Developing a Tolerance for Adderall?

Q:

"My current dose of Adderall (20 mg daily) seems to be less effective that it had been when I first started. Have I built up a tolerance to the medication? Do I need an increase in dosage?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).
A:

I'm glad you are thinking and taking responsibility for your ADHD needs. To answer your question: yes, it is possible you've developed a tolerance to Adderall at your current dose.

The dose of Adderall needed is not based on age or body weight. It appears to be based on the specific pattern of metabolizing the medication for each person. Thus, some need 5 mg per dose, some 10, some 15, and some 20. Each individual needs to find out.

When you say that you use to take 20 mg a day, did you mean 10 mg twice a day? If so, you may find that you now need a higher dose, perhaps 15 or 20 mg each dose. Each dose lasts between four and five hours. So, experiment with when you need coverage. Perhaps you can take it during classes, skip time in the late afternoon when you are "vegging" out, then take a dose to cover homework. Discuss these options with your physician.


Talk about your experience with different ADHD medications on the ADDConnect medication forum.

Check out these threads to learn about readers' real-life experiences with Adderall:

"If I exercise or compete after I’ve taken my 10mg of Adderall, I almost instantly hit my max HR" in Heart Rate While Exercising?

"I know it's all trial and error, but I feel like such a bother whenever I go to the doc and say, 'Hey, it's still not working.'" in How Long Did it Take You to Find the Right Dose?


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Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
 
 
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