Do you have any friends who swear by Adderall? Someone who uses it to focus, finish a task, or combat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
As a drug becomes more widely used, it’s always a good idea to learn more about its advantages and disadvantages, especially for children who may require ADHD treatment.
We sought clarification from Dr. Ashley Chatigny, a double board-certified psychiatrist and medical director of behavioral health at Lee Physician Group.
What is Adderall?
Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, two central nervous system stimulants that increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain to improve focus and reduce impulsivity. Adderall was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996.
Adderall for adults
Because Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant, it helps people with ADHD improve their focus and concentration. The medication has the same effect on people who don’t have ADHD, and it’s important to remember that Adderall has side effects like nervousness, restlessness, headaches, sleeping problems, and more. Adderall withdrawal is also a serious issue, and both adults and children should take Adderall under the supervision of a doctor.
How is Adderall prescribed for ADHD in children?
ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder among children aged 2 to 17 years in the United States. “ADHD begins in childhood, when the brain is developing,” explains Dr. Chatigny. “Symptoms typically appear around the age of seven, during the early years of childhood.”
Numerous studies show that the parents and siblings of a child with ADHD are more likely to have the disorder themselves. “There’s also a lot of misinformation about what causes ADHD, such as vaccinations.” That is not correct, according to Dr. Chatigny. “It can have other causes, such as diet, environmental exposures, and complications within the uterus during pregnancy.”
According to Dr. Chatigny, any evaluation for childhood ADHD should include tests to rule out other mental and medical disorders. Adderall should be viewed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes psychological, educational, dietary, and social components.
How many children with ADHD reach adulthood with ADHD?
ADHD symptoms in children change over time, particularly as they enter puberty.
“Many children will outgrow the symptoms as their brains change and they reach puberty,” explains Dr. Chatigny.
“They learn coping skills, their cognitive abilities improve, and their ADHD ‘washes out.'”
However, approximately 60% of children with ADHD will continue to exhibit some ADHD symptoms into adolescence and adulthood. That equates to about 4% of adults, though few are diagnosed or treated for it. The majority of adults with ADHD exhibit symptoms of inattention or distraction.
“Adult ADHD symptoms are often more mild than those of children with ADHD,” says Dr. Chatigny. “For example, children with ADHD may struggle to sit still, complete tasks, act out, or engage in impulsive or aggressive behavior, whereas adults are more likely to struggle to focus and stay organized.”
How can I tell if Adderall is working?
It’s unlikely that Adderall will cure every symptom of ADHD, but you’ll know it’s working when some symptoms improve, such as the ability to focus on and complete a task. If a person with ADHD claims to be doing better at work or school, Adderall may be working.
“Adderall helps reduce symptoms of ADHD in about 80 percent of my pediatric patients,” Dr. Chatigny says. “Children with ADHD have what is known as a paradoxical reaction to medication.” It relaxes them and, in most cases, improves their ability to concentrate.”
Because Adderall produces an excess of dopamine, users who do not have ADHD may experience feelings of euphoria and increased energy levels, as well as potentially dangerous physical and emotional side effects.
What are Adderall’s common side effects in people with ADHD?
According to Dr. Chatigny, the greatest risks and side effects occur when the medication is not used as intended or when the user exceeds the prescribed dose.
Stimulants can cause an increase in heart rate and anxiety, so anyone who has high blood pressure, seizures, heart disease, glaucoma, liver or kidney disease, or an anxiety disorder should consult their doctor before taking any stimulant.
Is there a non-stimulant medication a person with ADHD can take instead of Adderall?
Brand drugs such as Strattera and Wellbutrin, according to Dr. Chatigny, are acceptable options for treating ADHD.
“Non-stimulant medications such as these and others have no abuse potential.”
“The disadvantage is that they typically take longer to work,” she says. “Amphetamines such as Adderall start working within 30 minutes to an hour. Nonstimulants, such as Strattera, can take 4 to 8 weeks to achieve maximum effectiveness at the recommended dose.”
Dr. Chatigny prefers a non-stimulant treatment regime for ADHD patients, particularly adults, because central nervous stimulants like Adderall are controlled substances, which means they are regulated by the federal government due to their high potential for abuse, addiction, and physical dependence.
As always, discuss Adderall, ADHD, and other medications with your doctor.
How Long Does Adderall Last? Adderall Dosages Explained
Adderall XR is taken once daily, with or without food. The first dose is usually taken first thing in the morning; for best results, it should be taken at the same time every day.
Take Adderall capsules whole with water or other liquids. If your child is too young to swallow the capsule, open it and sprinkle it over a spoonful of applesauce.
When taken in this manner, the mixture should be swallowed whole, without chewing, and followed by a drink of water or other liquid. Crushing or chewing capsules is not recommended. As with any medication, strictly adhere to your Adderall XR prescription instructions.
Buy Adderall online which comes in the following strengths: 5mg, 10mg, 15mg, 20mg, 25mg, and 30mg. The time-release formulation is intended to keep the medication in your body at a constant level throughout the day.
The optimal Adderall dosage varies from patient to patient and is determined by how a person metabolizes the medication rather than age, weight, or height.
Dosage is affected by the following factors:
- How much medication enters the bloodstream and crosses the blood-brain barrier?
- How much medication is absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream?
- How acidic the GI tract is: high acidity from fruit juices can prevent amphetamine absorption, whereas low acidity from taking an antacid can hasten absorption.
- The rate at which amphetamine is excreted in the urine.
Your doctor may adjust your daily dosage in 5mg increments until you or your child achieve the best response—that is, the lowest dosage at which you or your child experience the greatest improvement in symptoms without experiencing side effects.
If you or your child takes more than the recommended dose, contact your doctor, poison control, or seek emergency medical attention.
After long-term use, some patients report developing a tolerance to Adderall. If you notice that your current dosage is no longer controlling your symptoms, consult your doctor to devise a plan of action.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is treated with this combination medication. It works by altering the concentrations of certain natural substances in the brain.Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine are stimulants, which are a type of drug. It can help you improve your ability to pay attention, stay focused on an activity, and manage behavioral issues.
It may also aid in task organization and listening skills improvement. This medication is also used to treat a sleeping disorder (narcolepsy) and to keep you awake during the day. It should not be used to treat tiredness or to keep people from sleeping if they do not have a sleep disorder.
How to use Adderall
Before you begin taking amphetamine or dextroamphetamine, and each time you get a refill, read the medication guide provided by your pharmacist. If you have any concerns, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth, with or without food, as prescribed by your doctor, typically 1 to 3 times per day.
The first dose is usually taken first thing in the morning. If your doctor prescribes additional doses, take them as directed, usually 4-6 hours apart. Taking this medication late in the day may result in difficulty sleeping (insomnia).
The dosage is determined by your medical condition as well as your response to treatment.
Your doctor may adjust your dosage to find the best dose for you. Follow your doctor’s advice exactly.
To get the most out of this medication, take it on a regular basis. Take it at the same time every day to help you remember.
During treatment, your doctor may recommend stopping the medication for a short period of time to see if there are any changes in your behavior and if the medication is still required.
If you stop taking this medication abruptly, you may experience withdrawal symptoms (such as extreme tiredness, sleep problems, and mental or mood changes such as depression).
To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may gradually reduce your dose. Withdrawal is more likely if you have taken this medication for an extended period of time or in high doses. If you experience withdrawal symptoms, contact your doctor or pharmacist right away.
Despite the fact that it benefits many people, this medication can sometimes lead to addiction. If you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol), your risk may be increased. Do not increase your dose, take it more frequently, or use it for longer than recommended.
When instructed, discontinue the medication.
This medication may not work as well if used for an extended period of time. If this medication stops working properly, consult your doctor. If your condition does not improve or worsens, notify your doctor.
What are the Side Effects of Adderall?
What does Adderall do to you? Most people taking Adderall XR do not experience any side effects. That said, the most common side effects of Adderall XR are as follows:
Children (ages 6 to 12):
- loss of appetite
- abdominal pain
- emotional lability
Adolescents (ages 13 to 17):
- loss of appetite
- abdominal pain
- weight loss
- dry mouth
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- urinary tract infections
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because the benefit to you outweighs the risk of side effects. Many people who take this medication have no serious side effects.
This medication may cause an increase in your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure on a regular basis and notify your doctor if it is high.
Notify your doctor right away if you experience any serious side effects, such as signs of blood flow problems in your fingers or toes (such as coldness, numbness, pain, or skin color changes), unusual wounds on your fingers or toes, mental/mood/behavior changes (such as agitation, aggression, mood swings, depression, abnormal thoughts, thoughts of suicide), uncontrolled movements, continuous chewing movements/teeth grinding, outbursts of
If you experience any of the following very serious side effects, seek medical attention immediately: shortness of breath, chest/jaw/left arm pain, fainting, severe headache, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, seizures, swelling of the ankles and feet, extreme tiredness, blurred vision, weakness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking, and confusion.
This medication may cause an increase in serotonin and, in rare cases, a very serious condition known as serotonin syndrome or toxicity. If you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin, tell your doctor or pharmacist about all of the medications you are taking (see the Drug Interactions section).
If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately: rapid heartbeat, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, twitching muscles, unexplained fever, unusual agitation, or restlessness. It is uncommon for this drug to cause a severe allergic reaction.
However, if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, such as a rash, itching or swelling (especially of the face, tongue, or throat), severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
This is not an exhaustive list of potential side effects. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any other side effects not listed above.
In the United States, contact your doctor for medical advice on side effects. Side effects can be reported to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Call your doctor in Canada for medical advice about side effects. You can contact Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345 to report side effects.
Adderall and Weight Loss
Adderall should not be taken off-label to help you lose weight. Weight loss is not an approved use for this medication.
Adderall and Eyesight
Another serious side effect of Adderall XR is changes in vision. The medication may impair your or your teen’s ability to drive, operate machinery, or perform other potentially hazardous tasks. This side effect usually fades over time. Consult your doctor if side effects are bothersome or do not go away.
Adderall and Heart or Blood Pressure Related Problems
Any heart problems or a family history of heart and blood pressure problems should be reported to your doctor. Patients with structural cardiac abnormalities and other serious heart problems who took Adderall XR experienced sudden death, stroke, heart attack, and increased blood pressure.
Stimulants have the potential to raise blood pressure and heart rate. During treatment, doctors should keep a close eye on these vital signs. If you or your child experience warning signs such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Adderall XR, contact your doctor right away.
Adderall and Mental Illness
Inform your doctor about all mental health issues, including any family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, tics, or depression. Shire, the Adderall XR drug manufacturer, recommends that patients be evaluated for bipolar disorder, tics, and Tourette’s syndrome prior to stimulant administration.
Adderall XR may cause new or worsen existing behavioral issues, such as bipolar disorder or Tourette’s syndrome. In children and teenagers, it can cause psychotic or manic symptoms. If you or your child is experiencing new or worsening mental health symptoms, such as hallucinations or sudden suspicions, contact your doctor right away.
Adderall and Circulation Problems
Consult your doctor before taking Adderall XR, which has been linked to numbness, coolness, or pain in the fingers or toes, including Raynaud’s phenomenon. While taking Adderall XR, report any new blood-flow problems, pain, skin color changes, or temperature sensitivities to your doctor.
Adderall and Substance Abuse
Amphetamines, such as Adderall XR for sale, have a high risk of abuse and dependence, particularly among people who do not have ADHD. It is a “Schedule II stimulant,” a term used by the Drug Enforcement Administration to describe drugs with a high potential for abuse. Dexedrine, Ritalin, and cocaine are examples of Schedule II drugs.
People who have a history of substance abuse should exercise caution when using this medication. Abuse can be reduced by taking the medication exactly as prescribed.
The above is not an exhaustive list of possible side effects. If you notice any health changes that are not listed above, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Who Can Take Adderall XR? Medication Precautions
You should not take Adderall XR if you have any of the following conditions:
- Advanced arteriosclerosis
- Symptomatic cardiovascular disease
- Moderate to severe hypertension
- Known hypersensitivity or idiosyncrasy to the sympathomimetic amines
- Agitated states
- History of drug abuse
- During or within the administration of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about using Adderall XR. Animal studies suggest a risk of fetal harm; infants may be born prematurely, with low birth weight, with learning or motor deficits, or with withdrawal symptoms.
Because Adderall XR is passed through breastmilk, mothers should avoid nursing while taking it.
Adderall XR’s effects on the elderly have not been studied.
Keep Adderall XR in a safe place, away from children, and at room temperature. Share your Adderall XR prescription with no one, not even another person who has ADHD. It is illegal and potentially dangerous to share prescription medication.