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What is Adderall®?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated May 17, 2024
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Adderall® is a brand name for a medication that is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is often prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall® may also be prescribed to treat narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder.

This medication works by affecting certain chemicals in the brain. It is a central nervous system stimulant. Adderall® also affects nerves that contribute to impulse control and hyperactivity. Patients with ADHD may find that this drug helps them maintain their focus, pay attention better, and manage behavioral issues.

Adderall® should be taken with a full glass of water, and it should not be crushed or broken before swallowing, as it is formulated to slowly release the medication over time. It is normally taken in the morning. People should avoid taking the drug less than six hours before bedtime, as it may cause problems with sleeping.

Patients should be aware of possible side effects with this medication. Adderall® has the potential to result in dizziness, headache, and impotence. It may also cause weight loss, diarrhea, and constipation. Some patients have also experienced a dry mouth and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

If more serious side effects are experienced, patients should stop taking the medication and call a doctor. These effects can include tremors, hallucinations, and unusual behavior, as well as muscle twitches. Other patients have experienced fast or uneven heartbeat, fainting, and lightheadedness. Symptoms of very high blood pressure due to this medication may include chest pain, seizures, and blurred vision, as well as a severe headache.

Certain people should not use Adderall®, due to other medical conditions. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take it. Patients with high blood pressure, a congenital heart defect, or a seizure disorder should not use this medication. Mental illness, a recent heart attack, and Tourette’s syndrome also preclude patients from taking this drug. Other conditions that could interact with it include glaucoma, severe anxiety, and an overactive thyroid, as well as a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

Patients who are considering using Adderall® should discuss all other medications and supplements with their doctors, as those substances may interact with this drug. These may include cold or allergy drugs, lithium, and diuretics. Blood pressure drugs, antidepressants, and sodium bicarbonate may also interact with this medication. In addition, patients should not consume fruit juices or vitamin C supplements at the same time as taking Adderall®, as they may interfere with absorption.

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