Dextroamphetamine, Oral Tablet

Medically reviewed by University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group on May 17, 2017Written by University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Highlights for dextroamphetamine

  1. Dextroamphetamine oral tablet is only available as a generic drug. It doesn’t have a brand-name version.
  2. Dextroamphetamine comes in three forms: oral tablet, oral extended-release capsule, and oral solution.
  3. Dextroamphetamine oral tablet is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

Important warnings

FDA warnings

  • This drug has black box warnings. These are the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Black box warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.
  • Abuse warning: This drug belongs to a group of medications that can be easily misused. 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 warning: This drug can cause sudden death or serious side effects to your heart, such as a stroke or heart attack.

Other warnings

  • Decreased mental alertness warning: This drug can interfere with your concentration or make you feel less tired than you really are. Avoid driving, using heavy machinery, or doing anything else that requires you to be mentally alert until you know how it affects you.
  • Dosage warning: Take only the dosage your doctor prescribes. 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, talk to your doctor. Don’t take a larger dose without talking to your doctor.
  • Slowed growth in children warning: This medication may temporarily slow growth in children. 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?

Dextroamphetamine is a prescription drug. It comes in three forms: oral tablet, oral extended-release capsule, and oral solution.

Dextroamphetamine oral tablet isn’t available in a brand-name version. It’s only available in a generic version. Generic drugs usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

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

Dextroamphetamine is a controlled substance. This means its use is regulated by the government.

Why it's used

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

How it works

Dextroamphetamine belongs to a class of drugs called central nervous system stimulants. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

It isn’t fully understood how dextroamphetamine works to treat narcolepsy and ADHD.

Dextroamphetamine side effects

Dextroamphetamine oral tablet doesn’t cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects that can occur with dextroamphetamine include:

  • fast heartbeat
  • decreased appetite
  • tremors
  • headache
  • trouble sleeping
  • dizziness
  • upset stomach
  • weight loss
  • dry mouth
  • feeling anxious

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • 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
    • other 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

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we can not 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.

Dextroamphetamine may interact with other medications

Dextroamphetamine oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with dextroamphetamine are listed below.

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

Acidifying drugs can decrease the amount of dextroamphetamine your body absorbs. This could decrease the effectiveness of dextroamphetamine. Examples of these drugs include:

  • reserpine
  • glutamic acid
  • ammonium chloride

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

Alkalizing drugs can increase the amount of dextroamphetamine your body absorbs. This could increase side effects from dextroamphetamine. Examples of these drugs include:

  • acetazolamide
  • thiazide diuretics

Serotonergic drugs

Taking these drugs with dextroamphetamine may increase your risk of serotonin syndrome, which can be fatal. If you take any of these drugs, your doctor will start you on a lowered dosage of dextroamphetamine and monitor you for signs of serotonin syndrome. Symptoms can include agitation, sweating, muscle twitches, and confusion.

Examples of these drugs include:

  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine and sertraline
  • serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs) such as duloxetine and venlafaxine
  • tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) such as amitriptyline and clomipramine
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as selegiline and phenelzine
  • the opioids fentanyl and tramadol
  • the anxiolytic buspirone
  • triptans
  • lithium
  • tryptophan
  • St. John’s wort

Additionally, combining TCAs with dextroamphetamine may increase your blood pressure and risk of heart problems.

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

Blood pressure drugs

Taking blood pressure drugs with dextroamphetamine can stop their intended effects. Before starting dextroamphetamine, tell your doctor if you take any medications for high blood pressure.

Examples of these drugs include:

  • angiotensin II receptor blockers such as losartan, valsartan, and irbesartan
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as enalapril and lisinopril
  • diuretics (water pills) such as hydrochlorothiazide and furosemide

Chlorpromazine

Chlorpromazine can decrease how well dextroamphetamine works in your body.

Seizure drugs

Taking certain seizure drugs with dextroamphetamine can delay and possibly decrease the absorption of those seizure drugs. This effect might them less effective. Examples of these seizure drugs include:

  • ethosuximide
  • phenytoin
  • phenobarbital

Haloperidol

Taking haloperidol, a mental disorder drug, with dextroamphetamine can decrease how well dextroamphetamine works for you.

Meperidine

Taking meperidine, a pain drug, with 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 can not 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.

Dextroamphetamine warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • skin rash
  • itching
  • hives
  • swelling of your face, lips, or tongue

If you develop these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

Food interaction warning

Acidic juices such as orange juice 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.

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For 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. Before starting you on treatment with this drug, your doctor may want to examine you to see if you have any symptoms of heart disease.

For 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.

For 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.

For people with thyroid problems: Don’t take this drug if you have overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Taking this drug increases your risk of heart damage and other side effects.

For 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.

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

Warnings for other groups

For 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.

If you become pregnant while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.

For women who are breastfeeding: This drug is passed through breast milk. To avoid any harm it might cause to your child, it’s recommended that you don’t use this drug while breastfeeding.

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.

For children: Children under the age of 3 years shouldn’t take this drug. If you have a child who’s taking this drug, make sure you or another adult gives your child each dose.

For people having a procedure: You may need to stop taking dextroamphetamine if you’re having any procedure where you’ll be sedated. This includes MRIs and CT scans.

How to take dextroamphetamine

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
  • Drug form and strengths

    Generic: Dextroamphetamine

    • Form: oral tablet
    • Strengths: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg

    Dosage for narcolepsy

    Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

    • Typical starting dosage: 5 mg taken twice per day. Take the first dose when you wake up. Space out the next doses by 4–6 hours.
    • Dosage increases: Your doctor will increase your dosage by no more than 10 mg per week.

    Child dosage (ages 12–17 years)

    • Typical starting dosage: 5 mg taken twice per day. Take the first dose when you wake up. Space out the next doses by 4–6 hours.
    • Dosage increases: Your doctor will increase your child’s dosage by no more than 10 mg per week.

    Child dosage (ages 6–11 years)

    • Typical starting dosage: 5 mg taken once per day. Take the first dose when you wake up. Space out the next doses by 4–6 hours.
    • Dosage increases: Your doctor will increase your child’s dosage 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.

    Dosage for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

    Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

    • Typical starting dosage: 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.
    • Dosage increases: Your doctor will increase your dosage by no more than 5 mg per week.

    Child dosage (ages 12–17 years)

    • Typical starting dosage: 5 mg taken either once or twice per day. If your child takes it twice, they should take it when they wake up and 4–6 hours later.
    • Dosage increases: Your doctor will increase your child’s dosage by no more than 5 mg per week.

    Child dosage (ages 6–11 years)

    • Typical starting dosage: 5 mg taken once or twice per day. If your child takes it twice, they should take it when they wake up and 4–6 hours later.
    • Dosage increases: Your doctor will increase your child’s dosage by no more than 5 mg per week.

    Child dosage (ages 3–5 years)

    • Typical starting dosage: 2.5 mg taken once per day. If your child takes it twice, they should take it when they wake up and 4–6 hours later.
    • Dosage increases: Your doctor will increase your child’s dosage 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.

    Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we can not guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

Take as directed

Dextroamphetamine may be used for short-term or long-term treatment. How long you take it will depend on how well it works for you and what kind of response your body has to it.

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 have symptoms such as:

  • rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • tremors
  • seizures
  • hallucinations

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

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. This could cause dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working: If you’re taking this medication for narcolepsy, you should feel more alert and less sleepy throughout the day.

If you’re taking it for ADHD, you should be able to focus better.

Important considerations for taking dextroamphetamine

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes dextroamphetamine for you.

General

  • Don’t take this drug close to bedtime. It may prevent you from sleeping.
  • You can cut or crush the oral tablet.

Storage

  • Store at a temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • Keep the container tightly closed. Protect the medication from light.
  • Throw away any unused medication after the expiration date on the prescription bottle. Ask your pharmacist the best way to dispose of this medication.
  • This drug can be misused, so you should protect it from theft.

Refills

A prescription for this medication is not refillable. You or your pharmacy will have to contact your doctor for a new prescription if you need this medication refilled.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t harm your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled container with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may monitor your or your child’s blood pressure and heart function regularly while taking this medication.

If your child is taking this drug, their doctor may check your child’s growth rate while they take this medication. This drug may temporarily slow a child’s growth rate.

Your diet

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

Availability

Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead to make sure your pharmacy carries it.

Prior authorization

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

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 here in 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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