Adderall is one of the most well-known treatments for ADHD, but there are two versions—Adderall and Adderall XR—and they are not compatible. Both of these medications have the same active ingredients but are absorbed in the body differently and have different strengths and dosages.
Here’s everything you need to know to pick the version that is best for you.
What are Adderall and Adderall XR?
Both Adderall and Adderall XR are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by increasing the amount of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate attention and focus. Both are considered a first-choice treatment option for ADHD. In addition to treating ADHD, Adderall is also used to treat narcolepsy.
Adderall XR is the extended-release version of Adderall, which means the tablet dissolves slowly and the active ingredients are released in the body throughout the day. Adderall XR is taken only once a day, while Adderall may need to be taken multiple times a day.
Both Adderall come in affordable generic versions. The generic for Adderall is amphetamine salt combo, and the generic for Adderall XR is amphetamine salt combo XR.
Both of these medications contain amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and are classified as schedule II controlled substances, which mean they have a high potential to cause dependence and refills are not allowed. You will need to get a new prescription from your doctor if you finish the amount you have and need more.
How are Adderall and Adderall XR administered?
Adderall come in different forms and strengths. Because they dissolve in the body at different speeds, they are prescribed differently.
Forms and strengths
Both come in the following strengths:
Adderall: 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg tablets
Adderall XR: 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, 30 mg capsules
Adderall: Adderall tablets are usually taken two to three times a day. The first dose is usually taken when you first wake up in the morning, and any subsequent doses must be taken four to six hours apart.
Adderall XR: it is capsules should be taken only once-daily in the morning, as it can cause sleeplessness if taken later in the day. The capsules may be taken whole, or you can open them and sprinkle the contents on applesauce, which should then be eaten immediately.
Both can be taken with or without food.
Typical starting doses
Adderall: Starting doses will vary, but doctors typically start adults and children at 5 mg once or twice daily.
Adderall XR: Starting doses will vary, but doctors typically start adults at 20 mg once daily and children at 10 mg once daily.
Maximum recommended daily doses
Adderall: The maximum daily dose is 40 mg/day for adults and 30 mg/day for children.
Adderall XR: The maximum daily dose is 40 mg/day for adults and 30 mg/day for children.
What are common side effects of Adderall and Adderall XR?
Common side effects of both Adderall and Adderall XR include:
Inability to sleep
Changes in mood
Urinary tract infections
How much do Adderall and Adderall XR cost?
The generics for both are affordable. Amphetamine salt combo and amphetamine salt combo XR can cost as little as $30 per month.