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Adderall (Amphetamine Salt Combo) Basics, Side Effects & Reviews

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Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD that has been used safely for decades with pretty minor side effects. As a stimulant, it can cause difficulty sleeping and problems with dependence. This is the immediate release form and not to be confused with Adderall XR.
Common Brands
Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine)
Generic Status
Lower-cost generic available (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine)
Drug Class
central nervous system stimulants
Availability
Prescription only
Reviewed by
Dr Sophie Vergnaud, MBBS
Michelle Nguyen, PharmD
Last reviewed on
March 27, 2019

Adderall Pros and Cons

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Pros

First-choice medication to treat ADHD.
You can expect to feel the effects within the first hour after taking this medication.
Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) is used together with counseling or other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
Available as a cheaper generic medication.
Available in both immediate and extended release forms.

Cons

Must take in the morning or early afternoon, otherwise it can cause difficulty sleeping.
Not safe for people with a history of heart problems.
For school-aged children, a second dose will probably need to be given at school.
This drug can be habit-forming with long-term use.
If you have been taking this drug for many weeks, talk with your doctor before stopping.
This drug can affect growth in children and teens, so they will need regular growth checks.

What is the latest news about Adderall?

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High Blood Pressure a Hidden Side Effect of Popular Medications and Supplements?

June 3, 2019

Chronic high blood pressure is one of the most common medical ailments out there, affecting 46% of adults in the U.S. Having chronic high blood pressure for too long can cause you to develop hypertension, which is linked to heart attacks and more serious heart conditions. Unfortunately, many medications, supplements, and other substances can cause your blood pressure to go up, and if you’re using them for a long time, they could lead to hypertension. See More

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What are peoples' reviews of Adderall?

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We asked 1309 people what they think about Adderall...
3.9 / 5 average rating
Life-changing for someone with undiagnosed ADHD throughout childhood and into adulthood. I started taking it at 35 and I feel like a new person who isn't tired all the time. I still have to retrain my brain to focus properly and also balance the focus with avoiding unnecessary hyperfocus on peripheral issues. All in all, I can't imagine life without it now. Neither can my wife, who is a saint for putting up with me and my ADHD-related forgetfulness and other issues.- 36-year-old man
Gave me near constant diarrhea, zero appetite and made me lose 15 pounds in 2 months. When my dose was too high, it made me extremely irritable and paranoid. Taking it was the best and worst time of my life. Helped a lot with focusing on school work and made me super euphoric/manic.- 20-year-old woman
Give the medication time to work and settle into your body and mind. It took me 2 months before I was able to sleep nights. I noticed my attention and recall abilities were sharper, and my recall became easier. I still have a hard time with my ADHD. The medication works in making my fun time be fun time and work time be work time.- 60-year-old man
I am using Adderall for menopausal and age-related problems. I lost the ability to concentrate and would become overwhelmed easily. Taking this has addressed these issues as well as my reluctance to go out socially.- 40-year-old woman
It helped organize my thoughts so I could focus on one single thing at a time. My school grades were slipping until I started taking Adderall. Tried the XR version but I find taking 10mg of the normal release 3 times throughout the day more effective (more of a hassle though). I can sleep after an hour and a half of taking it, so very little "insomnia" for me.- 20-year-old man

What is Adderall for?

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How Adderall works

Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) is an amphetamine stimulant. Researchers don't know exactly how it works for ADHD, but it raises the activity of the hormones norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, which affects attention and behavior.

Adderall is used for

ADHD, Narcolepsy

Dosage forms

Typical dosing

When taken for ADHD by adults and children 6 and older, the typical starting dose of Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) is 5 mg once or twice daily.

Adderall images

Adderall 10mg Tablet
Amphetamine Salt Combo 5mg Tablet
Amphetamine Salt Combo 7.5mg Tablet
Amphetamine Salt Combo 10mg Tablet
Amphetamine Salt Combo 12.5mg Tablet
Amphetamine Salt Combo 15mg Tablet
Amphetamine Salt Combo 20mg Tablet
Amphetamine Salt Combo 30mg Tablet

How much does Adderall cost?

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Generic Adderall, amphetamine salt combo, will be significantly cheaper (82%) than the brand version. Unless there is a specific reason you need the brand version, you should purchase the generic version. Even better – use a GoodRx coupon and pay just a fraction of the cost.
Average Retail Price
Adderall (brand)
$509.06
Average Retail Price
amphetamine salt combo (generic)
$92.04
Lowest GoodRx Price
amphetamine salt combo (generic)
$28.84
Pricing based on most commonly-filled versions: 60 tablets of Adderall 20mg and 60 tablets of amphetamine salt combo 20mg

What are the side effects of Adderall?

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Aggression
Hair loss
Anger
Loss of appetite
Weight Loss
Changes in sex drive
Constipation
Depression
Skin picking disorder
Diarrhea
Dry mouth
Uncontrollable muscle movements
Feeling uneasy or unhappy
High blood pressure
Intense happiness
Headache
Severe allergic reactions
Difficulty sleeping
Erection difficulties
Irritability
Dilation of the pupils
Upset stomach
Racing heart
Abnormal behavior
Rash
Restlessness
Serious skin rashes
Racing heart beat
Shaking
Unpleasant taste
Hives
Physical dependence
Blurred vision
For more information, see: nih.gov

What are interactions and warnings for Adderall?

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Adderall Risks and Warnings

Adderall (amphetamine salt combo) can cause some serious health issues. This risk may be even higher for certain groups. If this worries you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about other options.

Serious or life-threatening cardiovascular events

Higher risk if:
  • History of heart problems
  • Misuse of Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine)
There is a risk of a heart attack, stroke, and sudden death for people taking Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine). Anyone with a history of heart problems shouldn't take it, and people should be screened for heart problems before starting it. Watch out for unexplained fainting or chest pain that is triggered with physical activity.

Dependence and misuse

Higher risk if:
  • History of drug misuse and abuse
  • Misuse of Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine)
Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) has a high risk of misuse and dependence. Take only what your doctor prescribes to minimize the risks of dependence and overdose. People with a history of drug misuse or abuse shouldn't take it.

Serotonin syndrome

Higher risk if:
  • Taking other medicines that affect serotonin levels, such as: Prozac, Lithium, Ultram, Imitrex, Remeron, Lexapro, Dilaudid, St. John's Wort
Serotonin syndrome is a rare, but potentially life-threatening condition where there's too much serotonin active in the brain. (Serotonin is one of the chemicals in your brain responsible for your mood.) Your risk goes up if you use Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) with other medications that also affect serotonin levels (antidepressants, lithium, triptans, St. John's wort). Symptoms of too much serotonin include fast heart rate, sweating, muscle stiffness or spasms, fever, and confusion. Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.

Aggressive behavior and psychosis

Higher risk if:
  • History of psychotic episodes
  • History of bipolar disorder
Taking a stimulant like Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) may bring on or worsen psychiatric symptoms such as hallucinations, delusional thinking, and mania. It may also bring on or worsen aggressive behavior or hostility. Talk to your doctor if these symptoms happen.

Effect on driving and concentration

Higher risk if:
  • Taking Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) with alcohol
  • Taking other medications that cause dizziness and/or drowsiness
Taking Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) can make you feel sleepy, and affect your concentration and focus. Avoid activities that require you to be alert, such as driving a car or operating machinery, until you know how Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) affects you.

Long-term growth suppression

Higher risk if:
  • Children aged 7 to 10
Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) can lower appetite and temporarily slow growth in both height and weight in children aged 7 to 10 years. Your doctor will monitor your child's growth during treatment.

What are alternatives to Adderall?

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There are a number of drugs that your doctor can prescribe in place of Adderall (Amphetamine Salt Combo). Compare the alternatives below to see if there’s a viable alternative for you.
Adderall
Amphetamine Salt Combo
Strattera
Atomoxetine
Ritalin
Methylphenidate
central nervous system stimulantsdrug classNRIsdrug classcentral nervous system stimulantsdrug class
1309reviews
94reviews
526reviews
Used for
  • ADHD
  • Narcolepsy
Used for
  • ADHD
Used for
  • ADHD
  • Narcolepsy
$28.84lowest GoodRx priceView Prices$69.20lowest GoodRx priceView Prices$25.19lowest GoodRx priceView Prices

Adderall Pharmacist Tips

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Take doses earlier in the day to avoid trouble sleeping.
Don't take Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) with alcohol or illicit drugs.
Risk of substance abuse is low if Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) is taken as prescribed.
Take with or without food.
Take doses at intervals of four to six hours.
Don't take antacids with this drug.
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