  • Mood changes.

  • Dizziness.

  • Headache.

  • Dry mouth.

  • Sleep problems.

  • Fast heart rate.

  • Nervousness.

  • Diarrhea.

  • Muscle stiffness.

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe side effects like

  • Chest pain.

  • Trouble breathing.

  • Hallucination.

  • Numbness.

  • Unexplained wounds.

  • Seizures.

  • Muscle cramps.

  • Change in vision.

Missed Dose:

It is advised to take the missed dose when you remember, but you may skip the missed dose if it is late in the evening. Avoid taking extra medication.

What Can Drugs Interact With Adderall?

Drug interactions change how a medication works and should be considered while taking Adderall.

MAO Inhibitors:

  • Isocarboxazid.

  • Linezolid.

  • Metaxalone.

  • Methylene blue.

  • Moclobemide.

  • Phenelzine.

  • Procarbazine.

  • Rasagiline.

  • Safinamide.

  • Selegiline.

  • Tranylcypromine.

Antidepressants like:

  • Fluoxetine.

  • Duloxetine.

  • Venlafaxine.

Acidifying Agents like:

  • Guanethidine.

  • Reserpine.

  • Glutamine.

  • Acid HCl.

  • Ascorbic acid.

  • Acid phosphate.

Alkalinizing Agents:

  • Sodium bicarbonate.

  • Acetazolamide.

  • Serotonergic drugs:

  • Fentanyl.

  • Lithium.

  • Tramadol.

  • Tryptophan.

  • Buspirone.

  • Antihistamines.

  • Chlorpromazine.

  • Ethosuximide

Is It Safe to Take Adderall During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding?

Adderall is not recommended during pregnancy as it can cause congenital disabilities and increase the risk of premature delivery, low birth weight, and withdrawal symptoms, including agitation, dysphoria, laziness, and poor feeding and growth. However, women may breastfeed as long as they do not exceed the recommended dose of ADHD medication.

Smoking and Adderall:

Nicotine reduces hyperactivity and impulsivity. Smoking may mimic the effects of the CNS stimulant and may be used as a form of self-medication. Individuals with ADHD are more likely to become dependent on nicotine.

What Happens if You Suddenly Stop Taking Adderall?

Adderall should be tapered down gradually over some time and under medical supervision. Misusing or overusing for a long time may cause symptoms of withdrawal which include:

  • Feeling uneasy.

  • Hunger.

  • Anxiety.

  • Depression.

  • Panic attacks.

  • Suicidal thoughts.

  • Drug craving.

What Conditions Are Contraindicated for Adderall?

The use of Amphetamines and Amphetamine-like drugs is contraindicated in patients with the following conditions:

  • Cardiovascular Diseases - Patients with cardiovascular diseases, severe hypertension, and heart failure should not use CNS stimulants and should be carefully assessed.

  • Hypertension - Adderall is contraindicated in patients with preexisting severe hypertension and should be regularly monitored for changes in blood pressure and heart rate.

  • Glaucoma - Adderall is contraindicated in patients with narrow-angle glaucoma as it induces transient mydriasis and may increase intraocular pressure.

  • Agitation - The use of Adderall may exacerbate symptoms of behavior disturbance and thought disorder in psychotic patients and should be administered cautiously.

  • Liver Disease - CNS stimulants are extensively metabolized by the liver. Adderall should be administered cautiously in patients with liver disease.

  • Psychiatric Disorders - Adderall can cause psychotic or maniac symptoms, suicidal ideation, and aggression and exacerbate behavior disturbance and thought disorder symptoms.

  • Substance Abuse - Adderall has significant potential for habituation and abuse and can lead to psychological dependence in prolonged use.

  • Tics - CNS stimulant therapy should be cautiously administered in patients with Tourette’s syndrome.

  • Bipolar Disorders - It is important to screen patients for risk factors of developing manic episodes. Closely monitor when giving them Adderall.

  • Renal Dysfunction-Diabetes - Patients with impaired renal function have a reduced rate of elimination and may require the dose to be adjusted when given Adderall.

Alcohol and Adderall:

Adderall is a CNS stimulant, while alcohol acts as a depressant. Combining alcohol and Adderall in the long term can lead to severe cognitive issues that may damage the central nervous system. It can also lead to alcohol poisoning, heart problems, and behavioral issues.

Other Brands Of Amphetamine:

  1. Tablet Adzenys 40 mg.

  2. Capsule Dyanavel XR.

  3. Capsule Evekeo 25 mg.

  4. Tablet Mydayis 25 mg.

  5. Tablet Dexedrine 10 mg.

  6. Tablet Dextrostat 40 mg.

  7. Liquadd 40 mg.

  8. Tablet Procentra 25 mg.

  9. Tablet Zenzedi 10 mg.

  10. Capsule Xelstrym.


Adderall helps treat ADHD and narcolepsy by helping in decreasing hyperactivity and daytime sleepiness. However, they can have serious side effects and require medical supervision. Adderall can be addictive, so it is essential that the doctor regularly checks the progress and adjusts the dose accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Will Adderall Do in the Body?

Adderall is a direct stimulant to the CNS that raises blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate. It suppresses the appetite. Regular use of Adderall can alter brain structures.


Can Adderall Be Used for Depression or Anxiety?

Though Adderall is a commonly prescribed drug, it should not be used for depression or anxiety. It can worsen anxiety symptoms. It is an uncommon treatment to improve anxiety.


What Is the Drug Composition of Adderall?

Adderall is a combination of two pharmacological drugs Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine. They are two central nervous system stimulants that help improve focus by increasing dopamine levels in the brain.


Can Adderall Help You Fall Asleep?

Sleepiness is an uncommon side effect of Adderall. Adderall is used to calm people with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), which can cause sleepiness.


Can Adderall Help You Fall Asleep?

Hairfall is a rare side effect of Adderall. If used for prolonged periods, it can lead to hair thinning, eventually causing hair loss. 


What Is the Drug Class of Adderall?

Adderall is a potent CNS stimulant. It is a combination of two pharmacological drugs Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine. Both of these drugs are CNS stimulants.


What Does Adderall Make You Feel Like?

Adderall makes the person more awake, alert, and focused. It has a stimulating effect on the CNS. It releases dopamine into the brain, which provides a sense of euphoria and mental well-being.


What Are the Harmful Effects of Adderall?

Adderall has been associated with serious harmful side effects, including heart attacks and the risk of stroke, especially in people with heart defects. Stimulants like Adderall can be addictive if used for a prolonged period.


Is It Healthy to Take Adderall on a Regular Basis?

Adderall causes alterations in blood pressure, heart rate, and frequent mood swings in the short term. In the long term, Adderall could lead to drug abuse, addiction, heart disease, retarded growth in children, or even psychiatric changes.


Can Adderall Improve Memory?

If Adderall is used for longer, it can cause memory impairment. It can lead to memory slips and loss of memory.
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Dr. Vishal Anilkumar Gandhi
Dr. Vishal Anilkumar Gandhi



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