ADD Medication and Treatment Reviews

Dexedrine

Generic Name: Dextroamphetamine sulfate

What is Dexedrine?

Dexedrine is a long- or short-acting capsule, taken orally, that is primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children ages 3-12, adolescents, and adults. According to the FDA, Dexedrine is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. It is an amphetamine.

Dexedrine may improve focus and decrease impulsivity and hyperactive behavior, two hallmark symptoms for some patients with ADHD.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends treatment with behavioral therapy before medication for children under the age of 6. For children ages 6 to 11, the AAP says “The primary care clinician should prescribe US Food and Drug Administration–approved medications for ADHD and/or evidence-based parent- and/or teacher-administered behavior therapy as treatment for ADHD, preferably both.” Likewise, the National Institute of Mental Health finds the most successful treatment plans use a combination of ADHD medication, like Dexedrine, and behavior therapies.

Dexedrine is also used to treat narcolepsy.

How to Use Dexedrine

Before starting or refilling a Dexedrine prescription, read the medication guide included with your pills, as it may be updated with new information.

This guide should not replace a conversation with your doctor, who has a holistic view of your or your child’s medical history, other diagnoses, and other prescriptions. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking the medication.

Dosage for Dexedrine

As with all medications, follow your Dexedrine prescription instructions exactly. Short-acting Dexedrine tablets are taken two to three times daily. The tablets are available in 5mg doses. The first dose is typically taken first thing in the morning; tablets should be taken at the same time each day for the best results. The long-acting Dexedrine capsule is taken once daily, in the morning. 5 mg, 10 mg, and 15 mg doses are available. The time-release formulation is designed to maintain a steady level of medication in your body throughout the day.

The optimal dosage varies widely by patient; it is not determined by age, weight, or height, but rather by how a person metabolizes the medication.

During treatment, your doctor may periodically ask you to stop taking your Dexedrine so that he or she can monitor ADHD symptoms; check vital statistics including blood, heart, and blood pressure; or evaluate height and weight. If any problems are found, your doctor may recommend discontinuing treatment.

Some patients report developing a tolerance to Dexedrine after long-term usage. If you notice that your dosage is no longer controlling your symptoms, talk to your doctor to plan a course of action.

Side Effects Associated with Dexedrine

The most common side effects of Dexedrine are as follows: irregular heartbeat, decreased appetite, tremors, headache, sleep disruptions, dizziness, stomach upset, weight loss, and dry mouth.

Other serious side effects include: slowed growth in children, seizures, and changes in eyesight. Dexedrine may impair your or your teenager’s ability to drive, operate machinery, or perform other potentially dangerous tasks. This side effect usually wears off with time. If side effects are bothersome, or do not go away, talk to your doctor. Most people taking this medication do not experience any of these side effects.

Report to your doctor any heart-related problems or a family history of heart and blood pressure problems. Patients with structural cardiac abnormalities and other serious heart problems have experienced sudden death, stroke, heart attack, and increased blood pressure while taking Dexedrine. Amphetamines can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Physicians should monitor these vital signs closely during treatment. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences warning signs such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Dexedrine.

Also disclose to your physician all mental health issues including any family history of suicide, bipolar illness, tics, or depression. The FDA recommends evaluating patients for bipolar disorder, tics, and Tourette’s syndrome prior to stimulant administration. Dexedrine may create new or exacerbate existing behavior problems, bipolar illness, or Tourette’s syndrome. It can cause psychotic or manic symptoms in children and teenagers. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences new or worsening mental health symptoms including hallucinations or sudden suspicions.

Discuss circulation problems with your doctor before taking Dexedrine, which has been known to cause numbness, coolness, or pain in fingers or toes, including Raynaud’s phenomenon. Report to your doctor any new blood-flow problems, pain, skin color changes, or sensitivities to temperature while taking Dexedrine.

Amphetamines like Dexedrine have a high potential for abuse and addiction, especially among people who do not have ADHD. It is a “Schedule II Stimulant,” a designation that the Drug Enforcement Agency uses for drugs with a high potential for abuse. Other Schedule II drugs include Adderall, Ritalin, and cocaine. People with a history of drug abuse should use caution when trying this medication. Taking the medication exactly as prescribed can reduce potential for abuse.

The above is not a complete list of potential side effects. If you notice any health changes not listed above, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions Associated with Dexedrine

Store Dexedrine in a secure place out of the reach of children, and at room temperature. Do not share your Dexedrine prescription with anyone, even another person with ADHD. Sharing prescription medication is illegal, and can cause harm.

You should not take Dexedrine if you:

  • Have an existing heart condition or hardening of the arteries
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have glaucoma
  • Are very anxious, tense, or agitated
  • Have a history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) within 14 days
  • Have an allergy to amphetamines, other stimulant medications, or other ingredients in Dexedrine

You should use caution taking Dexedrine if you have mental problems, tics or Tourette’s syndrome, thyroid problems, seizures, or circulation problems.

If you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, discuss the use of Dexedrine with your doctor. Animal studies indicate a potential risk of fetal harm. Dexedrine is passed through breastmilk, so it is recommended that mothers do not nurse while taking it.

Interactions Associated with Dexedrine

Before taking Dexedrine, discuss all other active prescription medications with your doctor. Dexedrine can have a dangerous, possibly fatal, interaction with antidepressants including MAOIs.

Exercise caution with medicines that are known to interact with amphetamines including lithium, seizure medications, blood pressure medications, stomach acid medications — like antacids — and cold or allergy medicines that contain decongestants. Even over-the-counter medications may contain ingredients that raise or lower the level of the medication in your blood to a dangerous level. Speak with your doctor about all other prescription and over-the-counter medications you take.

Share a list of all vitamin or herbal supplements, and prescription and non-prescription medications you take with the pharmacist when you fill your prescription, and let all doctors and physicians know you are taking Dexedrine before having any surgery or laboratory tests. The above is not a complete list of all possible drug interactions.

Sources:

http://www.dexedrine.com/
http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/017078s042lbl.pdf
http://www.amedrapharma.com/amedra-pharmaceuticals/

22 Dexedrine Related Links

  1. I had a good effect on Dexedrine for focus and drive. I was inattentive as a college-student and it helped give me the force to pound away at my work but it didn’t focus me as much as Ritalin did. I used the Extended-release Dexadrine. In my thirties, it had side-effects for this new groom. I was newly married and couldn’t sustain sexual stimulation.

    1. A year plus later after writing this last post (see above), I now see I had other issues causing sexual dysfunction, on top of Dexedrine. I take it now and I don’t have a problem.

    2. Generally stimulants and sex life don’t go together well. Ritalin was really bad at first, got a little better but was still bad. Adderall was horrible (for me, in that way) and I got off it immediately. I have had no negative side effects pertaining to sex life with Dexedrine ER.

  2. I’ve only recently changed meds to Dexedrine (I was previously on Concerta XL 108mg). I started on a daily dose of 30mg of Dexedrine and titrated up by 10mg over the next three days to my current (top) dosage of 60mg – 30mg twice a day. To be honest, I notice very little change.

  3. I started on Adderall at 10mg in the morning and went up to 20mg when I get up in the morning. I found by about 1:00 in the afternoon, I was fading and could not focus and concentrate. My doctor gave me Dexedrine 5mg to take about 1-2 pm. I found that it helped keep me on an even keel about 60-70%. If I am stressed out it does not feel as effective.

  4. I have tried all the options and this is the drug that works best for me. I don’t know how readily available it is in it’s short acting form in the states but it works well for me and the side effects lesson over time.

  5. I was on Dexedrine for 7 years and felt like a normal person in this time and have gone off the medication as it was getting too difficult to find a psychiatrist who would prescribe the medication without going through numerous doctors and psychiatrists with second opinions and tests. I had it prescribed for the 7 years with no issues but due to the psychiatrist closing their business, I had to go elsewhere. I thought I would see if I could cope and feel like a normal everyday person without it. I slowly weaned myself off. I now feel like I am back to how I was before I started on the medication, which is being extremely tired and exhausted. I just cannot get past this fatigue.

  6. I have been diagnosed with ADHD at 35 years old. I have been on Dexedrine now for two years. It helps me with focusing at work because I have a very demanding job and I have difficulty with focusing on a multiple things at once. However, I’ve noticed it decreased my social abilities. I have had an increase in not trusting people or not wanting to bring to many people in my life because I can’t manage it. Which is unlike me; I’m usually very social and the one that everyone confides in.

  7. Been on 10mg Dex three times daily which has been a life changer at 24 years of age. Had trialed 60mg Sr Ritalin and 54mg Concerta before the dex, they did not give me the control and feeling of being normal that dex does. 10/10 medication.

  8. Med is great. I’m ready to try over 40 mg. What’s the highest dose someone’s tried? I’ve thought of at least going to 50 or 60 mg, but perhaps up to 70 mg if I really need it. Who has tried higher doses? Anyone tried 80 mg or above dextroamphetamine tablets legally under their doctor’s approval? What’s the max you’ve ever tried and found benefit from above 40 mg??? Tablets or capsules???

  9. I have been on dexedrine for five months now. It is worth noting that as well as ADHD, I suffer from dysthymia (chronic depression) with minor anxiety and have been on lexapro for a few years now, which I’m still taking along with the dexedrine.
    After being diagnoised with ADHD, my psychiatrist prescribed me for a trial period and told me to take a dose first thing in the morning, then again in the early afternoon. He asked me to start with 5mg per dose and see how it felt, and said I could raise the amount to as high as 20mg per dose if needed.
    On 5mg, I didn’t notice any real change. I tried 10mg the next day and the most absurd thing happened: I walked past my dirty laundry basket and thought, as I always did, “I need to do laundry”, but what was amazing was that I then picked up the basket and headed straight to the laundry.
    After hundreds of days, staring at a basket for a few seconds and deciding it was too hard or too much or something that could wait—I did it without blinking. I ran past my housemates with glee, carrying my basket and squeaking, “I’m doing laundry!” They knew how hard I’d fought to get diagnosed, and that I was finally trying medication. It was a god damned laundry celebration. Dexedrine had made me a regular functioning person, finally.
    I felt a little jittery on 10mg the next day, but that passed the day after. I tried 15mg the next week to see if there was any difference, but that made me jittery again so I decided to stick with the effective 10mg. When I met up with my psych two weeks later to review, he prescribed me for the foreseeable future.
    The first month I felt like a new woman. I could go to the shops without taking hours to work up to it, I could do simple tasks that I’d always known were simple but my brain just wouldn’t let me do, I stopped sleeping through every single alarm like a log and could finally get up in the morning. I was running on air. But, I was also running on my present hyperfixation with ADHD. I was running off my diagnosis high, I’d found the answer to twenty-four years of questions I never knew I had.
    Eventually, as always happens with me, the hyperfixation wore off. My medication was still helping, but I’d lost the placebo cure of those magical three words, “You have ADHD.” Three steps forward, two steps back.
    Unfortunately it came at the worst time. The following four months were trying. I was sporadically bogged down with freelancing jobs, moving house and cleaning for days on end in complete isolation, my therapist had to leave work permanently for health reasons, and when I finally moved I found myself in a bad depressive episode. Thanks, dysthymia!
    Where the first month felt like a magical cure, the next four taught me that tools and techniques are just as important in managing myself. This is the part that I’m still working on. Halfway through these five months I started to wonder if I had just fooled myself and my psych into thinking I had ADHD. Who was I kidding? I didn’t have ADHD, I just wanted an easy answer. I ran out of my prescription and kept forgetting to pick it up. I spent a whole week doing almost nothing and feeling useless. When I finally forced myself one morning to pick up and take my prescription, it happened again: I did a whole list of simple things I’d been unable to do.
    I’m very good about getting my prescription before it runs out now. Well, most of the time. Step by step, day by day. Three steps forward, two steps back. But now that my life has settled, I’m finally starting to feel like it’s only one step back.
    This most recent month I’ve felt that I may be either developing a tolerance to my dose, or possibly that the New Diagnosis Excitement I’d had in those first few weeks may have clouded my ability to measure what the right dose felt like. Currently, 15mg per dose feels right. For the past few weeks I’ve been taking 15mg in the morning and 5mg in the afternoon, or vice versa depending on where my focus needs to go, because I don’t want to exceed the daily 20mg I’ve been prescribed. It’s working well, but I do feel that if I’m at 90-100% in the first half of the day, I’m definitely at more of a 60-70% for the second half. I’ll be meeting up with my psychiatrist soon to discuss his thoughts and my options.
    Hopefully, I was just extra driven earlier on in this five months by my diagnosis hyperfixation, and not building up a tolerance, so I can continue without concern on 15mg twice daily.
    As far as side effects go, my experience has been very minimal. I initially felt occasionally jittery, like I’d had too much caffeine, but this subsided after a week. The few times I’ve taken my second dose too late in the day I’ve found myself awake at night, but this is something I’ve always experienced due to ADHD and a poor sleep schedule, so I’m just careful not to take a dose too late in the day now. I haven’t experienced any dizziness or nausea, and I’ve always had a dry mouth. The most prominent side effect I’ve experienced is the suppressed appetite, this side effect has not faded for me and I can go many hours longer than usual without feeling hungry. However, I’m a big food lover so I don’t have any trouble eating when I need to, so this is another situation where schedules and habits are as useful as medication.
    The one big component I’ve been monitoring is the response my depression and anxiety has to dexedrine. However, the symptoms I present with these are usually exacerbated by my situation, and with all the changes in my life it’s hard to say with any certainty if the dexadrine has had any impact on the lexapro. Regardless, I started taking my lexapro before bed just so I’m not taking them at the same time and this has felt good. The past two months in particular I’ve experienced much more free floating anxiety than I usually do, but I’m almost completely certain that this is due to triggers in my new living circumstances that I’m working to fix. I’ll keep monitoring everything in case there’s a connection between the dexedrine and the increase in my anxiety, but I feel confident that they’re unrelated.
    It’s onward and into the world now. I’m going to try and focus on tools and techniques and structures to manage my remaining symptoms and tackle studying again, step by step, until I no longer feel like I’m moving backwards.
    My apologies for this review that probably takes up fifty pages, but I feel like it’s important to review this experience accurately to help as much as I can. (Unlike the utter troll in the review above me.) Good luck, brains!

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