Adderall, or amphetamine-dextroamphetamine, was first marketed in the 1960s as a diet pill. It is currently classified as a stimulant medication and appetite suppressant and is used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Adderall XR (amphetamine-dextroamphetamine extended release) is a long-acting form of Adderall used for ADHD treatment. Weight loss is a common side effect of taking Adderall. In fact, losing weight may be one of the reasons why so many people abuse Adderall.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved Adderall as a weight loss medication. However, a healthcare provider may prescribe it for weight loss for a short period of time in certain situations. This is considered an “off-label” use. An off-label use means that a prescription medicine is used to treat a disease or condition other than what it has been approved to treat.
Adderall: Weight loss pill of the stars?
From crash diets to extreme workouts, it is no secret that the weight loss regimens of the stars and celebrities are not always healthy ones. According to a recent report in the New York Daily News, a number of female celebrities have used prescription Adderall as a weight loss supplement. Reports even suggest that some of these celebrities have resorted to crushing and snorting these pills as a way to deliver a quicker effect. And this is probably just the tip of the iceberg of Adderall abuse.
How Does Adderall Work?
Adderall is a stimulant. While stimulants (like caffeine) can cause hyperactivity, when used at the doses used to treat, Adderall has a calming effect. In general, Adderall is used at higher doses, where it has more of a stimulating effect, for the treatment of narcolepsy.
While the precise mechanism by which Adderall produces this calming effect is unknown, it has been established that it stimulates the central nervous system by increasing the levels of chemicals, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, in the brain. These chemicals, or neurotransmitters, help the brain send signals between nerve cells. Adderall helps restore the balance of these neurotransmitters in the parts of the brain that control the ability to focus and pay attention.
Side effects of Adderall
As with any prescription drug, there are side effects in taking Adderall. However, not everyone who takes Adderall will experience side effects. In fact, most users tolerate it well. When side effects do occur, they are often minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by a healthcare provider. Amphetamines like Adderall are often abused. Taking amphetamines for long periods of time can lead to dependence.
The most common side effects of Adderall include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- Abdominal pain
- Hot flashes
- Stomach pains
- Heavy sweating
- Involuntary movements
Headaches (including migraines) have been reported in up to 26% of adults taking Adderall XR (data for Adderall is not available). Headaches were not as common in children taking Adderall XR.
For people taking Adderall, depression is a reported side effect, although the specific frequency has not been determined. Depression has not been recorded as a common side effect in short-term studies of Adderall XR. However, about 1% of children stopped taking the medicine because of depression. At this time, it is difficult to say how common it is for people taking Adderall or Adderall XR to experience depression.
You should talk with your healthcare provider before taking Adderall or Adderall XR if you have:
- Heart problems of any kind
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Mental illness, including bipolar disorder and psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder)
- Tourette syndrome
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
- Glaucoma (a condition of the eye)
- Any allergies
- Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
- Are breastfeeding
- Drink alcohol regularly
Symptoms of Adderall overdose
Taking too much of Adderall or Adderall XR could lead to symptoms that could include:
- Hyperactivity (trouble sitting still)
- Fast breathing
- Muscle pains
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not really there).
If you happen to overdose, seek medical attention immediately.
Recommended doses of Adderall
Adderall is manufactured as a tablet. It is usually taken by mouth twice daily, although some people (especially those using it for narcolepsy) will need to take it more often. Adderall can be taken with or without food.
The dosage recommended by healthcare providers will vary depending on a number of factors, including: age, health status, additional medications being taken.
Adderall Dosage for ADHD
For children aged three to five, Adderall should be started at a dose of 2.5 mg daily. This dose may be increased by 2.5 mg daily every week if need be. For children aged six and older, Adderall should be started at a dose of 5 mg once or twice a day. The dose may be increased by 5 mg every week if needed. In general, the dosage of Adderall should not exceed 40 mg per day total. The first dose of the day should be taken early in the morning. If taking Adderall 2 or 3 times a day, the next doses should be given after 4 to 6 hours.
Adderall Dosage for Narcolepsy
Adderall can be taken with or without food. The dosage of Adderall for adults with narcolepsy is usually ranges from 5 mg to 60 mg per day (divided up into 2 or 3 doses). The starting dose of Adderall for narcolepsy in children (aged 6 to 12) is 5 mg daily (this dose may be increased by 5 mg per week if necessary). For people aged 12 and older, the starting dose of Adderall for narcolepsy is 10 mg daily (increased by 10 mg per week if needed).The first dose of Adderall for the day should be taken in the morning, first thing after waking up.
If unsure about anything related to Adderall or your Adderall dosage, consult a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. Do not stop taking Adderall without first discussing it with your healthcare provider.
Adderall drug interactions
Adderall can potentially interact with many drugs. Some of the drugs that may lead to Adderall interactions include:
- Acetazolamide (Diamox®)
- Amitriptyline (Elavil®)
- Ammonium chloride
- Certain antacids, such as sodium bicarbonate or calcium carbonate (Tums®)
- Certain sleep medications, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl®, Tylenol PM®)
- Chlorpromazine (Thorazine®)
- Clomipramine (Anafranil®)
- Desipramine (Norpramin®)
- Doxepin (Sinequan®)
- Ethosuximide (Zarontin®)
- Haloperidol (Haldol®)
- Imipramine (Tofranil®)
- Isocarboxazid (Marplan®)
- Lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®, Lithonate®)
- Medications for high blood pressure
- Meperidine (Demerol®)
- Methenamine (Hiprex®, Urex®)
- Norepinephrine (Levophed®)
- Nortriptyline (Pamelor®)
- Phenobarbital (Luminal®)
- Phenytoin (Dilantin®)
- Propoxyphene (Da rvocet®, Darvon®)
- Protriptyline (Vivactil®)
- Selegiline (Eldepryl®, Emsam®, Zelapar®)
Several herbal and nutritional supplements can also interact with Adderall. Examples of these include, but are not limited to:
- Ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
- Glutamic acid
This list of Adderall drug interaction is not fully comprehensive. Therefore, it is advisable to talk to healthcare provider if taking another drug or compound in combination with Adderall.
Getting Adderall without a prescription?
Should you get Adderall to get you through a short period of time when you to lose a little extra weight? Should you take this drug without a prescription, even if you follow all the directions and do not take more than you should? The answer to these questions is no. Not only is it illegal to use this Adderall without a prescription, but it can also be dangerous. Just because Adderall is a prescription medication, it does not mean that it is safe for everyone. There are many people who should not take Adderall for various medical reasons, and Adderall should always be used under a healthcare provider’s supervision.
Adderall is a stimulant that can easily be abused. In addition to achieving weight loss, Adderall is frequently taken as a study drug because of its ability to enhance concentration and focus for long periods of time.
Many users mistakenly think that snorting or injecting Adderall is safe because it is a prescription drug. They take it in very high doses, much higher than normally prescribed. But even people who snort or inject normal doses of Adderall are putting themselves at higher risk, because snorting or injecting drugs permits direct entry into the bloodstream, making the drug more potent and dangerous.
Snorting Adderall effectively fast tracks it to the brain. The resulting blood pressure increase could cause serious heart rhythm problems. A stroke or an arrhythmia is also possible. Combining Adderall with alcohol further increases the risk of developing cardiovascular problems.
Adderall and pregnancy
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) utilizes a pregnancy category system to quantify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category C is given to medicines that have not been studied in pregnant humans, but do appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies. Additionally, medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a Pregnancy Category C rating.
Adderall was given a pregnancy Category C rating because it was shown to cause birth defects and miscarriages in mice. Other studies in rodents have demonstrated that when Adderall was administered during pregnancy it caused problems with brain chemicals. This resulted in long-term learning and memory problems.
Who manufactures Adderall?
Shire Pharmaceuticals marketed Adderall in 1996 in the form of a multi-dose, instant-release tablet. It is the same drug that they had previously called Obetrol and sold as a weight loss management product. In 2006, Shire sold the rights to the Adderall name to Duramed Pharmaceuticals, and this instant-release medication has subsequently become available in a generic formulation. In 2001, Shire Pharmaceuticals introduced an extended-release preparation of the drug in a variety of dosages under the brand name “Adderall XR”. Adderall XR has become available in a generic form. In 2009, Barr Pharmaceuticals and Shire reached a settlement agreement permitting Barr to offer a generic form of the drug beginning April 1, 2009.