Medically reviewed on September 10, 2018
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- Dextroamphetamine Sulfate
Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling. [DSC] = Discontinued product
Capsule Extended Release 24 Hour, Oral, as sulfate:
Dexedrine: 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg [contains brilliant blue fcf (fd&c blue #1), fd&c blue #1 aluminum lake, fd&c red #40, fd&c yellow #10 (quinoline yellow), fd&c yellow #6 (sunset yellow)]
Generic: 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg
Solution, Oral, as sulfate:
ProCentra: 5 mg/5 mL (473 mL) [contains benzoic acid, saccharin sodium; bubble-gum flavor]
Generic: 5 mg/5 mL (473 mL)
Tablet, Oral, as sulfate:
Dexedrine: 5 mg [DSC], 10 mg [DSC] [scored]
Zenzedi: 2.5 mg
Zenzedi: 5 mg [scored; contains fd&c yellow #6 (sunset yellow)]
Zenzedi: 7.5 mg [contains brilliant blue fcf (fd&c blue #1), fd&c yellow #10 (quinoline yellow)]
Zenzedi: 10 mg [scored; contains fd&c blue #2 (indigotine), fd&c red #40, fd&c yellow #6 (sunset yellow)]
Zenzedi: 15 mg [contains brilliant blue fcf (fd&c blue #1), fd&c blue #2 (indigotine), fd&c red #40]
Zenzedi: 20 mg [contains brilliant blue fcf (fd&c blue #1)]
Zenzedi: 30 mg [contains fd&c yellow #10 (quinoline yellow)]
Generic: 5 mg, 10 mg
Brand Names: U.S.
- Central Nervous System Stimulant
Amphetamines are noncatecholamine, sympathomimetic amines that promote release of catecholamines (primarily dopamine and norepinephrine) from their storage sites in the presynaptic nerve terminals. A less significant mechanism may include their ability to block the reuptake of catecholamines by competitive inhibition.
Hepatic via CYP monooxygenase and glucuronidation
Urine; urinary excretion is pH dependent and is increased with acid urine (low pH)
Time to Peak
Serum: Immediate release: ~3 hours; Sustained release: ~8 hours
Duration of Action
Immediate release: 4 to 6 hours; extended release: 8 hours (Dopheide 2009)
Adults: 10 to 12 hours
Use: Labeled Indications
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as part of a total treatment program that typically includes other remedial measures (psychological, educational, social) for a stabilizing effect in children 3 to 16 years of age.
Narcolepsy: Treatment of narcolepsy.
Hypersensitivity (eg, angioedema, anaphylaxis) or idiosyncrasy to amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, other sympathomimetic amines, or any component of the formulation; advanced arteriosclerosis, symptomatic cardiovascular disease, moderate-to-severe hypertension; hyperthyroidism; glaucoma; agitated states; patients with a history of drug abuse; during or within 14 days of stopping monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) therapy (including MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue).
Documentation of allergenic cross-reactivity for amphetamines is limited. However, because of similarities in chemical structure and/or pharmacologic actions, the possibility of cross-sensitivity cannot be ruled out with certainty.
Narcolepsy: Oral: Initial: 10 mg once daily; may increase in increments of 10 mg at weekly intervals until optimal response is obtained; usual dosage: 5 to 60 mg daily in divided doses.
Refer to adult dosing; start at lowest dose. Use with caution.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD):
Children 3 to 5 years: Oral: Immediate release tablets and oral solution: Initial: 2.5 once daily; may increase in increments of 2.5 mg at weekly intervals until optimal response is obtained; maximum dose: 40 mg daily (Dopheide 2009). Note: Although FDA approved, current guidelines do not recommend use in children ≤5 years due to insufficient evidence (AAP 2011).
Children ≥6 years and Adolescents: Oral:
Immediate release tablets and oral solution: Initial: 5 mg once or twice daily; may increase in increments of 5 mg at weekly intervals until optimal response is reached; maximum dose: 40 mg daily (Dopheide 2009).
Extended release capsules: Initial: 5 mg once or twice daily; may increase in increments of 5 mg at weekly intervals until optimal response is reached. Maximum dose: 40 mg daily (Dopheide 2009); a maximum daily dose of 60 mg in divided doses has been used in children >50 kg (Dopheide 2009; Pliszka 2007).
Children 6 to 12 years: Oral: Initial: 5 mg once daily; may increase in increments of 5 mg at weekly intervals until optimal response is obtained; usual dosage: 5 to 60 mg daily in divided doses.
Children >12 years and Adolescents: Refer to adult dosing.
Dosing: Renal Impairment
There are no dosage adjustments provided in the manufacturer’s labeling.
Dosing: Hepatic Impairment
There are no dosage adjustments provided in the manufacturer’s labeling.
Administer initial dose upon awakening; do not administer doses late in the evening due to potential for insomnia.
Immediate release tablets and oral solution: If needed, 1 to 2 additional doses may be administered at intervals of 4 to 6 hours.
Extended release and sustained release capsules: Do not crush sustained release drug products. Formulations may be used for once-daily administration, if appropriate.
Store at 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F). Protect from light.
Acebrophylline: May enhance the stimulatory effect of CNS Stimulants. Avoid combination
Alkalinizing Agents: May decrease the excretion of Amphetamines. Consider therapy modification
Ammonium Chloride: May decrease the serum concentration of Amphetamines. This effect is likely due to an enhanced excretion of amphetamines in the urine. Monitor therapy
Antacids: May decrease the excretion of Amphetamines. Monitor therapy
Antihistamines: Amphetamines may diminish the sedative effect of Antihistamines. Monitor therapy
Antihypertensive Agents: Amphetamines may diminish the antihypertensive effect of Antihypertensive Agents. Monitor therapy
Antipsychotic Agents: May diminish the stimulatory effect of Amphetamines. Monitor therapy
Ascorbic Acid: May decrease the serum concentration of Amphetamines. Monitor therapy
AtoMOXetine: May enhance the hypertensive effect of Sympathomimetics. AtoMOXetine may enhance the tachycardic effect of Sympathomimetics. Monitor therapy
BuPROPion: May enhance the neuroexcitatory and/or seizure-potentiating effect of Agents With Seizure Threshold Lowering Potential. Monitor therapy
Cannabinoid-Containing Products: May enhance the tachycardic effect of Sympathomimetics. Exceptions: Cannabidiol. Monitor therapy
Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors: May decrease the excretion of Amphetamines. Exceptions: Brinzolamide; Dorzolamide. Monitor therapy
Cocaine (Topical): May enhance the hypertensive effect of Sympathomimetics. Management: Consider alternatives to use of this combination when possible. Monitor closely for substantially increased blood pressure or heart rate and for any evidence of myocardial ischemia with concurrent use. Consider therapy modification
CYP2D6 Inhibitors (Moderate): May increase the serum concentration of Amphetamines. Monitor therapy
CYP2D6 Inhibitors (Strong): May increase the serum concentration of Amphetamines. Monitor therapy
Doxofylline: Sympathomimetics may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Doxofylline. Monitor therapy
Ethosuximide: Amphetamines may diminish the therapeutic effect of Ethosuximide. Amphetamines may decrease the serum concentration of Ethosuximide. Monitor therapy
Gastrointestinal Acidifying Agents: May decrease the serum concentration of Amphetamines. Monitor therapy
Guanethidine: May enhance the arrhythmogenic effect of Sympathomimetics. Guanethidine may enhance the hypertensive effect of Sympathomimetics. Monitor therapy
Iobenguane Radiopharmaceutical Products: Amphetamines may diminish the therapeutic effect of Iobenguane Radiopharmaceutical Products. Management: Discontinue all drugs that may inhibit or interfere with catecholamine transport or uptake for at least 5 biological half-lives before iobenguane administration. Do not administer these drugs until at least 7 days after each iobenguane dose. Avoid combination
Iobenguane Radiopharmaceutical Products: CNS Stimulants may diminish the therapeutic effect of Iobenguane Radiopharmaceutical Products. Management: Discontinue all drugs that may inhibit or interfere with catecholamine transport or uptake for at least 5 biological half-lives before iobenguane administration. Do not administer these drugs until at least 7 days after each iobenguane dose. Avoid combination
Ioflupane I 123: Amphetamines may diminish the diagnostic effect of Ioflupane I 123. Monitor therapy
Iohexol: Agents With Seizure Threshold Lowering Potential may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Iohexol. Specifically, the risk for seizures may be increased. Management: Discontinue agents that may lower the seizure threshold 48 hours prior to intrathecal use of iohexol. Wait at least 24 hours after the procedure to resume such agents. In nonelective procedures, consider use of prophylactic anticonvulsants. Consider therapy modification
Iomeprol: Agents With Seizure Threshold Lowering Potential may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Iomeprol. Specifically, the risk for seizures may be increased. Management: Discontinue agents that may lower the seizure threshold 48 hours prior to intrathecal use of iomeprol. Wait at least 24 hours after the procedure to resume such agents. In nonelective procedures, consider use of prophylactic anticonvulsants. Consider therapy modification
Iopamidol: Agents With Seizure Threshold Lowering Potential may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Iopamidol. Specifically, the risk for seizures may be increased. Management: Discontinue agents that may lower the seizure threshold 48 hours prior to intrathecal use of iopamidol. Wait at least 24 hours after the procedure to resume such agents. In nonelective procedures, consider use of prophylactic anticonvulsants. Consider therapy modification
Linezolid: May enhance the hypertensive effect of Sympathomimetics. Management: Reduce initial doses of sympathomimetic agents, and closely monitor for enhanced pressor response, in patients receiving linezolid. Specific dose adjustment recommendations are not presently available. Consider therapy modification
Lithium: May diminish the stimulatory effect of Amphetamines. Monitor therapy
Methenamine: May decrease the serum concentration of Amphetamines. This effect is likely due to an enhanced excretion of amphetamines in the urine. Monitor therapy
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors: May enhance the hypertensive effect of Amphetamines. While linezolid and tedizolid may interact via this mechanism, management recommendations differ from other monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Refer to monographs specific to those agents for details. Exceptions: Linezolid; Tedizolid. Avoid combination
Multivitamins/Fluoride (with ADE): May decrease the serum concentration of Amphetamines. More specifically, the ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in many multivitamins may decrease amphetamine concentrations. Monitor therapy
Multivitamins/Minerals (with ADEK, Folate, Iron): May decrease the serum concentration of Amphetamines. Monitor therapy
Multivitamins/Minerals (with AE, No Iron): May decrease the serum concentration of Amphetamines. Specifically, vitamin C may impair absorption of amphetamines. Monitor therapy
Opioid Analgesics: Amphetamines may enhance the analgesic effect of Opioid Analgesics. Monitor therapy
PHENobarbital: Amphetamines may decrease the serum concentration of PHENobarbital. Monitor therapy
Phenytoin: Amphetamines may decrease the serum concentration of Phenytoin. Monitor therapy
Proton Pump Inhibitors: May increase the absorption of Dextroamphetamine. Specifically, the dextroamphetamine absorption rate from mixed amphetamine salt extended release (XR) capsules may be increased in the first hours after dosing. Monitor therapy
Sympathomimetics: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of other Sympathomimetics. Monitor therapy
Tedizolid: May enhance the hypertensive effect of Sympathomimetics. Tedizolid may enhance the tachycardic effect of Sympathomimetics. Monitor therapy
Tricyclic Antidepressants: May enhance the stimulatory effect of Amphetamines. Tricyclic Antidepressants may also potentiate the cardiovascular effects of Amphetamines. Monitor therapy
Urinary Acidifying Agents: May decrease the serum concentration of Amphetamines. Monitor therapy
Amphetamines may elevate plasma corticosteroid levels; may interfere with urinary steroid determinations.
Frequency not defined.
Cardiovascular: Cardiomyopathy, hypertension, palpitations, tachycardia
Central nervous system: Aggressive behavior, dizziness, dysphoria, euphoria, exacerbation of tics, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, headache, insomnia, mania, overstimulation, psychosis, restlessness
Dermatologic: Alopecia, urticaria
Endocrine & metabolic: Change in libido, weight loss
Gastrointestinal: Anorexia, constipation, diarrhea, unpleasant taste, xerostomia
Genitourinary: Frequent erections, impotence, prolonged erection
Neuromuscular & skeletal: Dyskinesia, rhabdomyolysis, tremor
Ophthalmic: Accommodation disturbances, blurred vision
Concerns related to adverse effects:
• Cardiovascular events: [US Boxed Warning]: Use has been associated with serious cardiovascular events including sudden death in patients with preexisting structural cardiac abnormalities or other serious heart problems (sudden death in children and adolescents; sudden death, stroke and MI in adults). These products should be avoided in the patients with known serious structural cardiac abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, serious heart rhythm abnormalities, or other serious cardiac problems that could increase the risk of sudden death. Patients should be carefully evaluated for cardiac disease prior to initiation of therapy. Patients who develop symptoms such as exertional chest pain, unexplained syncope, or other symptoms suggestive of cardiac disease during treatment should undergo a prompt cardiac evaluation.
• CNS effects: Amphetamines may impair the ability to engage in potentially hazardous activities (driving, operating machinery).
• Peripheral vasculopathy: Stimulants are associated with peripheral vasculopathy, including Raynaud phenomenon; signs/symptoms are usually mild and intermittent, and generally improve with dose reduction or discontinuation. Digital ulceration and/or soft tissue breakdown have been observed rarely; monitor for digital changes during therapy and seek further evaluation (eg, rheumatology) if necessary.
• Visual disturbance: Difficulty in accommodation and blurred vision has been reported with the use of stimulants.
• Abuse potential: [US Boxed Warning]: Potential for drug dependency exists; prolonged use may lead to drug dependency. Use is contraindicated in patients with history of ethanol or drug abuse. Prescriptions should be written for the smallest quantity consistent with good patient care to minimize possibility of overdose.
• Hypertension: Use with caution in patients with hypertension and other cardiovascular conditions that might be exacerbated by increases in blood pressure or heart rate. Use is contraindicated in patients with moderate-to-severe hypertension.
• Psychiatric disorders: Use with caution in patients with preexisting psychosis or bipolar disorder. May exacerbate symptoms of behavior and thought disorder or induce mixed/manic episode, respectively. New onset psychosis or mania may also occur with stimulant use. Observe for symptoms of aggression and/or hostility.
• Seizure disorder: Limited information exists regarding stimulant use in seizure disorder. Whereas patients with ADHD are at an increased risk for seizure activity compared to the general population, a retrospective study using drug claims data showed that the use of stimulant medications was associated with a lower risk (Cortese 2013; Wiggs 2018). Manufacturers of some stimulants recommend discontinuing therapy if seizures occur.
• Tourette syndrome/tics: Use with caution in patients with Tourette syndrome or other tic disorders. Stimulants may exacerbate tics (motor and phonic) and Tourette syndrome; however, evidence demonstrating increased tics is limited. Evaluate for tics and Tourette syndrome prior to therapy initiation (AACAP [Murphy 2013, Pliszka 2007]).
Concurrent drug therapy issues:
• Drug-drug interactions: Potentially significant interactions may exist, requiring dose or frequency adjustment, additional monitoring, and/or selection of alternative therapy. Consult drug interactions database for more detailed information.
• Serotonin syndrome: Potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome may occur when dextroamphetamine is used in combination with other serotonergic agents (eg, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, buspirone, St. John's wort, tryptophan), agents that impair metabolism of serotonin (eg, monoamine oxidase inhibitors), or CYP2D6 inhibitors that impair metabolism of dextroamphetamine. Concomitant use with monoamine oxidase inhibitors is contraindicated. If concomitant use of dextroamphetamine with serotonergic drugs or CYP2D6 inhibitors is indicated, initiate dextroamphetamine at a low dose and monitor patient closely for signs and symptoms of serotonin syndrome. Discontinue treatment (and any concomitant serotonergic agent) immediately if signs/symptoms arise.
• Elderly: Use caution in this age group due to CNS stimulant adverse effects.
• Pediatric: Appetite suppression may occur, particularly in children. Use of stimulants has been associated with weight loss and slowing of growth rate; monitor growth rate and weight during treatment. Treatment interruption may be necessary in patients who are not increasing in height or gaining weight as expected.
Dosage form specific issues:
• Benzyl alcohol and derivatives: Some dosage forms may contain sodium benzoate/benzoic acid; benzoic acid (benzoate) is a metabolite of benzyl alcohol; large amounts of benzyl alcohol (≥99 mg/kg/day) have been associated with a potentially fatal toxicity (“gasping syndrome”) in neonates; the “gasping syndrome” consists of metabolic acidosis, respiratory distress, gasping respirations, CNS dysfunction (including convulsions, intracranial hemorrhage), hypotension, and cardiovascular collapse (AAP ["Inactive" 1997]; CDC, 1982); some data suggests that benzoate displaces bilirubin from protein binding sites (Ahlfors, 2001); avoid or use dosage forms containing benzyl alcohol derivative with caution in neonates. See manufacturer’s labeling.
• Discontinuation of therapy: Abrupt discontinuation following high doses or for prolonged periods may result in symptoms for withdrawal.
Cardiac evaluation should be completed on any patient who develops exertional chest pain, unexplained syncope, and any symptom of cardiac disease during treatment with stimulants; behavioral changes; signs of peripheral vasculopathy (eg, digital changes); growth and weight in children; CNS activity in all patients; signs of misuse, abuse, or addiction.
When used for the treatment of ADHD, thoroughly evaluate for cardiovascular risk. Monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and consider obtaining ECG prior to initiation (Vetter, 2008).
Pregnancy Risk Factor
Adverse effects have been observed in animal reproduction studies. The majority of human data is based on illicit amphetamine/methamphetamine exposure and not from therapeutic maternal use (Golub 2005). Use of amphetamines during pregnancy may lead to an increased risk of premature birth and low birth weight; newborns may experience symptoms of withdrawal. Behavioral problems may also occur later in childhood (LaGasse 2012).
• Discuss specific use of drug and side effects with patient as it relates to treatment. (HCAHPS: During this hospital stay, were you given any medicine that you had not taken before? Before giving you any new medicine, how often did hospital staff tell you what the medicine was for? How often did hospital staff describe possible side effects in a way you could understand?)
• Patient may experience dry mouth, lack of appetite, insomnia, constipation, diarrhea, weight loss, nausea, or bad taste. Have patient report immediately to prescriber signs of severe cerebrovascular disease (change in strength on one side is greater than the other, difficulty speaking or thinking, change in balance, or vision changes), angina, shortness of breath, vision changes, severe dizziness, passing out, tachycardia, abnormal heartbeat, severe anxiety, severe headache, agitation, tremors, difficulty moving, sexual dysfunction, decreased libido, seizures, dark urine, urinary retention, change in amount of urine passed, muscle pain, muscle weakness, priapism, change in color of hands or feet from pale to blue or red, burning or numbness of the hands or feet, cold sensation of extremities, painful extremities, signs of serotonin syndrome (dizziness, severe headache, agitation, hallucinations, tachycardia, abnormal heartbeat, flushing, tremors, sweating a lot, change in balance, severe nausea, or severe diarrhea), wounds on fingers or toes, signs of depression (suicidal ideation, anxiety, emotional instability, or confusion), hallucinations, mood changes, or behavioral changes (HCAHPS).
• Educate patient about signs of a significant reaction (eg, wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat). Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Patient should consult prescriber for additional questions.
Intended Use and Disclaimer: Should not be printed and given to patients. This information is intended to serve as a concise initial reference for health care professionals to use when discussing medications with a patient. You must ultimately rely on your own discretion, experience, and judgment in diagnosing, treating, and advising patients.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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- En Español
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- Drug class: CNS stimulants
- Dextroamphetamine (AHFS Monograph)
- Dextroamphetamine Sulfate (AHFS Monograph)
- Dextroamphetamine (FDA)
- Dextroamphetamine ER (FDA)
- Dextroamphetamine Extended-Release Capsules (FDA)
- Dextroamphetamine Oral Solution (FDA)