Adderall and Adderall XR

By Eileen Bailey

Brand Name: Adderall and Adderall XR


Generic Name: amphetamine, dextroamphetamine


Adderall and Adderall XR have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) for children six years old and above.


Adderall is a short acting medication Normally, the first dose of Adderall is taken first thing in the morning. Additional doses can be taken four to six hours later.  It can be taken with or without food. It is available in the following strengths:

  • 5 mg
  • 7.5 mg
  • 10 mg
  • 12.5 mg
  • 15 mg
  • 20 mg
  • 30 mg

Adderall XR is an extended release medication and is generally taken once daily, normally in the morning. Extended release medications should always be swallowed whole. Adderall XR is available in the following:

  • 5 mg
  • 10 mg
  • 15 mg
  • 20 mg
  • 25 mg
  • 30 mg

Physicians will often start patients on lower doses and increase as needed. This helps to find the lowest possible dose to improve symptoms.


Adderall and Adderall XR are stimulant medications. Although the exact reason it works in controlling symptoms of ADHD is not known, according to the FDA, “Amphetamines rethought to block the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine into the presynaptic neuron and increase the release of these monoamines into the extraneuronal space.” [1]


Currently, Adderall and Adderall XR have been approved to treat children over the age of 3. Children under the age of three should not take Adderall or Adderall XR.


Before taking Adderall or Adderall XR, you should tell your doctor about any and all of the following health conditions you may have, or if there is a family history of any of the following:

  • Heart disease or congenital heart defect
  • High blood pressure
  • Epilepsy other seizure disorder
  • Tics or Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Overactive Thyroid
  • Glaucoma
  • Anxiety, Tension, Agitation or any other psychiatric illness
  • History of drug or substance abuse
  Common Side Effects: 

Although the following is not a complete list, below the most common side effects of Adderall and Adderall XR are listed. These medications are generally well tolerated and side effects are minimal. Should side effects last more than a few weeks or interfere with your, or your child’s ability to complete daily activities, you should speak with your doctor.

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