Adderall for adults reviews

Can Adderall and other drugs used to treat ADHD cause depression?

Adderall in general is not used to treat depression. It has been found to be effective for treating kids and adults with ADHD.

It is possible that a child who has been prescribed Adderall, which is mixed amphetamine salts for ADHD, might begin exhibiting sad or listless behavior. There are a few explanations for this reaction. When a stimulant dose is too high for a child he may begin to look sedated or unlike himself. If this happens his psychiatrist needs to work with the family to adjust the prescription until they find the right dose. But a small percentage of children — about five percent — can become very dysphoric and even depressed-seeming on a mixed amphetamine. Their emotional reaction will end when they stop taking the medication. Again, this is a small percentage of children.

However, if your child does get depressed on amphetamine, you always have the option to try a different medication. There are two kinds of stimulants that doctors use to treat ADHD, amphetamine and methylphenidate. Sometimes a person may have side effects on one kind of stimulant but respond very well to the other. So if a child has a poor response or side effect to amphetamine, then his doctor should consider prescribing a methylphenidate-based medication.

Doctors should also work to think carefully about their diagnosis, because some symptoms of depression can look a lot like ADHD. Depression makes it difficult to concentrate and can result in struggles at school, for example. It’s helpful to consider how long you’ve been seeing symptoms. Starting at a young age, kids with ADHD present a chronic history of difficulty focusing and paying attention whereas depression symptoms are more episodic. And, of course, kids with depression experience a lot more sadness, guilt, feelings of hopelessness, and sleep problems.

For kids who have been correctly diagnosed with ADHD, it is possible that they also develop depression. Kids with ADHD are actually at a higher risk for developing major depressive disorder. It’s not completely clear why but it could be because they have more problems early in life, such as having trouble at school, trouble getting along with parents, and trouble with peers, which may lead to developing poor self-esteem. The good news is that kids can be safely treated for both disorders at the same time. Generally doctors begin treating the primary disorder first and then add treatment for the second later.

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Depression: When It’s More Than a Symptom Of ADHD

To most people, depression means feeling blue or down in the dumps. This is an almost universal experience for people with ADHD. At some point in their lives, they feel down due to the frustration and demoralization of trying to fit into a neurotypical world that makes little effort to understand or accept them. Often this is called secondary, or reactive, depression.

It must be emphasized, however, that “reactive depression” is a normal experience and not something that has gone wrong. It is an accurate perception of how hard and frustrating it is to have ADHD, especially if it is not being treated.

This is not how a doctor thinks of depression when he diagnoses a patient. A clinician is trained to see depression as a gradually worsening state in which a person loses energy and the ability to experience pleasure from the things she enjoyed. There is no predictable cause-and-effect relationship between what is going on in a person’s life and her emotional response to those events. A diagnosis of depression means that a person’s moods “have taken on a life of their own, separate from the events of her life and outside her conscious will and control.”

A depressive person usually has family members with depression, who, for no apparent reason, have lost the ability to have fun, laugh, and enjoy anything (food, sex, hobbies), become irritable or sad, cry easily or for no reason, and who withdraw from life and social interaction.

A study at the National Cancer Institute asked people which was worse: being diagnosed with depression or terminal cancer? Ninety-eight percent said that their depression was worse on every level than the cancer that was killing them. Depression is a lot more than just being unhappy because things aren’t going well right now.

Depression and ADHD

Many people are confused about the overlapping symptoms of depression and ADHD. The two disorders have much in common:

  • Decreased memory and concentration
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Pessimism

It is common to attribute such symptoms to ADHD and the proclivity for a lifetime of defeats and losses the condition engenders.

Distinguishing Between Depression and ADHD

So the question is: Are depressive symptoms due to ADHD, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), or both. A significant number of people are unlucky enough to have both conditions. The National Comorbidity Replication Study (NCRS) found that having either condition makes having the other about three times more likely. The two disorders can be distinguished from each other based on six factors:

1. Age of onset. ADHD symptoms are present for a lifetime. The DSM-V requires that the symptoms of ADHD be present (although not necessarily impairing) by 12 years of age. The average onset of MDD is 18 years of age. Symptoms that began before puberty are almost always due to ADHD. A person with both conditions is usually able to see the presence of ADHD in early childhood, with the symptoms of MDD appearing later in life, usually in high school.

2. Consistency of impairment and symptoms. ADHD and its frustrations are always present. MDD comes in episodes that ultimately stabilize to more or less normal mood levels in about 12 months.

3. Triggered mood instability. People with ADHD are passionate and have strong, emotional reactions to the events of their lives. However, it is this distinct triggering of mood shifts that distinguishes ADHD from MDD mood shifts, which come and go without any connection to life events. In addition, the moods that come with ADHD are appropriate to the nature of the perceived trigger. Happy events in the lives of individuals with ADHD bring a happy and excited mood. Unhappy events, especially the experience of being rejected, criticized, shamed, or teased, lead to painful emotional states.

4. Rapidity of mood shift. Because ADHD mood shifts are almost always triggered, they are often instantaneous complete turns from one state to another. Typically, they are described as “crashes” or “snaps,” which emphasize the sudden quality of their passage. By contrast, the untriggered mood shifts of MDD take weeks to move from one state to another.

5. Duration of mood shifts. People with ADHD report that their moods change rapidly according to what is going on in their lives. Their responses to severe losses and rejections are usually measured in hours or a few days. The mood shifts of MDD must be present without a break for at least two weeks.

6. Family history. Both disorders run in families, but people with MDD usually have a family history of MDD, while individuals with ADHD have a family tree with multiple cases of ADHD.

During an evaluation with a doctor, a person who has both ADHD and MDD should be able to give a clear history of ADHD symptoms continuously present in all of his activities as far back as his memory goes. He should be able to remember that the insidious slide into an ever-worsening state of sadness that sucks the joy and meaning out of life began in late adolescence.

Almost everyone with ADHD will contend with what has been called secondary, or reactive, depression. Life is harder for people with ADHD. They have to learn how to manage their ADHD nervous system, which is unreliable in its ability to get engaged and get things done. Sometimes they are in hyperfocus and can accomplish wonderful things, and sometimes they can’t get started on a task, no matter how hard they try. Two things help:

1. Developing competency. Ask a person with an ADHD nervous system the question: “When you have been able to get engaged and stay engaged with a particular task, have you ever found anything that you couldn’t do?” Most people will answer, “No. If I can engage with something, I can do anything.” This is the main source of frustration: ADHDers know they can do remarkable things, but they can’t do them on demand. They never know whether their abilities are going to show up when they are needed.

To cope with ADHD is to learn from what goes right in their lives, not what goes wrong. How do you get in the zone to do practically anything? When you have understood and mastered your ADHD nervous system, you can be successful in a neurotypical world. Competence brings confidence and a lasting sense of well-being.

2. Having a cheerleader. We know that a lot of people with ADHD have been very successful without taking medication. How did they conquer discouragement to persevere? Probably the most important factor is that they had someone in their life who sustained them through the inevitable rough patches. Whether you are a child or an adult, it is important to have someone who sees you, not your problems.

Treating Major Depression and ADHD

What should people with both ADHD and MDD do? Which should be addressed first? The decision is usually made by the patient based on what he thinks is the most urgent or impairing condition. Given the choice, I treat ADHD first with a stimulant. This is based on my experience that a high percentage of patients (about 50 percent) report that their mood lifts when they have achieved optimal doses of stimulant-class medication.

If the depressive symptoms persist, an antidepressant is usually added to the ADHD medication. Many clinicians opt for fluoxetine (Prozac), since it has no effect on ADHD and its long duration in the body makes it an ideal drug for patients who forget to take it.

Some clinicians may use a second-line medication alone for cases of mild to moderate depression plus ADHD. It should be noted that, while antidepressant medications have published studies to show that they help with ADHD symptoms, none have shown robust effects. They have demonstrated detectable benefits but only as second-line medications when the use of stimulants or an alpha agonist is not appropriate.

Medication Expectations

What can a person expect from treating depression with medication? All of the available antidepressant medications have a response rate of about 70 percent. Consequently, the choice of which medication to start with is made on the basis of tolerability and cost. Bupropion (Wellbutrin) is lowest in side effects, followed by the third-generation SSRI medications, such as citalopram (Celexa) and escitalopram (Lexapro).

Antidepressants work slowly. Most people see no benefit for the first 10 to 14 days. After two weeks, irritability and daily crying spells usually go away. Once a person’s response to medication starts, it takes eight to 10 weeks to see the full benefit of an antidepressant. During this time, the standard medications for ADHD can be fine-tuned. These two classes of medications “play well with each other” and are commonly used together without interactions.

It must be emphasized that getting better with an antidepressant is not the same as full remission. You won’t return to your jolly old self. Most people will need an augmenting agent to boost the initial response into full remission. The stimulant medications themselves are often used as augmenters, whether or not the patient has ADHD.

It is important for a clinician to think clearly about the common overlap of ADHD and true major depression. Mistaking “reactive depression” for the real thing often leads to years of failed trials on antidepressants and postpones the treatment of ADHD.

Conversely, even when ADHD is being treated, the failure to recognize and treat major depression leaves the patient without the energy and hope to pursue learning how to manage their ADHD nervous system. A careful initial assessment is vital. More often than not, clinicians will recognize what they have been trained to see. They will usually misinterpret ADHD as a mood disorder unless you help them make this distinction.

Successful treatment requires that each condition be identified and managed in order to get all the relief that is possible.

William Dodson, M.D., is a member of ADDitude’s ADHD Medical Review Panel.

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Updated on January 20, 2020

Some people turn to stimulants because it helps them overcome social anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, it can also lead to addiction.

Everyone feels anxious from time to time. But when that anxiety begins to interfere with your ability to function, it can cause a lot of problems.

Stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall are commonly used off-label by people looking to push their productivity. Now, they’re also being used by people battling anxiety, especially social anxiety.

For some people, it appears to work—at least for a little while.

The problem is that—because these pills come in bottles, not baggies—people tend to think of them as harmless. In reality, they are schedule 2 drugs, just like heroin or cocaine, and are highly addictive.

Practically speaking, that means that you’ll crave them and need them just to feel normal. In fact, you’ll find that you can’t concentrate or focus without them anymore.

Treating Anxiety with Adderall

With all that said, anxiety can be a very real problem that severely limits a person’s ability to function normally.

In such cases, you need to see a doctor—not a dealer.

You may find that therapy is enough to keep your anxiety at bay. Or there may be a less addictive drug that works for you.

There are times when Adderall is prescribed for anxiety. This is especially true for Adderall and social anxiety, but patients must be closely monitored to make sure that the drug is not doing more harm than good.

Addiction and Anxiety: A Dual Diagnosis

If you’ve been taking Adderall for anxiety—or any other mental disorder—and find that you’ve lost control of your drug use, then it’s time to seek help for both your addiction and your anxiety.

While that may seem like a lot to sort out, it’s actually quite simple. You need to find a treatment center with experience in treating those with a dual diagnosis.

That’s important because treatment for addiction is unlikely to work if any co-occurring mental condition is not addressed.

In an ideal world, all rehabs would be equipped to treat both addiction and mental illness, but that’s simply not true. Before choosing a place to recover, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask:

  • Do you assess each resident for mental health disorders?
  • Are both the addiction and the co-occurring conditions given the same level of attention and care?
  • Is your treatment team experienced in treating those with a dual-diagnosis?

Getting Well at The Raleigh House

The Raleigh House is a residential treatment center located in Denver that seeks to treat the whole person, not just the addiction, through a comprehensive approach to recovery that includes the treatment of any co-occurring conditions. We offer a safe and comfortable environment where you can recover at your own pace. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our stimulant addiction treatment program.

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Adderall 10mg | Adderall 10mg Side Effects

There’s a reason people might have specific questions about Adderall 10 mg, and that’s because it’s one of the lower doses of the drug when it’s immediate or time-release.

First, Adderall 10 mg is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which stimulate the activity of the brain and the central nervous system and change the way two brain neurotransmitters behave: dopamine and norepinephrine. There are generic versions of Adderall 10 mg available, which are called amphetamine salts.

Doctors who are prescribing Adderall will usually start patients at a low dose like 5 or 10 mg that can be taken throughout the day if it’s immediate release, and once if it’s time-release. Then, they can adjust it up or down as necessary. Sometimes doctors may prefer Adderall IR because there are more flexible dosing options that go up incrementally so they can better tailor a dose to an individual.

An Adderall 10 mg XR pill would look like a blue capsule, with one side being clear. It would be printed with Adderall XR 10 mg. Adderall 10 mg in immediate release version would be a round, blue pill printed with AD on one side and ten on the other.

When someone takes Adderall 10 mg XR, it’s going to take longer for it to take effect and for those effects to be noticeable, but it will be longer lasting. With Adderall 10 mg IR, the effects usually occur pretty quickly but are shorter-lived.

So, what is the 10 mg Adderall duration? This is something people often ask, and it’s tough to answer because it really depends.

Not everyone who takes Adderall 10 mg is going to have the same response.

With Adderall 10 mg immediate release, the effects usually last anywhere from 3 to 5 hours. This can vary depending on things like your weight and overall health, and how you metabolize the drug.

Something else that can add variance to the 10 mg Adderall duration is whether or not you have a tolerance to the drug. It’s relatively easy to develop a tolerance to Adderall, which means after taking it for a period of time you may feel limited effects. The first time you take Adderall, you might feel strong effects, and over time that might decline, so even though you’re still taking the same dose, the 10 mg Adderall duration could be shorter.

What Is the Difference between Adderall XR and IR? 

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant. All forms of Adderall consist of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. The medication is used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and narcolepsy.

Two Major Forms of Adderall

Adderall is available in two major forms: an immediate-release version (Adderall, although sometimes referred to as “Adderall IR”) and an extended-release version (Adderall XR). Adderall IR treats ADHD symptoms for about 5-8 hours, whereas Adderall XR typically lasts for 10-12 hours.

Both versions of the drug are classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as Schedule II drugs. This scheduling indicates that the DEA considers both versions to have high potential for abuse and the development of dependence, although they are considered to have medical uses.

Has your Adderall use become unmanageable? Take our addiction assessment now. It’s free and 100% confidential.

Other Differences in Adderall IR and XR

Both the IR and XR versions of Adderall contain dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Thus, the different forms of the drug have the same potential side effects.

The IR version of Adderall is manufactured as a tablet, and the XR version comes in capsule form. The XR capsules contains both immediate-release beads and delayed-release beads, which is how it achieves its long-lasting effects. Thus, taking one 20mg dose of Adderall XR is comparable to taking one 10mg dose of Adderall IR followed by another 10mg Adderall IR dose 4 hours later.

Research suggests that IR versions of stimulants have a higher risk of being misused and diverted. Some users report grinding up the tablets and snorting the powder to hasten the onset of the drugs effects. Reasons for misuse and diversion disclosed by individuals include wanting to boost alertness, increase concentration, experience a high, or experiment.

  • Individuals who regularly use prescription stimulants like Adderall may experience feelings of depression, fatigue, and trouble sleeping if they suddenly stop using them. This experience is sometimes referred to as a “crash.” These withdrawal symptoms are experienced because the individual’s body has become dependent on the drug to function normally.
  • Misuse of Adderall, whether IR or XR, can result in a person developing a substance use disorder. Substance use disorders should be treated by professionals. Whether a person’s substance use disorder involves Adderall IR, Adderall XR, another prescription stimulant, or another type of drug, research-based care can help them learn to manage their substance use disorder and avoid relapse.

Adderall (amphetamine/ dextroamphetamine)

You may wonder how Adderall compares to other drugs used to treat ADHD or narcolepsy.

Adderall vs. Vyvanse

Adderall and Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) are two medications commonly used to treat ADHD. They’re both stimulants, and they work in a similar way. Despite these similarities, there are some differences between the drugs that might make you prefer one over the other.

Use

Adderall is FDA-approved for treating ADHD and narcolepsy. Vyvanse is approved for treating ADHD and binge eating disorder. Vyvanse is also used off-label to treat narcolepsy. It’s not FDA-approved for this purpose, but there is some scientific evidence that it might help.

Drug forms

Adderall comes in two forms: an immediate-release tablet (Adderall) and an extended-release capsule (Adderall XR).

The Adderall tablet is taken one to three times daily. Adderall XR is taken just once daily.

Vyvanse is available as a delayed-release capsule and a chewable tablet, both of which are taken once daily. The chewable tablet may be a good option for those who have a hard time swallowing pills.

Effectiveness

Both Adderall and Vyvanse are effective for improving symptoms of ADHD. In fact, they’re both considered to be among the first choices of medications for treating ADHD.

Generally, it’s not clear if one of these medications works better than the other. However, individual people may respond better to one over the other.

Adderall typically works more quickly than Vyvanse but doesn’t usually last as long:

  • Adderall works within 30 minutes and lasts for 5 to 7 hours.
  • Adderall XR also works within 30 minutes and lasts about 8 to 10 hours.
  • Vyvanse typically works within 2 hours and lasts for about 10 hours.

Side effects and risks

Because Adderall and Vyvanse are very similar medications, they also have similar side effects and drug interactions.

Both medications can cause psychological and physical dependence and can be misused or abused. However, Vyvanse may be less likely to be misused. This is because Adderall has a more immediate and intense effect when taken, which might be attractive to people who want to misuse it.

Vyvanse, on the other hand, must be broken down by the body before it takes effect.

Costs

The costs of brand-name versions of Adderall and Vyvanse are similar. However, Adderall is also available in a generic form, while Vyvanse is not. The FDA has determined that the patent for Vyvanse is valid until 2023. It will be at least until then before a generic for Vyvanse is available.

Generic drugs are typically less expensive than brand-name drugs. But in some cases, the brand-name drug and the generic version may be available in different forms and strengths.

Adderall vs. Ritalin

Adderall and Ritalin (methylphenidate) are both commonly used to treat ADHD. They’re both stimulant medications and work in a similar way. However, there are some differences that might make you prefer one over the other.

Use

Both Adderall and Ritalin are FDA-approved for treating ADHD and narcolepsy. Also, they’re both used off-label for treating similar conditions, such as depression and anxiety, in combination with other medications.

Drug forms

Adderall comes in two forms: an immediate-release tablet (Adderall) and an extended-release capsule (Adderall XR). The Adderall tablet is taken one to three times daily. Adderall XR is taken just once daily.

Like Adderall, Ritalin also comes in two forms: an immediate-release Ritalin tablet and an extended-release capsule (Ritalin LA). Ritalin tablet is taken two to three times daily, and Ritalin LA is taken once daily.

Generic versions of Ritalin also come in other dosage forms, including a chewable tablet and an oral liquid solution. These forms may be a good option for people who have a hard time swallowing pills.

Effectiveness

Both Adderall and Ritalin are effective for improving symptoms of ADHD. They’re both considered to be among the first choices of medications for treating ADHD.

Generally, it’s not clear if one of these medications works better than the other. However, individual people may respond better to one than the other.

Ritalin tablets may work slightly faster than Adderall. However, Adderall works for a slightly longer period of time than Ritalin:

  • Adderall typically works within 30 minutes and lasts for 5 to 7 hours.
  • Ritalin typically works within 20 to 30 minutes and lasts 3 to 6 hours.
  • Adderall XR usually works within 30 minutes and lasts about 8 to 10 hours.
  • Ritalin LA usually works within about 2 hours and lasts for 7 to 9 hours.

Side effects and risks

Adderall and Ritalin are very similar medications. They also have similar side effects and drug interactions. Both medications can cause psychological and physical dependence and can be misused or abused.

Costs

The cost of brand-name versions of Adderall and Ritalin are similar. The actual amount you pay will vary depending on your health insurance plan.

Adderall and Ritalin are both available in generic forms. The generic name for Ritalin is methylphenidate. Generic drugs are typically less expensive than brand-name drugs. In some cases, the brand-name drug and the generic version may be available in different forms and strengths.

Adderall vs. Concerta

Adderall and Concerta (methylphenidate extended-release) are medications that are commonly used for ADHD. They are both stimulant medications and work in a similar way. There are some differences that might make you prefer one over the other.

Use

Both Adderall and Concerta are FDA-approved for treating ADHD. Adderall is also approved for narcolepsy, but Concerta is not. Concerta is used off-label to treat narcolepsy.

Drug forms

Adderall comes in two forms: an immediate-release Adderall tablet and an extended-release capsule (Adderall XR). The Adderall tablet is taken one to three times daily. Adderall XR is taken just once daily.

Concerta is only available as an extended-release tablet that’s taken once daily.

Effectiveness

Both Adderall and Concerta are effective for improving symptoms of ADHD. They’re both considered to be among the first choices of medications for treating ADHD.

Generally, it’s not clear if one of these medications works better than the other. However, individual people may respond better to one over the other.

One difference between the drugs is how fast they work and how long they last. Adderall may work slightly faster, but Concerta lasts longer:

  • Adderall typically works within 30 minutes and lasts for 5 to 7 hours.
  • Adderall XR usually works within 30 minutes and lasts about 8 to 10 hours.
  • Concerta usually works within 30 to 60 minutes and lasts for 8 to 12 hours.

Side effects and risks

Adderall and Concerta are very similar medications. They also have similar side effects and drug interactions. Both medications can cause psychological and physical dependence, and can be misused or abused.

Costs

Both Adderall and Concerta are brand-name drugs. They’re also both available in generic forms. Generic drugs are typically less expensive than brand-name drugs. The generic name of Concerta is methylphenidate extended-release.

The brand and generic versions of Concerta appear to be more expensive than Adderall or Adderall XR. The actual amount you pay will vary depending on your health insurance plan.

Adderall vs. modafinil

Adderall and modafinil, a generic drug, are both stimulant medications, but they affect the brain in slightly different ways.

Modafinil increases wakefulness and alertness. Adderall can also stimulate wakefulness and, in people with ADHD, can produce feelings of calm and focus.

Use

Adderall is FDA-approved to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Modafinil is approved to treat narcolepsy, shift-work sleep disorder, and sleep apnea. Modafinil is used off-label to treat ADHD. This means that it’s not FDA-approved for this purpose, but there is some scientific evidence that it might help.

Drug forms

Adderall comes in two forms: an immediate-release Adderall tablet and an extended-release capsule (Adderall XR). The Adderall tablet is taken one to three times daily. Adderall XR is taken just once daily.

Modafinil is available as a tablet that’s taken once daily.

Effectiveness

Both Adderall and modafinil are effective treatment options for daytime sleepiness in people who have narcolepsy.

Adderall is considered a first-choice medication for treating symptoms of ADHD. Modafinil is used off-label for ADHD and isn’t considered a first-choice medication for this use. It’s not currently recommended for treating ADHD by guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Side effects and risks

Adderall and modafinil are both stimulants and have some similar side effects. However, Adderall is more likely to cause side effects than modafinil.

Both Adderall and modafinil can cause physical and psychological dependence leading to misuse or abuse. However, dependence appears to be more common with Adderall than modafinil. Due to these differences in side effect risk, modafinil is often preferred over Adderall for treating narcolepsy.

Costs

Adderall and modafinil are both available in brand-name and generic versions. The brand name of modafinil is Provigil. The generic versions of medications typically cost less. But in some cases, they may not be available in all strengths or forms as the brand-name drug.

The generic version and the brand-name version (Provigil) of modafinil usually cost more than the brand-name and generic versions of Adderall. The actual amount you pay will vary depending on your health insurance plan.

Adderall vs. Strattera

Adderall and Strattera (atomoxetine) are both commonly used to treat ADHD, but they work differently. Adderall is a stimulant medication that increases norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain and produces calm and focus in people with ADHD.

Strattera also works in the brain but doesn’t have stimulant effects. It works as a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and increases the amount of norepinephrine in parts of the brain. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that sends messages between cells.

Use

Adderall is FDA-approved to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Strattera is only approved to treat ADHD.

Drug forms

Adderall comes in two forms: an immediate-release tablet (Adderall) and an extended-release capsule (Adderall XR). The Adderall tablet is taken one to three times daily. Adderall XR is taken just once daily.

Strattera is available as a capsule that’s taken once or twice daily.

Effectiveness

Both Adderall and Strattera are effective for treating ADHD.

Adderall, a stimulant, is considered a first-choice treatment for ADHD. Stimulants are the best studied and most effective treatments for ADHD.

Strattera, on the other hand, is typically used for those who don’t want to take a stimulant medication or who can’t take stimulants due to side effects or other reasons.

Side effects and risks

Adderall and Strattera have some similar side effects, and some different ones.

Both Adderall and Strattera Adderall Strattera
More common side effects
  • stomach upset
  • loss of appetite
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • trouble sleeping
  • weight loss
  • fatigue
  • constipation
  • drowsiness
Serious side effects
  • risk of dependence
  • potential for misuse or abuse
  • dangerous heart effects in people with a heart condition
  • suicide risk in children and adolescents
  • liver injury

Costs

Adderall and Strattera are both available in brand-name and generic versions. The generic name of Strattera is atomoxetine.

Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, the brand-name drug and the generic version may be available in different forms and strengths.

The brand and generic versions of Strattera usually cost more than the brand and generic versions of Adderall. The actual amount you pay will vary depending on your health insurance plan.

Adderall vs. methylphenidate

Adderall and methylphenidate are both commonly used to treat ADHD. They’re both stimulant medications and work in a similar way. There are some differences that might make you prefer one over the other.

Use

Both Adderall and methylphenidate are FDA-approved for treating ADHD and narcolepsy. Both are also used off-label for treating similar conditions, such as depression and anxiety, in combination with other medications.

Drug forms

Adderall comes in two forms: an immediate-release tablet (Adderall) and an extended-release capsule (Adderall XR). The Adderall tablet is taken one to three times daily. Adderall XR is taken just once daily.

Methylphenidate comes in many different forms, including:

  • immediate-release tablet, taken two to three times daily
  • extended-release capsule, taken once daily
  • extended-release tablet, taken once daily
  • liquid solution, taken two to three times daily
  • chewable tablet, taken two to three times daily

The chewable and solution forms of methylphenidate may be good options for those who have trouble swallowing pills.

Effectiveness

Both Adderall and methylphenidate are effective for improving symptoms of ADHD. They’re both considered to be among the first choices of medications for treating ADHD.

Generally, it’s not clear if one of these medications works better than the other. However, individual people may respond better to one over the other.

Methylphenidate tablets may work slightly faster than Adderall. However, Adderall works for a slightly longer time than methylphenidate:

  • Adderall typically works within 30 minutes and lasts for 5 to 7 hours.
  • Methylphenidate typically works within 20 to 30 minutes and lasts 3 to 6 hours.
  • Adderall XR usually works within 30 minutes and lasts about 8 to 10 hours.
  • Extended-release methylphenidate usually works within about 2 hours and lasts for 7 to 9 hours.

Side effects and risks

Adderall and methylphenidate are very similar medications. They also have similar side effects and drug interactions. Both medications can cause psychological and physical dependence and can be misused or abused.

Costs

Adderall is a brand-name medication. It’s also available as a generic. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, the brand-name drug and the generic version may be available in different forms and strengths.

Methylphenidate is a generic medication. It’s also available in several brand-name forms, such as Ritalin and Concerta.

Brand-name Adderall costs more than generic methylphenidate. However, generic versions of Adderall cost about the same as generic methylphenidate. The exact cost will depend on your insurance.

Making a choice

Deciding which medication to use may come down to which is covered by your insurance, the drug form that you prefer, and how your body responds to the medication.

Picking the best medication is often a matter of trial and error. If the first drug you try doesn’t work well or causes too many side effects, a different medication might work better. Your doctor will guide you through the process of finding the right medication for you.

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