What is Adderall?
Adderall is the brand name for amphetamine mixed salts, also called amphetamine salts, amphetamine and amphetamine salt combo. This drug is used to treat attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. ADHD is a psychiatric disorder that creates inattentiveness, hyperactivity and a disruptive behavior, among other traits. Narcolepsy is a brain disorder where sleep-wake cycles aren’t regulated correctly.
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The ingredients that make Adderall work are dextroamphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine sulfate and amphetamine asparate, all of which are psychostimulants. Inert ingredients in Adderall include magnesium stearate, colloidal silicon dioxide, microcrystalline cellulose and lactitol. Usually, a 5 milligram tablet of Adderall is white, a 7.5 and 10 milligram tablet is blue, and the 12.5, 15, 20 and 30 milligram tablets are yellow. Adderall should be stored at a normal room temperature of 68° to 77°F (20° to 25°C).
Adderall is available in immediate release, usually associated with the initials IR on the name; and extended release versions, usually with the initials XR added to the brand name. Adderall IR is prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy medical cases. Adderall XR is approved for only ADHD situations and is usually taken in morning hours.
How Does Adderall Work?
The amphetamine salts in Adderall arouse the brain to make dopamine and norepinephrine, which are hormones that alter a person’s behavior and attention. Not only is the brain stimulated to produce these hormones, but Adderall also stops them from getting quickly absorbed into the body. The retention of the hormones contributes to alertness and concentration, both traits that are sometimes missing with people suffering from ADHD.
Another symptom of ADHD patients is a nervous system that operates faster than normal. Adderall slows nervous system functions down in people suffering from ADHD. Anyone without ADHS has the opposite reaction from taking Adderall, which can result in dangerous consequences.
When used to treat narcolepsy, Adderall increases the energy level and allows a person with narcolepsy to stay awake during the day. Adderall is not the drug of choice for any other type of sleep disorder and it shouldn’t be used to hold off sleepiness for patients who don’t suffer from narcolepsy.
Effectiveness of Adderall
When compared to another ADHD medication, Ritalin, Adderall has less of a drop-off effect, which means that there are fewer side effects with some ADHD patients. When a patient has some medical conditions that elicit caution (see Precautions Using Adderall below), such as high blood pressure, a history of abusing drugs or a bipolar disorder, a medication other than Adderall is recommended.
ADHD patients who take Adderall notice a higher level of being able to pay attention, along with a decrease in impulsiveness and a drop in hyperactivity. Usually Adderall consumption is part of a total plan of treatment for ADHD, which includes counseling therapy. Extended usage of Adderall can result in its ineffectiveness. A physician should be consulted if Adderall is no longer effective.
According to an Oct. 5, 2009 paper entitled “ADHD and Adderall: Effects on the Heart and Personality?” by Ted Gargano of the Psychology Department of Vanderbilt University, 509 people were studied on the effectiveness of Adderall at treating ADHD in 2002, resulting in the finding that it was indeed effective and that no “spontaneously reported” side effects were noted. Gargano referenced studies that show Adderall contributes to an antisocial behavior and therefore, changes an individual’s personality while taking the drug. In conclusion, Gargano recommends to anyone being prescribed Adderall to be aware of its side effects (see Adderall Side Effects below) and gain as much education related to the drug before deciding whether to take it or to try a different medication. Adderall is not recommended for children under age three.
Adderall is often extremely effective at treating narcolepsy. Again, as is the case with ADHD patients, whether Adderall is used often depends on whether a patient exhibits medical traits that are detrimental when using Adderall (see Precautions Using Adderall below).