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What Is Dextroamphetamine Sulfate?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated May 17, 2024
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Dextroamphetamine sulfate is a medication prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Along with other treatments, such as counseling and behavioral therapy, this drug is intended to alleviate symptoms like difficulty concentrating. A doctor may also prescribe it to patients suffering from narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. Dextroamphetamine sulfate is a type of stimulant that may help balance chemicals in the brain.

It is recommended that patients who take one dose daily do so in the morning to help prevent insomnia. Those who are prescribed additional doses will generally take them four to six hours apart. The capsules may be swallowed with or without food, but they should never be chewed or otherwise broken. Withdrawal effects may be experienced if patients abruptly discontinue the medication. These symptoms may include insomnia, unusual mood changes, and fatigue.

Patients taking dextroamphetamine sulfate should never take more than prescribed or take it for a longer period of time than recommended by the doctor. This drug has the potential to be habit-forming, so family or caregivers of patients should be alert to the possible development of drug-seeking behaviors. Sometimes, a doctor may recommend that an ADHD patient briefly discontinue the medication to observe how the patient behaves without it.

Dextroamphetamine sulfate may cause some side effects, which should be reported to the prescribing physician if they are bothersome or persistent. Patients may experience nausea, loss of appetite, and an upset stomach. Irritability, weight loss, and insomnia have also been reported, as well as nervousness, dizziness, and headaches.

Rarely, more serious side effects can occur, which require immediate medical care. Patients may experience hallucinations, abnormal thoughts, and mood swings. Uncontrolled muscle movements, chest pain, and shortness of breath have been reported, along with a rapid or irregular heartbeat and weakness on one side of the body. Seizures, fainting, and slurred speech are also possible. Some people may also experience pain in the left arm or jaw, unusual outbursts of words or sounds, or a decreased libido.

Before using dextroamphetamine sulfate, patients should discuss their other medical conditions with the prescribing physician. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use this ADHD drug. It is also contraindicated for use by people who have a heart or blood vessel disease, a history of seizures, or glaucoma. Those with a history of drug or alcohol abuse, hypertension, or Tourette's syndrome should avoid this medication.

Dextroamphetamine sulfate may not be combined with certain drugs, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), some antidepressants, and sedatives. Patients should disclose all their other medications and supplements before using it. Other drugs that may interact with dextroamphetamine sulfate can include recreational drugs, pseudoephedrine, and antacids, as well as the supplement vitamin C.

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