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Adderall vs Quillivant: What is the Difference?


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Some ADHD medications are so similar that deciding which one to try begins to feel like a guessing game. Since acclimating to a new medication takes several weeks, it could take time before you realize you’ve chosen incorrectly—and then you have to spend even more time tapering off the old medication and integrating a new one. This process can exacerbate coinciding conditions like anxiety and insomnia, which can make your other ADHD symptoms worse. 

Comparison guides like the one below are designed to make this decision easier by providing clear, concise information about each medication. Though Adderall and Quillivant are both stimulant-based ADHD medications, there are a handful of differences between them in terms of available forms, side effects, contraindications, and cost. These factors, along with the advice of a licensed medical professional, can help you determine which medication may be more effective for you. 

Whether you still need help choosing an ADHD medication, want an official diagnosis, or are interested in starting therapy, the licensed ADHD specialists on Klarity can help. Book an appointment today to begin receiving custom care.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is an ADHD medication composed of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, two central nervous system stimulants. These stimulants work to alter the behavior of neurotransmitters–e.g., dopamine and serotonin–in the brain. This results in less hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and lack of focus in ADHD patients who take the medication.

Forms and Dosages

The standard Adderall formula, also called the immediate-release formula (IR), comes in tablet form. Standard dosages for Adderall start at 5 mg and can increase to 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg. This form of Adderall should be taken no more than twice per day, with the last dose coming no later than 12 PM. 

Conditions Treated

Adderall is FDA-approved to be used in patients suffering from ADHD and some forms of sleeping disorders like narcolepsy.


Adderall comes in branded and generic forms, with the generic form being less expensive. Without insurance, you may be paying upwards of $8 per day for a one-month supply of Adderall. Under an insurance plan, you’ll likely pay no more than $30 per month for a supply of Adderall. 

Side Effects

Because Adderall is a stimulant, it does come with a few potential side effects that you should be aware of, especially if you are sensitive to stimulants. Side effects of Adderall include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Restlessness
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea, constipation, nausea
  • Headache
  • Weight loss
  • Mood changes
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness

The less common side effects of Adderall include but are not limited to:

  • Seizures
  • Eyesight instability
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

Warnings and Drug Interactions

There are several drug interactions you should be aware of before taking Adderall. For more detailed information, read the accompanying literature packaged with your medication or speak with a licensed physician who can explain further. 

Speak to your ADHD healthcare provider if you are taking or have taken the following medications in the past:

  • SSRI & SNRI drugs
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Acid reflux medication
  • Blood thinners
  • Cold or allergy medication
  • Opioids
  • Seizure medication

If you experience any signs of an allergic reaction (hives, itching, trouble breathing) seek emergency medical attention. Call a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Heart problems like chest pain, shortness of breath
  • Signs of psychosis-like hallucinations or paranoia
  • Circulatory problems (numbness, pain, cold fingers & toes)
  • Seizures
  • Muscle twitches
  • Changes in vision

Do not stop taking Adderall without speaking to your physician first. Adderall is a schedule II controlled substance and can induce withdrawal if stopped immediately. 

What is Quillivant?

Quillivant XR (active ingredient: methylphenidate hydrochloride) is a liquid stimulant ADHD medication used to treat ADHD in adults and children ages six and over. Quillivant XR helps improve focus and decreases impulsivity and hyperactivity by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain that control those behaviors. Quillivant XR contains the same medication as Ritalin.

Forms and Dosages

Quillivant XR is normally taken first thing in the morning with or without food and works for 12 hours after it first metabolizes. Shake the bottle well for 10 seconds and use the included syringe to measure out your dose. This medication is time-released and will maintain a steady level of medication in your system for a 12-hour period following ingestion. 

Starting doses of Quillivant XR begin at 20 mg once daily in the morning and can be adjusted in increments of 10 mg to 20 mg. Daily doses over 60 mg have not been studied and are not recommended. 

Conditions Treated

Quillivant XR is FDA-approved to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.


There are currently no generic forms of Quillivant on the market. Prices for individuals without health insurance are approximately between $400 and $450 for a one-month supply. For more information on your specific pricing under your current health insurance, contact your provider’s pharmacy department. 

Side Effects

Common side effects of Quillivant XR include but are not limited to:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Restlessness

Less common but more severe side effects include:

  • Seizures 
  • Priapism 
  • Eyesight changes 
  • Blurred vision

Warnings and Drug Interactions

Make sure your ADHD healthcare provider is aware of any cardiac abnormalities you may have. Individuals with cardiac abnormalities or a history of high blood pressure are more susceptible to experiencing heart issues when taking this medication. Stimulants can increase heart rate and blood pressure. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any chest pain, shortness of breath, or circulation issues.

Disclose to your healthcare provider any history of mental illness as Quillivant XR can exacerbate symptoms related to mental illness. Quillivant XR is a schedule II controlled substance and has a potential for abuse and addiction.  

How to Find an ADHD Doctor Online

ADHD doctors are hard to find, and when you do find one, you’ll have to wait a month or more to see them. With KlarityADHD, we take the hard work and wait off your task list, scheduling you for a telehealth consultation with a licensed and certified ADHD doctor within 48 hours.  

How Klarity Helps Find the Best ADHD Medication For Y

Klarity ADHD is the leading online ADHD diagnosis and treatment platform in the United States. We connect you with licensed ADHD specialists who can help you manage your ADHD symptoms with medication or therapy. 

Book your visit today, see your medical provider right away. No insurance is needed, the monthly cost starts from $25.

Start today, and discuss your symptoms with a specialist who can help.

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