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Adderall Patient Tips

How it works

Adderall is an amphetamine-type product that consists of different amphetamine salts (dextroamphetamine saccharate and sulfate, amphetamine aspartate and sulfate). Experts aren't sure exactly how Adderall works in ADHD but think it affects the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters. Adderall is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant.


  • Used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and for the sleep disorder, narcolepsy.
  • For ADHD, Adderall may increase attention and decrease hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
  • Usually used in conjunction with other treatment options (such as psychotherapy, education about the disorder, social integration advice).
  • Not recommended in children aged less than three.


If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:

  • Headache, dry mouth, loss of appetite, insomnia, nervousness, and nausea are the most common side effects.
  • High potential for dependence especially when administered for long periods of time.
  • High potential for abuse. May be sought after by drug abusers or people with addiction disorders. Misuse may cause sudden death or cardiovascular events.
  • May not be suitable for people with certain heart conditions, as risk of sudden death increased even with usual dosages.
  • May exacerbate preexisting psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder, psychotic disorder or mania; and increase anxiety, tension, and agitation.
  • May impair judgement or reaction skills; exercise caution before driving or operating machinery until full effects of Adderall are known.
  • Reports indicate some temporary slowing of growth may occur when regular Adderall is given to children aged 7 through 10 years. Doctors should monitor height and weight and consider treatment interruption if growth suppression suspected.
  • May increase risk of seizures and peripheral circulatory problems and cause visual problems.
  • May cause heart palpitations, dry mouth, constipation and other GI disturbances, headache, weight loss, changes in libido, alopecia (hair loss), elevate blood pressure and affect the muscles.
  • May precipitate depression during withdrawal from Adderall, particularly in those who have been overusing it.
  • Rare cases of priapism (painful erections more than 6 hours in duration) have been reported.

Notes: In general, seniors or children, people with certain medical conditions (such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures) or people who take other medications are more at risk of developing a wider range of side effects. For a complete list of all side effects, click here.

Bottom Line

Adderall combines four different amphetamine salts into one product and is used for the treatment of ADHD or narcolepsy. Use is limited by its potential to be addictive and cause dependence.


  • Take in the morning.
  • May be taken with or without food.
  • Administer at the lowest effective dosage and take exactly as directed by your doctor; never increase dosage without their advice.
  • Avoid sudden discontinuation as this can precipitate a withdrawal reaction.
  • Seek medical advice if symptoms persist or worsen despite treatment, or if new psychotic symptoms (eg, hearing voices, signs of paranoia) develop.
  • Seek urgent medical help if chest pain, shortness of breath or fainting is experienced while taking Adderall.
  • Do not drive or operate machinery if Adderall impairs your judgement or reaction skills.
  • Seek medical advice if any new numbness, pain, skin color change or sensitivity or unexplained wounds occur in fingers or toes.

Response and Effectiveness

Peak concentrations are reached within three hours following a single dose.


Adderall (dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate) [package insert]. Revised 12/2015. Teva Select Brands. Accessed 02/2016

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Adderall only for the indication prescribed.

  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. It is an informational resource designed as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of this information. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2017 Revision Date: 2017-04-11 02:52:10