Generic Name: Dextroamphetamine sulfate
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.
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.
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 and Safety
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.
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.
Tips for Good Medication and Treatment Reviews
- Post reviews only for medications or treatments you have used or prescribed.
- In your description, mention whether you're reviewing the medication or treatment for a child or for an adult (yourself or another adult), and as a patient or as a medical professional.
- Mention what medical condition you were using the medication or treatment to address.
- Mention the brand, dose, and period of time that you used the medication or treatment.
- Please share your positive and negative experiences with the medication or treatment in detail. Note effectiveness, ease of use, side effects; and compare it with other treatments you have used.
- Do not include any personal information or links in your review.