Dextroamphetamine | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

dextroamphetamine, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Dexedrine (Discontinued)
  • DextroStat (Discontinued)
  • Zenzedi
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for dextroamphetamine

Oral tablet
1

Dextroamphetamine is an oral drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

2

You’ll need to get a new written prescription from your doctor every time you need a refill of this medication.

3

One of the side effects of this medication is decreased appetite when starting treatment. Try eating small, frequent meals and snacks to maintain your weight.

4

When your doctor says that you’re ready to stop taking this medication, they’ll reduce your dose over time. Stopping the drug suddenly could lead to serious side effects.

5

You may need to stop taking dextroamphetamine if you’re having any procedure where you’ll be sedated. These include MRIs and CT scans.

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.

Abuse warning. This drug belongs to a group of medications that can be easily abused. If you’re taking it for a long period of time, you may become dependent on it. Don’t take this drug if you have a history of substance abuse.

Heart risk. This drug can cause sudden death or serious side effects to your heart, such as a stroke or heart attack.

May affect mental alertness

This drug can interfere with your concentration or make you feel less tired than you really are. Avoid driving, operating heavy machinery, or doing anything else that requires you to be mentally alert until you know how it affects you.

Dosage warning

Talk to your doctor if you feel like this medication isn’t working as well as it used to or if you feel like you need to take more than your doctor prescribed. Don’t take a larger dose without talking to your doctor.

Slowed growth in children

This medication may temporarily slow growth in kids. Your doctor may check whether your child is gaining height and weight according to their age. If they aren’t, the doctor may switch their medication.

What is dextroamphetamine?

This drug is a prescription drug and a controlled substance. It’s available in these forms: oral tablet, oral extended-release capsule, and oral solution.

It’s also available in a generic version. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means may you need to take it with other drugs.

Why it's used

This drug is used to treat the sleeping disorder narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

How it works

It isn’t clearly understood how this drug works to treat these conditions. It belongs to a class of drugs called central nervous system stimulants.

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SECTION 2 of 5

dextroamphetamine Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with dextroamphetamine include:

  • fast heartbeat

  • decreased appetite

  • tremors

  • headache

  • trouble sleeping

  • dizziness

  • upset stomach

  • weight loss

  • dry mouth

  • feeling anxious

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.

  • allergic reactions. Symptoms may include:

    • skin rash
    • itching
    • hives
    • swelling of your face, lips, or tongue
  • heart problems. Symptoms may include:

    • chest pain or tightness
    • high blood pressure or fast, irregular heartbeat
    • trouble breathing
  • mental problems. Symptoms may include:

    • confusion
    • hallucinations
    • seizures, especially in people with a history of seizures
  • vision problems, including:

    • blurred vision
    • changes in eyesight
  • circulation problems, including:

    • fingers or toes that feel numb, cold, or hurt
  • movement problems, including:

    • muscle twitching
    • trouble walking, feeling dizzy, or losing balance or coordination
    • uncontrollable movements in your head, mouth, neck, arm, or leg
  • slowed growth in children (height and weight)

  • painful or prolonged erection

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug does not cause drowsiness.

Mild side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if they’re 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 5

dextroamphetamine May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

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. Acidic juices like orange and grapefruit juice can increase the level of acid in your urine, stomach, or intestines. This can cause less dextroamphetamine to be absorbed in your body. This may cause dextroamphetamine to be less effective.

You may be able to drink acidic fruit juices one hour before or one hour after taking this medication. Talk to your doctor about any dietary changes you should make while taking dextroamphetamine.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Drugs that increase acid levels in urine, stomach, or intestines

These include:

  • reserpine
  • glutamic acid
  • ammonium chloride

Acidifying drugs can decrease the amount of dextroamphetamine absorbed in your body. This could decrease the effectiveness of dextroamphetamine.

Drugs that increase sodium bicarbonate in urine, stomach, or intestines

These include:

  • acetazolamide
  • some thiazide diuretics 

Alkalizing drugs can increase the amount of dextroamphetamine absorbed in your body. This could increase side effects from dextroamphetamine.

Tricyclic antidepressants

These include: 

  • amitriptyline
  • nortriptyline

Dextroamphetamine can increase the activity of tricyclic antidepressants. This can increase side effects on your heart.

MAO inhibitor antidepressants

These include:

  • selegiline
  • phenelzine
  • moclobemide

These medications can slow down how fast your body processes dextroamphetamine. This can cause headaches or dangerously high blood pressure.

Blood pressure drugs

These include:

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

Dextroamphetamine can stop the blood pressure-lowering effects of these medications. Tell your doctor if you’re taking any medications for high blood pressure before starting dextroamphetamine.

Chlorpromazine

Chlorpromazine can decrease how well dextroamphetamine works in your body.

Seizure drugs
  • ethosuximide
  • phenytoin and phenobarbital

Dextroamphetamine can delay the absorption of these drugs, potentially decreasing the amount of seizure drugs absorbed. This might decrease the effectiveness of these seizure drugs.

Mental disorder drug
  • haloperidol 

Haloperidol can decrease how well dextroamphetamine works for you.

Bipolar disorder drug
  • lithium 

Lithium can decrease how well dextroamphetamine works for you.

Pain drug
  • meperidine 

Dextroamphetamine can increase the pain-relieving effects of meperidine.

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

This medication can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to increase. Tell your doctor if you have high blood pressure, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, have had a heart attack or stroke, or a family history of these problems. Your doctor may want to do an exam to see if you have any symptoms of heart disease before starting this drug.

psychiatric disease
People with psychiatric disease

This drug can increase the symptoms of psychosis or bipolar disorder. If you have any history of psychological illness, your doctor may monitor you before and during treatment with this drug.

seizures
People with seizures

Taking this drug may cause you to have a seizure more easily. Tell your doctor if you have a seizure disorder or a history of seizures.

thyroid problems
People with thyroid problems

Don’t take this drug if you have overactive thyroid. It increases your risk of heart damage and other side effects.

glaucoma
People with glaucoma

Don’t take this drug if you have glaucoma. This drug can raise the pressure in your eyes and make the glaucoma worse.

substance abuse
People with history of substance abuse

Don’t take this drug if you have a history of substance abuse. It has a high risk of abuse. When used for a long period of time, it can lead to drug dependence. 

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. 

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. This drug 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 is passed through breast milk. To avoid any harm it might cause to your baby, it’s recommended that you don’t use this drug while breastfeeding.

seniors
For seniors

Seniors should use this drug with caution. If you’re a senior, you may be at a higher risk for some side effects, such as drowsiness or weakness.

children
For children

People under the age of 3 years shouldn’t take this drug.

Keep this medication away from children. If you have a child who’s taking this drug, make sure you or another adult gives your child each dose.

telephone
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you find out that you have any new long-term health conditions while taking this drug. These include high blood pressure, heart disease, problems with your thyroid, or glaucoma.

SECTION 4 of 5

How to Take 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?

Narcolepsy
Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg
Form: Oral extended-release Capsule
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg
Form: Oral Solution
Strengths: 5 mg/5 ml

Dextroamphetamine tablets and oral solution

Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • The starting dose is 5 mg taken twice per day. Take the first dose when you wake up. Space out the next doses by 4–6 hours.
  • When changing your dose, the dose can be increased by no more than 10 mg per week.
Child Dosage (ages 12-17 years)
  • The starting dose is 5 mg taken twice per day. Take the first dose when you wake up. Space out the next doses by 4–6 hours.
  • When changing your dose, the dose can be increased by no more than 10 mg per week.
Child Dosage (ages 6-11 years)
  • The starting dose is 5 mg taken once per day. Take the first dose when you wake up. Space out the next doses by 4–6 hours.
  • When changing your dose, the dose can be increased by no more than 5 mg per week.
Child Dosage (ages 0-5 years)

A safe and effective dosage hasn’t been established for this age group.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg
Form: Oral extended-release Capsule
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg
Form: Oral Solution
Strengths: 5 mg/5 ml

Dextroamphetamine tablets and oral solution

Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • The starting dose is 5 mg taken either once or twice per day.
  • If you take it twice, take it when you wake up and 4–6 hours later.
  • When changing your dose, the dose can be increased by no more than 5 mg per week.
Child Dosage (ages 12-17 years)
  • The starting dose is 5 mg taken either once or twice per day.
  • If you take it twice, take it when you wake up and 4–6 hours later.
  • When changing your dose, the dose can be increased by no more than 5 mg per week.
Child Dosage (ages 6-11 years)
  • The starting dose is 5 mg taken once or twice per day.
  • If you take it twice, take the first dose when you wake up and 4–6 hours later.
  • When changing your dose, the dose can be increased by no more than 5 mg per week.
Child Dosage (ages 3-5 years)
  • The starting dose is 2.5 mg taken once per day.
  • If you take it twice, take the first dose when you wake up and 4–6 hours later.
  • When changing your dose, the dose can be increased by no more than 2.5 mg per week.
Child Dosage (ages 0-2 years)

A safe and effective dosage hasn’t been established for this age group.

Dextroamphetamine extended-release capsules

Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

A safe and effective dosage hasn’t been established for people in this age group.

Child Dosage (ages 16-18 years)

A safe and effective dosage hasn’t been established for people in this age group.

Child Dosage (ages 6-15 years)
  • The initial dose is 5 mg taken once or twice per day.
  • The dose may increase in increments of 5 mg at weekly intervals until an effective dose is achieved.
  • Doses of more than 40 mg per day are rarely needed.
Child Dosage (ages 0-5 years)

A safe and effective dose hasn’t been established for this age group.

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 risks if you don’t take it as prescribed by your doctor.

If you stop taking it suddenly

Don’t suddenly stop taking this drug. This can cause serious side effects. When stopping, your doctor will decrease your doses slowly over time to avoid any side effects.

If you take too much

If you take too much, you might experience rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, seizures, or hallucinations. If you take or think you have taken too much, go to the emergency room right away or contact a poison control center.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, take the next dose only. Don’t take extra doses or double doses.

How to tell if the drug is working

If you’re taking this medication for narcolepsy, you may be able to tell if it’s working if you feel more alert and less sleepy throughout the day.

If you’re taking it for ADHD, you may be able to tell if it’s working if you’re able to focus better.

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

How long you take this drug will depend on how well it works for you and what kind of response you have to it.

Important considerations for taking this drug
timing
Don’t take this drug close to bedtime. It may prevent you from sleeping
do not crush
Don’t chew or crush the extended-release capsules. It’s okay to cut or crush the oral tablet
storage
Store in temperatures from 59–86°F (15–30°C)
See Details
not refillable
Prescription is not refillable
luggage
Travel
See Details
clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details
diet
Your diet
See Details
not usually stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug, so call ahead
See Details
prior authorization needed
Insurance
See Details

Store in temperatures from 59–86°F (15–30°C)

Keep the container tightly closed and out of reach from children. Protect the medication from light.

Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date on the prescription bottle.

This drug can be abused, so you should protect if from theft.

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 medication.
  • You may need to show a prescription label to identify the medication. Keep the original prescription-labeled box with you when traveling.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may check your blood pressure and monitor your heart regularly while taking this medication.

This drug may temporarily slow a child’s growth rate. Your child’s doctor may check your child’s growth rate while they take this medication.

Your diet

Your drug can cause a decreased appetite. Try to eat smaller, more frequent meals while taking it. This may help maintain your or your child’s height and weight.

Not every pharmacy stocks this drug, so call ahead

You will need to fill the entire prescription of this drug because it’s a controlled substance.

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.

SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does dextroamphetamine Cost?

Oral tablet

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for dextroamphetamine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for dextroamphetamine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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 19, 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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