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Adderall is a prescription-based drug that contains a combination of two medications, i.e., amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.

It is a central nervous stimulant that is used to treat narcolepsy (A chronic sleep disorder that causes excessive sleepiness in the daytime) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

 It is a first-choice drug treatment for ADHD and can be given alone or in combination with other medications. Adderall works to increase attention, focus, and control behavior.

Adderall may cause addiction, and the chances of abuse are higher in patients who previously had substance use disorder. For example, the habit of overusing drugs or alcohol. In this article, we have covered every detail related to Adderall.

What Is Adderall Used For?

Adderall is used for the following conditions:

  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Narcolepsy (Excessive Sleepiness, usually in the daytime)

How Effective Is Adderall?

Adderall is a CNS stimulant drug and is the most effective drug option for treating ADHD. Studies show that around 75 to 80% of children having ADHD showed improved symptoms with the use of Adderall.

How Does Adderall Work? Mechanism Of Action

Adderall increases the activity of the central nervous system, improves focus, attention, and activeness, and decreases restlessness.

Adderall increases the concentration of neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, by blocking their reabsorption into the presynaptic neuron. It brings the brain back from overstimulation phase to a normal stimulation state.

How Should I Take Adderall?

  • Take Adderall exactly as prescribed or recommended by your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Take Adderall by oral administration. Do not crush, chew, dissolve, or break the capsule. Swallow the capsule as a whole with a full glass of water.
  • Adderall should not be used in children under 3 years of age.
  • You can take Adderall with or without food, as recommended by your pharmacist. The absorption of Adderall is better when taken on an empty stomach, but if you face nausea, you can take it with food.
  • Commonly, Adderall is prescribed to be taken 1 to 3 times per day, and the first dose is taken in the morning.
  • Adderall is usually prescribed to be taken after every 4 to 6 hours, depending on your condition.
  • Adderall extended-release capsules are prescribed for once daily use.
  • Take Adderall regularly at the same time every day.
  • Do not take Adderall at midnight as it may cause difficulty in sleeping.
  • Do not suddenly stop taking Adderall as it may cause withdrawal symptoms like sleep problems, depression, tiredness, and dizziness. To prevent withdrawal symptoms, your doctor may lower the dose gradually and ask you to stop using the medication.
  • Inform your doctor if you are taking any stimulant medicine, herbal drugs, depression or opioid medications before starting Adderall therapy.

Adderall Dosage Form

Your doctor will prescribe a dosage form based on your:

  • Age
  • Disease
  • Severity of disease
  • Medical history

Adderall comes in two dosage forms: 

  • Immediate-release oral tablets
  • Extended-release oral capsules

What Dose of Adderall Should I Take?

Take a dose exactly as prescribed by your doctor, as the dose of Adderall can vary from patient to patient, depending on the patient’s condition and disease.

The standard doses of Adderall include:

●     For ADHD

In children of age 3 to 5 years, the dose of Adderall is 2.5 mg daily.

In children of age 6 years and above, the dose of Adderall is 5 mg once or twice daily, depending on the disease severity.

●     For Narcolepsy

The standard dose of Adderall for narcolepsy is 5 mg to 60 mg daily in divided doses, depending on the patient’s condition and severity of the disease.

Why Is Adderall Considered A Good Treatment For ADHD And Narcolepsy?

Since Adderall is a CNS stimulant and shows activity in the brain by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters, it has positive effects on improving focus and attention by reducing impulsive behavior and hyperactivity in a person. Thus, Adderall is considered the drug of choice for treating ADHD. Moreover, as a CNS stimulant, Adderall effectively relieves sleepiness and promotes wakefulness.

What Are The Side Effects Of Adderall?

The most common side effects of Adderall include:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Excitability
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach pain

Severe side effects of Adderall include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Delusions
  • Blurred vision
  • Heart problems
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain

How To Manage Adderall Side Effects?

The common side effects of Adderall go away with time. So, you don’t need to worry about them as they usually occur. However, if they persist or become intolerable, consult your pharmacist to switch your medication.

The side effects of Adderall vary from patient to patient. Here are some tips for managing the common side effects of Adderall:

  • If you face GIT disturbance or nausea with Adderall, use the drug during or before a meal.
  • Drink plenty of water to manage the side effects of diarrhea and constipation.
  • For managing dry mouth, drink small sips of water or juices throughout the day and use a mouthwash.
  • In many people, side effects such as insomnia, loss of appetite, and dry mouth are reduced with time with the continued use of the drug.
  • Do not take alcohol when you are on Adderall therapy, as alcoholic beverages increase the risk of Adderall side effects.
  • Check your blood pressure regularly when using Adderall.

Alternative Treatment Options For ADHD

Although Adderall is the best drug for treating ADHD, several alternatives are available other than Adderall. If you encounter unusual side effects from Adderall or cannot tolerate the drug, these options are less likely to cause adverse effects.

Caution: Never start using these drugs or switch from Adderall to another medication without consulting your doctor. If you feel that you are unable to tolerate Adderall, first consult with your doctor or pharmacist.

The alternatives to Adderall include: 

  • Lisdexamfetamine: It is a long-acting stimulant medication used to treat ADHD and sleepiness.
  • Clonidine: Clonidine is a non-stimulant drug that treats ADHD and hypertension by managing attention and impulsivity.
  • Atomoxetine: It is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that controls hyperactivity and impulsiveness and increases focus.
  • Guanfacine: Guanfacine is a prescription-based drug used for hypertension and ADHD.

Can I Buy Adderall Online?

As Adderall is a prescription-only drug, some pharmacies make them accessible, while selling Adderall online is against the policies of some pharmacies. But if you have a prescription for Adderall, you can purchase the drug online by showing your prescription if its home delivery is applicable in your nearby pharmacy.

Adderall Drug Interactions

Before starting Adderall, tell your doctor about the OTC and prescription medications you are taking and about your pre-existing mental and physical health problems. Adderall may interact with some medications that include:

  • Seizures medicines
  • Some antidepressants
  • Blood thinning drugs
  • Some Blood Pressure medications
  • Decongestants
  • GIT drugs
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as phenelzine, tranylcypromine, selegiline, and others.

If you have the following disorders, the use of Adderall may be risky:

  • A history of drug or alcohol addiction
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Severe anxiety, depression, stress, or agitation.
  • Any mental disorders


When should I take Adderall?

Take Adderall as recommended by your doctor. If you are taking Adderall immediate-release tablets or on once-daily dosing, take the drug in the morning. For twice daily dosing, avoid taking the second dose late at night because it can interfere with your sleep.

How long does it take for Adderall to work?

Adderall takes around 30 minutes to one hour to work. The drug reaches its peak effects within 3 hours if taken on an empty stomach.

Can I take Adderall while pregnant?

No. Adderall should not be taken during pregnancy.  No medications that treat ADHD are proven to be safe in pregnancy. Adderall increases the risk of low birth weight, premature delivery, and symptoms like agitation, laziness, poor growth of baby, and dysphoria if taken in pregnancy.

Moreover, do not take Adderall if you are breastfeeding or don’t breastfeed if you are taking Adderall.

Can I drive after taking Adderall? 

No. You should not drive after taking Adderall as the drug can make you dizzy.

How long can I take Adderall for

Take Adderall as long as recommended by your doctor or pharmacist. Do not take Adderall more often or more than prescribed. If you face any unusual adverse effects during your therapy, consult your doctor immediately.

Does long-term use of Adderall have adverse effects on my health?

Adderall is safe for long-term use if taken at doses and the duration recommended by your doctor. However, if Adderall is taken more than recommended, its long-term use can cause addiction, mental health problems, heart diseases, and slowed growth in children.


Adderall is a CNS stimulant drug used to treat ADHD (hyperactivity disorder common in children) and narcolepsy (excessive sleepiness). It increases the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the brain to balance the activity of the central nervous system. Adderall controls behavior, induces wakefulness, and increases attention and focus in the patient.