Dexedrine: ADHD Medication FAQ

Dexedrine was the original ADHD medication. It is still prescribed for attention deficit, but its use has declined due to the high potential for abuse.

An image of a bottle of pills, an ADHD medication like Dexedrine.

What is Dexedrine?

Dexedrine is an amphetamine. This is the original ADHD medication, approved for use by the FDA more than 50 years ago.

How is Dexedrine taken?

Dexedrine comes in both long- and short-acting forms. The short-acting tablet comes in 5 mg dosages. This dose usually lasts about 2 hours. The longer-acting spansule is available in 5 mg, 10 mg, and 15 mg sizes and is typically effective for 8 to 10 hours after administration. This permits once-daily dosing with the spansule.

Why take Dexedrine instead of Ritalin?

When taken in equal doses, Dexedrine is a stronger medication than Ritalin.

Who can take Dexedrine?

Dexedrine has been approved for use in patients age 3 years and older.

What are the side effects of Dexedrine?

More common: False sense of well-being; irritability; nervousness; restlessness; trouble sleeping. Note - after these side effects have worn off, the patient may experience drowsiness, trembling, unusual tiredness or weakness, or mental depression

Less common: Blurred vision; changes in sexual desire or decreased sexual ability; constipation; diarrhea; dizziness or lightheadedness; dryness or mouth or unpleasant taste; fast or pounding heartbeat; headache; increased sweating; loss of appetite; nausea or vomiting; stomach cramps or pain; weight loss.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible of any of the following side effects occur:

More Common: Irregular heartbeat

Rare: Chest pain; fever, unusually high; skin rash or hives; uncontrolled movements of head, neck, arms, and legs with long-term use or at high doses: Difficulty in breathing; dizziness or feeling faint; increased blood pressure; mood or mental changes; pounding heartbeat; unusual tiredness or weakness

Is Dexedrine addictive?

Dexedrine has a high potential for abuse and addiction, especially among people who do not have ADHD.

For more information about Dexedrine and amphetamines, see the InteliHealth Website.

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