A healthcare provider may prescribe Adderall® (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) 30 mg tablets to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Adderall is a drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is a stimulant, but when used at the doses for ADHD, it has a calming effect. When used for narcolepsy, Adderall is used at higher, more stimulating doses. The medication comes in the form of a tablet that is usually taken twice daily. As with any medication, there are potential side effects, including a loss of appetite, dry mouth, and insomnia.
Currently, generic versions of Adderall are available in seven strengths. They are sold as Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine tablets. Adderall XR, a long-acting form of the medication, is also available in generic form.
Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine
Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine is a drug approved for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. When used for ADHD, it works by causing a calming effect at certain doses. When used in higher doses, the medicine can cause a stimulating effect to help keep people with narcolepsy awake. Potential side effects include headaches, weight loss, and insomnia.
ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is one of the most frequently occurring childhood psychiatric disorders. Symptoms include not staying focused on a task, having trouble sitting still, and acting without thinking. These symptoms usually become evident in preschool or early elementary years, and can continue into adolescence and even adulthood. In many cases, the most effective treatments for ADHD include medications and behavioral therapies.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that occurs when the brain fails to regulate sleep-wake cycles. This can result in people falling asleep at inappropriate times, such as while working, having a conversation, and, most dangerously, while driving a car. Other characteristic symptoms include cataplexy (a sudden loss of voluntary muscle tone) and brief episodes of total paralysis at the beginning or end of sleep.
Narcolepsy in Children
Narcolepsy in children occurs more frequently than people think. Children as young as three years old have been diagnosed with narcolepsy. Narcoleptic symptoms, especially excessive daytime sleepiness, often prove more severe when the disorder develops early in life rather than during the adult years. Regularly scheduled naps, high-quality nighttime sleep, and informed school personnel can be particularly helpful for children who have narcolepsy.
The Adderall dosage that your healthcare provider may prescribe will vary depending on several factors, such as your age, other medical conditions you may have, and other medications you may currently be taking. In general, the Adderall dosage for treating ADHD should not be more than 40 mg per day total. The dosage of Adderall for adults with narcolepsy is usually between 5 mg and 60 mg per day. The first dose of Adderall should be taken first thing in the morning.
Adderall is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and to treat narcolepsy. Although Adderall is a stimulant, when used at the doses necessary to treat ADHD, it usually has a calming effect. However, when used to treat narcolepsy, Adderall is generally used at higher doses than when prescribed to treat ADHD, resulting in a stimulating effect to help people with narcolepsy stay awake. Currently, there are some off-label Adderall uses, such as treating depression or helping with weight loss.
Adderall Side Effects
Although most people tolerate Adderall well, there are some potential side effects of the medication, such as headaches, weight loss, and emotional changes. In many cases, Adderall side effects are minor and can be easily treated by you or your healthcare provider. However, there are several side effects of Adderall (such as chest tightness) that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.
Adderall and Weight Loss
For people taking Adderall, weight loss appears to be one of the most common side effects. Although weight loss can be considered a good thing for some people, it may be a problem for children. During clinical studies, weight loss occurred in 9 percent of teenagers and in about 4 percent of children. Prior to taking Adderall, be sure to discuss the benefits and risks of potential weight loss with your healthcare provider.
Adderall Without a Prescription
Because Adderall is a controlled substance, there are strict rules for prescribing it. And without a prescription for Adderall, there are strict penalties for using the medication. It is possible to obtain the drug without a prescription, but it is illegal to do so. As a result, you can be prosecuted under both federal and state laws. Even though Adderall is a prescription medication, it does not mean that it is safe for everyone.
Adderall Sexual Side Effects
Some potential Adderall sexual side effects include impotence or a decreased sex drive. However, because these side effects occur so infrequently, it is difficult to know whether these problems are caused by another condition, Adderall itself, or a combination of both. Therefore, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider if you develop any sexual side effects while taking Adderall. There are some treatments, such as erectile dysfunction medication, that he or she can recommend.
Adderall and Migraines
There are several potential side effects of Adderall, and migraines may be one of them. During clinical studies, headaches were reported in up to 26 percent of people taking Adderall XR (data for Adderall is not available). Therefore, if you are experiencing migraine headaches, or other headaches, while taking Adderall, talk to your healthcare provider.
Adderall for Depression
There are several side effects of Adderall, and depression can be one of them. However, for people who were taking a long-acting version of the medication, depression was not reported as a common side effect in short-term studies. Based on this data, it is difficult to say how often depression will occur as a side effect of Adderall. Interestingly, one off-label use of the drug is to treat symptoms of depression.
Adderall drug interactions with other medications, such as certain antacids, MAO inhibitors, and phenobarbital, can change your body chemistry and may lead to problems. Some of these drug interactions with Adderall can increase the amount of Adderall in the blood, resulting in possible side effects, or may cause life-threatening side effects, such as very high blood pressure. Therefore, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about any Adderall drug interactions that may apply to you.
Adderall Warnings and Precautions
Some Adderall warnings and precautions include potential drug interactions, the risks of taking the medication while pregnant or breastfeeding, and the possibility of sudden death. Prior to taking Adderall, you should talk to your healthcare provider about any health conditions you may have, such as heart problems of any kind, high blood pressure, or any mental illness.
Adderall and Adderall XR are prescription medications that are meant to be taken orally. There have not been any clinical studies done on what can happen when Adderall is snorted, but it is likely to be more dangerous than taking it by mouth. When snorting or injecting drugs, it allows for direct entry into the bloodstream, making them more potent and more dangerous. In addition, Adderall is not sterile, and injecting or snorting it may lead to infections or other problems.
Amphetamines, including Adderall, can cause withdrawal symptoms in people who stop taking them too quickly. However, Adderall withdrawal is more likely to happen when people take higher doses of Adderall than recommended. People who take Adderall as prescribed for a legitimate medical purpose do not usually have withdrawal symptoms when stopping Adderall. Some withdrawal symptoms of Adderall can include extreme fatigue, depression, and changes in heart rhythm.
Adderall and Pregnancy
It may not be safe to use Adderall during pregnancy. The FDA has categorized Adderall as a pregnancy Category C medication, meaning that it has been shown to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies. During extensive clinical trials studying Adderall and pregnancy, the medication was shown to cause birth defects and miscarriages in mice. Other studies in rodents showed that Adderall caused problems with the brain chemicals in the fetus, resulting in long-term learning and memory problems.
As with any medication, it is possible to overdose on Adderall. Some possible effects of an overdose may include hyperactivity, fast breathing, or hallucinations. If you believe that you have overdosed on this medication, seek immediate medical attention.
Adderall: A Controlled Substance
Adderall, a controlled substance (Schedule II), has a legitimate medical purpose, but it is very likely to be abused. Because Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance, there are special rules for the medication. For example, Adderall prescriptions must be written in "hard copy" form, meaning they cannot be phoned or faxed to a pharmacy.
Adderall can be habit-forming when used in higher doses than recommended by your healthcare provider or for extended periods of time. The consequences of Adderall abuse can be extremely dangerous, sometimes resulting in an irregular heartbeat, dangerously high body temperatures, and/or the potential for cardiovascular failure or seizures.
Alternatives to Adderall
If Adderall is not adequately controlling ADHD for you or your child, or if you develop bothersome side effects from the medication, there are some alternatives you can try. Some of the alternatives to Adderall include lifestyle changes, other stimulant ADHD medications, and nonstimulant ADHD medications. Stimulant medications can be effective at treating ADHD, but they are a controlled substance and have the potential of being abused. At this time, there are only two nonstimulant medications licensed to treat ADHD.