Everything You Ever Wanted (and Needed) to Know About Adderall

Answers to some of your biggest questions about treating ADHD with Adderall, including side effects, dosages for children, warnings, and more.

A single Adderall pill on table used to treat ADHD symptoms
Photo by Chelsea Levin

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a mixture of four different amphetamine salts — Dextroamphetamine Saccharate, Amphetamine Aspartate, Dextroamphetamine Sulfate, and Amphetamine Sulfate — that is used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Treating ADHD with Adderall was approved by the FDA in 1996.

How is Adderall taken?

Tablets are taken orally once or twice a day. Adderall comes tablets of 5mg, 10mg, 20mg and 30mg.

Why would someone take Adderall instead of Ritalin?

Some patients feel that Adderall has less of a drop-off effect than Ritalin, which means fewer
side effects as the medication wears off. Also, a dose of Adderall is typically longer lasting than a dose of Ritalin.

Who should avoid this medication?

Adderall has been approved for use in patients age 3 years and older. People with even mild cases of hypertension should avoid Adderall use. Amphetamines can cause mania in people with bipolar disorder.
People with a history of drug abuse need to use extreme caution when taking this medication.

What are the side effects?

Common side effects include restlessness, dizziness,
insomnia, headache, dryness of the mouth, weight loss. These usually wear off with time.


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Less common side effects of this medication include euphoria, unpleasant taste, diarrhea, constipation, other gastrointestinal disturbances.

There have been 11 reported cases of psychotic reaction from among 7,000,000 prescriptions for Adderall written since 1996.
Allergic: Urticaria. Endocrine: Impotence. Changes in libido.

Is Adderall addictive?

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

Adderall is a “Schedule II Stimulant.” What does that mean?

“Schedule II” is the classification used by the Drug Enforcement Agency to indicate drugs with a high potential for abuse.

Other Schedule II Drugs include Dexedrine, Ritalin, and cocaine, all of which have a high potential for abuse.

Is Adderall the right medication for my child?

The first step is to get an accurate diagnosis by a
health care professional. Discuss your questions about medications with this person and come to a decision that works for you.

For more information about Adderall, see FDA’s Adderall Medication Guide.

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