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Adderall is the brand name of a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults.
Adderall is a combination of two stimulant drugs, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.
Adderall XR is an extended-release form of the drug.
Doctors also prescribe Adderall (but not Adderall XR) to treat narcolepsy.
Adderall may help people with ADHD control their activities and increase their attention spans.
The drug may also prevent symptoms of narcolepsy, which include excessive sleepiness and sudden attacks of daytime sleepiness.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Adderall in 1960. The agency also has approved the combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine as a generic drug.
DSM Pharmaceuticals makes the brand-name drug, and many drug companies make a generic version.
Adderall belongs to a class of drugs called central nervous system stimulants. The drug works by increasing levels of the brain chemical dopamine, which stimulates the brain.
This stimulation has a calming and focusing effect on people with ADHD.
Adderall ‘High’ and Abuse
Use of Adderall has surged in recent years.
Research shows that the number of ADHD medications prescribed to children increased 45 percent from 2002 to 2010.
Of these drugs, Adderall was the second most-prescribed medication.
Sales of the drug jumped more than 3,000 percent from 2002 to 2006. In 2010 alone, the total number of Adderall prescriptions topped 18 million.
One reason for the surge in Adderall prescriptions is that increasing numbers of children and teenagers are getting an ADHD diagnosis.
However, doctors also prescribe the drug to children and adults who do not have ADHD.
This increased availability of Adderall has led to widespread abuse of the medication.
Because Adderall increases dopamine levels, it can trigger a feeling of euphoria among people who don’t have a medical reason to take it.
As a result, it has become a drug of choice among people trying to get “high,” who often crush and snort the pills or mix them water and inject them.
Because stimulants like Adderall increase alertness and attention, a growing number of people who do not have an ADHD diagnosis are using the drug to enhance their ability to think and focus.
This off-label use of Adderall is a growing trend, particularly among high school and college students who are trying to study for exams or boost their academic performance.
Stimulants like Adderall, sometimes called “smart pills,” are currently the second most common form of drug use on college campuses.
Despite the widespread belief that Adderall can improve a person’s ability to learn, the drug does not enhance thinking ability in people who do not have ADHD.
Young people who do not have ADHD but are taking Adderall to get better grades in school or gain an academic advantage are at risk for potentially deadly side effects.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Not recommended for children under 3 years of age. In children from 3 to 5 years of age, start with 2.5 mg daily; daily dosage may be raised in increments of 2.5 mg at weekly intervals until optimal response is obtained.
In children 6 years of age and older, start with 5 mg once or twice daily; daily dosage may be raised in increments of 5 mg at weekly intervals until optimal response is obtained. Only in rare cases will it be necessary to exceed a total of 40 mg per day. Give first dose on awakening; additional doses (1 or 2) at intervals of 4 to 6 hours.
Where possible, drug administration should be interrupted occasionally to determine if there is a recurrence of behavioral symptoms sufficient to require continued therapy.
Usual dose 5 mg to 60 mg per day in divided doses, depending on the individual patient response.
Narcolepsy seldom occurs in children under 12 years of age; however, when it does, dextroamphetamine sulfate may be used. The suggested initial dose for patients aged 6 to 12 is 5 mg daily; daily dose may be raised in increments of 5 mg at weekly intervals until optimal response is obtained. In patients 12 years of age and older, start with 10 mg daily; daily dosage may be raised in increments of 10 mg at weekly intervals until optimal response is obtained. If bothersome adverse reactions appear (e.g., insomnia or anorexia), dosage should be reduced. Give first dose on awakening; additional doses (1 or 2) at intervals of 4 to 6 hours.
Side effects :
Common side effects of Adderall include:
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