What is Adderall?
Adderall is the trade name of a CNS (Central Nervous System) psychostimulant that combines both amphetamine and dextroamphetamin to increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. It is one of the widely prescribed drugs used for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Medication therapy is just one of the components of total treatment program for ADHD which usually include counseling and other therapies.
Adderall is a prescription medication which is available in two dosage forms: Instant Release (IR) tablets (5, 7.5, 10, 15, 20, 30 mg) and Extended Release (Adderall XR) capsules (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 mg). The instant release tablets may be prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy, while the extended release formulation is approved exclusively for ADHD.
This drug is marketed under the brand name Adderall and Adderall XR but is also available as generic drugs. In the U.S., Adderall drugs are manufactured and distributed by CorePharma LLC, Shire Plc, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Novartis.
The short acting form of Adderall is taken by patients twice a day in tablet form. The recommended starting dose for children 3 to 5 years of age 2.5 mg daily; children 6 years or older is 5 mg once or twice daily. Depending on the individual, an adult’s usual dose is 5 mg to 60 mg daily. Adderall XR is taken once a day in capsule form. The recommended starting dose for children 6 to 17 years of age is 10 mg once a day. Adults should start with a daily dose of 20 mg.
How Adderall Works
It is believed that Adderall works by increasing the levels of a certain chemical in the brain called dopamine. This neurotransmitter is responsible for attention, pleasure, motivation and movement. In patients with ADHD, taking stimulant drugs boosts focus and concentration, and helps control impulsive behavior. It is effective in reducing hyperactivity and in controlling behavioral problems.
Adderall is primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), chronic tiredness and narcolepsy in children and adults. The drug can help patients with ADHD to pay attention, stay focused and control behavior problems. It helps patients with narcolepsy to stay awake.
In rare cases, Adderall is recommended off-label to treat obesity or otherwise untreatable cases of depression. The drug treats obesity by increasing metabolism and suppressing appetite, both of which lead to weight loss. It treats depression by providing a boost in physical and mental energy, which is often lacking in people suffering from depression.
Adderall is classified as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act of the U.S. which means that there is higher potential for drug misuse, abuse and dependence. As matter of fact, this drug has been controversial because of its rampant misuse. Some people take it to hold off sleep or treat tiredness. Remember, Adderall should not be taken without prescription.
Important Things to Remember
- Read the prescription label before initiating treatment. If you do not understand the prescription or have questions, consult your healthcare provider.
- Take this medication by mouth upon awakening or as instructed by your healthcare provider. Avoid taking this medication before 6 PM as it can interfere with sleep. Take Adderall exactly as prescribed.
- Avoid taking over-the-counter drugs, such as cold remedies and cough syrups that contain alcohol.
- Your dosage depends on your medical condition and response to the treatment. Dose adjustments may be necessary. Be sure to follow scheduled physician visits.
- For this medication to be effective, it must be taken regularly and exactly as instructed.
- Do not abruptly discontinue taking this drug especially for patients on long-term Adderall therapy. Abruptly stopping this drug may cause withdrawal reactions that include depression, mood changes, sleep problems and severe tiredness. To avoid withdrawal reactions, your healthcare provider may gradually taper off the dose. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop any withdrawal symptom.
- Do not take more than the prescribed dose or longer than the prescribed duration. Although unlikely, this drug can cause an abnormal drug-seeking behavior (dependence/addiction). Properly discontinue Adderall as instructed by your healthcare provider.
- Your healthcare provider may recommend temporarily stopping the drug or “drug holidays” to observe any behavioral changes.
- Consult your healthcare provider if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.