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Adderall XR vs Adderall

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Adderall XR vs Adderall

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Navigating the wide variety of ADHD medications can be frustrating and confusing, especially when the medications are extremely similar. Adderall is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for reducing these symptoms and regulating brain function. Adderall XR is the same medication in extended-release form.

Use the comparison guide below to learn more about each medication, who should take them, the potential side effects of each one, and more.

If you think you have ADHD and want to see which of these medications is right for you, the certified and licensed specialists on Klarity can help. 

What is Adderall XR?

Adderall XR is a time-released formula that remains in the system longer than the standard Adderall. Adderall XR contains the ingredients amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and belongs to the stimulant class of drugs. Stimulant medications help those with ADHD more effectively pay attention, control behavioral issues, organize tasks, and listen by regulating the effects of neurotransmitters in the brain—specifically dopamine and norepinephrine. 

Adderall XR is a time-released formula that remains in the system longer than the standard Adderall.

Forms and Dosages

Adderall XR comes in 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, and 30 mg capsules. The slow dissolving capsules allow for a steady release of the active medications into the bloodstream. Adderall XR can be taken with or without food and should only be taken once daily as they last in your system for at least 12 hours.

When taking Adderall XR, you may swallow the capsule whole or break open the capsule and add it to applesauce. The recommended dose for adults is 20 mg. Children between 6 and 17 may begin with 5mg or 10mg per day and increase to 20 or 30mg if needed.

Conditions Treated

Adderall XR is primarily for the treatment of ADHD, although it has been used in some cases for those with sleeping disorders like narcolepsy.

Cost

Adderall XR comes in a generic form that’s much less expensive than the branded medication. However, without insurance, you may pay $180 or more for a one-month supply of generic Adderall XR. If you get the branded version, you’ll spend approximately $300. Contact your health insurance carrier to see whether your current plan partially or completely covers Adderall XR.

Side Effects

Common side effects of Adderall XR include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Low appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Racing pulse
  • Mood imbalance
  • Stomach pain

Less common side effects of Adderall XR include:

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

Warnings and Drug Interactions

Don’t crush or chew the capsule, as it’ll potentially cause you to experience a highly dangerous condition called serotonin syndrome. This condition occurs when the brain is flooded with serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in the body’s production of positive, “good” feelings. Serotonin syndrome can lead to heart attack and even death. 

Avoid suddenly stopping this medication as it can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Other things to avoid or speak to your healthcare provider about while taking this medication include:

  • MAOIs like procarbazine, metaxalone, etc. 
  • Medications that raise blood pressure 
  • SSRIs and SNRIs, 
  • Medications containing lisdexamfetamine as Adderall XR is very similar in chemical structure  

If you begin having chest pains or shortness of breath, stop this medication immediately and see a physician. 

What is Adderall?

Adderall, like Adderall XR, is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, two central nervous system stimulants. These stimulants affect neurotransmitters in the brain that control behaviors like hyperactivity and impulsivity. The standard form of Adderall is quick-acting, as opposed to the long-lasting formulation in Adderall XR.

Forms and Dosages

Adderall comes in tablet form and in the following dosages: 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg. The quick-acting formula—also called the immediate release (IR) formula—should be taken no more than twice a day with the last dose no later than 12:00 pm to avoid experiencing sleep loss.

Conditions Treated

The standard version of Adderall is used primarily to treat ADHD but also has applications with sleeping disorders like narcolepsy.

Cost

Both Adderall and Adderall XR come in a generic form that costs less than the branded version of the drug. Without insurance, you may pay around $240 for a one-month supply of Adderall. Under an insurance plan, you’ll likely pay no more than $30. Contact your insurance provider for accurate pricing. 

Side Effects

Adderall is a stimulant ADHD medication, and all stimulant medications come with potential side effects. If these side effects begin to bother you or you experience one of the rarer side effects, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

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

Rarer Adderall side effects include:

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

Warnings and Drug Interactions

There are a few drug interactions you should be wary of if taking Adderall. Speak to your ADHD healthcare provider if you are taking the following medications:

  • SSRI and SNRI drugs
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Acid reflux medication
  • Blood thinners
  • Cold or allergy medication
  • Opioid-based medications
  • Seizure medication

If you experience hives or other signs of an allergic reaction while taking Adderall, get emergency medical assistance immediately. Also, call a healthcare provider at once 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 and toes)
  • Seizures
  • Muscle twitches
  • Changes in vision

Do not immediately stop taking Adderall unless instructed by a medical professional. This medication is a controlled substance and can induce withdrawal symptoms.

Is Adderall XR or Adderall Better For Your ADHD?

Whether Adderall XR or Adderall is better for your ADHD depends on your daily needs and lifestyle. If you simply want to take medication once a day instead of twice, Adderall XR is for you. Adderall XR has a steadier effect throughout the day, lasting up to 12 hours.

If you’d rather have a more immediate release effect with your ADHD medication, then the standard Adderall formula will be better suited for you. Keep in mind that you’d have to take that version twice per day instead of once. Speak with an ADHD healthcare provider about which medication might fit better with your daily needs.

How Klarity Helps You Find the Best ADHD Medication

Klarity is an online platform that connects individuals with licensed, certified ADHD specialists. The medical professionals on Klarity can diagnose and provide ongoing treatment to help alleviate your most troublesome ADHD symptoms, if applicable. 

At Klarity, you can easily book an appointment with a certified and licensed medical provider in your state. Same-day online visits are also available so you can get treated without leaving home.

Take a free self-evaluation or make an appointment with an ADHD healthcare provider today!

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