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Generic Name:

amphetamine-dextroamphetamine, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Adderall
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for amphetamine-dextroamphetamine

Oral tablet
1

Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine is an oral medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

2

Your dosage is unique to you. It should only be changed by your doctor. To reduce the risk of side effects, take the lowest dose that works for you.

3

The most common side effects include headache, upset stomach, decreased appetite, nervousness, dizziness, and trouble sleeping.

4

This drug is a controlled substance because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Selling or giving it away may harm others and is against the law.

5

Take this drug with caution if you’ve ever had a substance addiction problem or a family history of addiction.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Risk for abuse. Taking this medication for a long period of time may lead to drug dependence and addiction.

Death or heart problems. Taking this medication may lead to sudden death or serious heart problems. These include increased blood pressure and heart rate, stroke, and heart attack.

May slow growth in children

This medication may cause a child’s growth to slow down. Children should have their height and weight checked by their doctor during amphetamine treatment. If they aren’t growing in height or gaining weight, they may need to stop taking this drug. After stopping this drug, growth rate should return to normal. But the child may never make up the growth that was lost while on the medication.

May cloud judgment

This drug may impair or cloud your judgment. Be careful while driving, using heavy machinery, or doing other risky tasks while taking this medication.

What is amphetamine-dextroamphetamine?

This drug is a prescription drug and a controlled substance. It’s available in these forms: oral immediate-release tablet (Adderall) and oral extended-release capsule (Adderall XR).

This is a combination of two drugs in a single form. It’s important to know about all the drugs in the combination because they may have unique traits.

Why it's used

This drug is used to improve attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in ADHD and to decrease drowsiness in narcolepsy.

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called central nervous system stimulants.

More Details

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called central nervous system stimulants. It is believed to increase the amount of the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals are neurotransmitters that send signals to other parts of your body. Increasing these chemicals may help to treat inability to pay attention, hyperactivity, and sleepiness.

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SECTION 2 of 4

amphetamine-dextroamphetamine Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with amphetamine/dextroamphetamine include:

  • headache

  • upset stomach

  • decreased appetite

  • trouble sleeping

  • nervousness

  • dizziness

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • heart problems that can result in sudden death, including stoke, heart attack, increased blood pressure and heart rate. Symptoms of a heart problem may include:

    • weakness in one part or side of your body
    • slurred speech
    • pain in your chest, left arm, jaw, or between your shoulders
    • shortness of breath
  • mental problems, including:

    • new or worse behavior and thought problems
    • new or worse bipolar illness
    • new or worse aggressive behavior or hostility
  • psychiatric problems, including:

    • hearing voices
    • seeing things that aren’t real
    • believing things that are not true
    • being suspicious
    • new overexcited symptoms
  • seizures, especially if you have a history of seizures

  • slowed growth (height and weight) in children

  • vision problems, including:

    • changes in eyesight
    • blurred vision
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This medication does not cause drowsiness.

Mild side effects may disappear within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if they become more severe or don’t go away.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

amphetamine-dextroamphetamine May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Food Interactions

Fruit juices that are acidic may lower your body’s absorption of amphetamine/dextroamphetamine. This may make the medication less effective. Don’t take this medicine within 1 hour of drinking acidic fruit juices, such as orange or grapefruit juice.

Medications that Might Interact with This Drug

Stomach acid drugs

These include:

  • antacids
  • proton pump inhibitors

These drugs may increase the level of amphetamine/dextroamphetamine in your blood. This may increase the risk for side effects from amphetamine/dextroamphetamine. 

Tricyclic antidepressants

These include:

  • amitriptyline (Elavil)
  • clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • desipramine (Norpramin)
  • doxepin (Sinequan)
  • imipramine (Tofranil)
  • nortriptyline (Pamelor)
  • protriptyline (Vivactil)
  • trimipramine (Surmontil)

Combining these drugs with amphetamine/dextroamphetamine may increase your blood pressure and risks for heart problems.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressants

Examples are:

  • isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • phenelzine (Nardil)
  • tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • selegiline (Emsam, Eldepryl, Zelapar)

These medications can prevent your body from processing amphetamine/dextroamphetamine correctly. This may cause levels of amphetamine/dextroamphetamine to increase in your blood. This may increase the risk extremely high blood pressure, chest pain, severe headache, and high body temperature. Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine should never be taken within 14 days of using MAOI antidepressants.

Blood pressure drugs

Examples are:

  • angiotensin II receptor blockers:
    • losartan
    • valsartan
    • irbesartan
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors:
    • enalapril
    • lisinopril
  • diuretics:
    • hydrochlorothiazide
    • furosemide

Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine may reduce the blood pressure-lowering effects of these medications.

Seizure drugs

These include:

  • phenytoin
  • phenobarbital

Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine may lower the effect of seizure medications. This may increase your risk of seizures.

Antipsychotic drugs

Examples are:

  • chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
  • haloperidol (Haldol)

These medications may lower the effects of amphetamine/dextroamphetamine, which may cause it not to work as well.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
heart problems
People with heart problems

People with serious heart problems may be at risk for sudden death when taking usual doses of this drug. Don’t take this drug if you have a serious heart problem.

This medication may increase blood pressure and heart rate. If you have high blood pressure, heart failure, history of recent heart attack, or an irregular or abnormal heart beat, you and your doctor should discuss if this drug is safe for you. If you decide to take it, use this drug with extreme caution.

psychiatric disorders
People with psychiatric disorders

If you have a psychotic disorder and take this medication, symptoms of behavior problems and thought disorders may get worse.

If you have bipolar disorder, there’s an increased risk of having a mixed or manic episode when taking this medication.

anxiety or agitation
People with anxiety or agitation

If you tend to be very anxious, tense, or agitated, this medication can worsen your symptoms.

history of drug abuse
People with history of drug abuse

Don’t take this medication if you have a history of drug abuse. It can be highly addicting.

seizures
People with seizures

Don’t take this medication if you have a history of seizures. It may increase your risk of having a seizure.

hyperthyroidism
People with hyperthyroidism

Don’t take this medication if you have overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). It can make hyperthyroidism worse and cause symptoms, such as increased or abnormal heart rate.

glaucoma
People with glaucoma

This drug can worsen your vision if you have glaucoma.

pregnant woman
Pregnant women

This drug is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Some infants born to mothers dependent on amphetamines during pregnancy have shown an increased risk of being born premature, having a low birth weight, or showing symptoms of amphetamine withdrawal.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. This medication should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

This drug may pass through breast milk and can cause side effects in a breastfeeding child. Tell your doctor if you’re breastfeeding. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication. You shouldn’t breastfeed while taking this drug.

seniors
For seniors

This drug hasn’t been studied in people over the age of 65 years.

children
For children

For treating ADHD, this drug isn’t recommended for children under the age of 3 years.

The safety and effectiveness of this drug for narcolepsy haven’t been studied in children under the age of 6 years.

allergies
Allergies

This medication can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it or other stimulant medications. Taking it again could be fatal.

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take amphetamine-dextroamphetamine (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Form: Oral immediate-release Tablet
Strengths: 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Take the first dose when you wake up and any additional doses every 4–6 hours.
  • Start with 5 mg taken once or twice per day.
  • You may increase the dose by 5 mg every week until the desired response is met.
Child Dosage (ages 6-17 years)
  • Take the first dose when you wake up and any additional doses every 4–6 hours.
  • Start with 5 mg taken once or twice per day.
  • You may increase the dose by 5 mg every week until the desired response is met.
Child Dosage (ages 3-5 years)
  • Take the first dose when you wake up and any additional doses every 4–6 hours.
  • Start with 2.5 mg per day.
  • You may increase the dose by 2.5 mg every week until the desired response is met.
Child Dosage (ages 0-2 years)

This drug isn’t recommended for people under the age of 3 years.

Warnings

Your doctor may try to stop the drug occasionally to determine if you still need to take it. If symptoms return, you may need to continue therapy.

Narcolepsy
Form: Oral immediate-release Tablet
Strengths: 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Take the first dose when you wake up and any additional doses every 4–6 hours.
  • The usual dose is 5–60 mg per day in divided doses.
Child Dosage (ages 12-17 years)
  • Start with 10 mg per day.
  • The dose may increase by 10 mg every week until the desired response is met.
Child Dosage (ages 6-12 years)
  • Start with 5 mg per day.
  • The dose may increase by 5 mg every week until the desired response is met.
Child Dosage (ages 0-5 years)

A safe and effective dose hasn’t been established for children under the age of 6 years.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking it

Your symptoms may not be controlled. If you’ve been taking high doses of this drug for a long time and stop it suddenly, you may experience extreme tiredness or fatigue, as well as severe depression.

If you don't take it on schedule

If you don’t take this drug on schedule and take it later in the day, you may have trouble falling asleep at night.

If you take too much

If you take too much of this medication, you may experience:

  • restlessness
  • muscle pain and weakness
  • fast breathing
  • confusion
  • high or low blood pressure
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

More severe problems include seizures and coma, which can be fatal. Get emergency medical attention if you suspect you or your child has taken too much.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. However, if it’s just a few hours until your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next one on schedule.

Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in toxic side effects. Remember, taking this medication too close to bedtime may keep you up at night.

How to tell if the drug is working

You may be able to tell if this medication is working for ADHD if you’re able to focus and pay attention better and if you experience less impulsiveness and hyperactivity.

You may be able to tell if it’s working for narcolepsy if you feel less sleepy and more alert.

Is this a short-term or long-term drug?

You and your doctor will decide if long-term use is right for you.

Important considerations for taking this drug
with or without food
You can take this medication with or without food
timing
Avoid taking this medication at night. It can cause trouble sleeping
can crush tablet
You can cut or crush the immediate-release tablet
storage
Store in temperatures from 68–77°F (20–25°C)
See Details
not refillable
Prescription is not refillable
luggage
Travel
See Details
clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details
not usually stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug, so call ahead
prior authorization needed
Insurance
See Details

Store in temperatures from 68–77°F (20–25°C)

Keep out of reach of children.

Note: Keep your medications away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store them away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this drug.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s preprinted label to identify the medication. Keep the original prescription-labeled box with you when traveling.
  • Since this is a controlled substance, you won’t have refills from your doctor. Be sure to check that you have enough medication before you leave on your trip.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may follow up regularly with you while you take this medication. They may check for:

  • blood pressure and heart rate issues. This drug can cause serious heart problems or make them worse.  
  • aggressive behavior or changes in mental conditions. This drug can cause new mental problems or make them worse.  
  • growth and weight in children. Long-term use may slow down a child’s growth or keep them from gaining weight. 

Insurance

Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for this drug.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.


Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on May 18, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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