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What is Adderall?

Adderall (amphetamine / dextroamphetamine) is a prescription medication that comes in multiple forms. It is a central nervous system CNS stimulant and it is generally prescribed as a treatment option for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There are two main forms of Adderall, which are Adderall and Adderall XR. The prescription a person will get from their doctor will vary depending on a multitude of factors.

Both Adderall and Adderall XR have the same active ingredients and they both work in a very similar way. However, they differ in how they are formulated and have differences in onset and duration for their action and effect. That being said, it is important to understand these differences to choose the best option in regards to ADHD treatment.

What are the main differences between Adderall and Adderall XR?

The main difference between Adderall (sometimes referred to as Adderall IR) and Adderall XR is that Adderall is an immediate release (IR) drug and Adderall XR is an extended release (XR) drug. The active ingredients in both forms of Adderall are d- amphetamine and l- amphetamine. These ingredients in Adderall XR are released more slowly over the duration of action when compared to Adderall.

Adderall can be taken multiple times per day, while Adderall XR usually only needs to be taken once per day since it lasts longer. The effects of Adderall do not last as long as Adderall XR which has a more prolonged effect throughout a period of time. The effects of Adderall last for around four to six hours while those of Adderall XR can last around ten to twelve hours.

It takes roughly four hours for Adderall and roughly seven hours for Adderall XR to reach their maximum ingredient levels in the blood. For these reasons, the effects of Adderall are generally felt more quickly than with Adderall XR which takes much longer to reach peak levels in the bloodstream.

Another main difference between Adderall and Adderall XR is that Adderall comes as an oral tablet while Adderall XR comes as an oral capsule. The way in which they are administered are both orally, but one is a pressed tablet and the other is a capsule with the salts contained inside. Furthermore, there are also varying dosages that are available for each of the drugs. Adderall is available in strengths of 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg. Adderall XR is available in strengths of 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, and 30 mg.

Which conditions are treated by Adderall and Adderall XR?

Adderall and Adderall XR are both FDA-approved to treat ADHD. ADHD is a chronic mental disorder that can affect both children, and adults. ADHD has common symptoms which include the ability to not pay attention, being impulsive, and restlessness. Central nervous system stimulants like Adderall can help balance the chemicals in the brain to improve focus and help those with ADHD manage some of their negative symptoms.

Adderall is also approved to treat narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes high levels of drowsiness during the day, and the urge to fall asleep for no apparent reason. It is difficult for people with narcolepsy to maintain their daily lives and participate in society in many ways. It is highly dangerous for people with narcolepsy to operate heavy machinery or even drive as they can have a sudden attack of sleepiness and injure themselves or others.  Adderall XR is considered off label when it comes to narcolepsy and is not usually prescribed for this purpose. But Adderall XR can still help remedy these symptoms and address some of the concerns that come with narcolepsy.

Depression and anxiety are also some conditions that can be treated with Adderall and Adderall XR off label. Many adults that suffer from ADHD also have another condition like depression and anxiety, so they may see improvements in their day-to-day life with the use of central nervous system stimulants like Adderall and Adderall XR. As a result, a stimulant such as these would generally be used in combination with an antidepressant to help address the anxiety and depression while also providing the focus and energy needed for those with ADHD.

Is Adderall or Adderall XR more effective?

Adderall and Adderall XR both have the exact same active ingredients that are used to help treat symptoms of ADHD. The treatment options for ADHD are specific for a particular person. This can depend on age, gender, severity of symptoms, as well as other variables that doctors use to decide what is best for the person in question.

Since Adderall needs to be taken multiple times throughout the day generally, if a dose is missed, there could be a lapse in the effectiveness of the treatment. This gives Adderall XR the advantage since it only needs to be taken once at the beginning of the day and will last until it is time to sleep at night. People often forget to take their medication, so Adderall XR avoids these issues with relation to Adderall instant release formula.

For individuals that need shorter lasting doses of central nervous system stimulants who would potentially have a difficult time sleeping at night, Adderall instant release would be a preferred option. Adderall XR has such a long duration of action that if it is taken too close to when someone would want to sleep, they may not be able to get the desired rest and would instead be unable to sleep and have a productive day on the following morning.

Since Adderall XR has a slower onset of action, it may be a better option for people with heart disease or issues controlling their blood pressure. Adderall and Adderall XR both increase the blood pressure and heart rate, so care should be taken for those with certain heart conditions. However, if given the choice between the two for someone with blood pressure problems, Adderall XR would be a safer choice.

The decision for prescribing Adderall or Adderall XR for a doctor depends on your general condition and symptoms. The dosing for both drugs is very dependent on the individual and often needs to be adjusted as time passes, and the potential for tolerance for the drug takes into effect.

AuraMD’s highest priority is your mental and behavioral well-being. In fact, an investment in your mental and behavioral health and well-being is as important as treating any other health condition in your body. Contact us or call us today for more information.

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