Dextroamphetamine Vs Adderall

Dextroamphetamine vs Adderall is a comparison between the two most widely prescribed medicines used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder also known as (ADHD). These drugs may do the same work, have similar side effects, risks , interactions and warnings but there are difference in their dosage, ingredients, age and length of efficacy. Read on to understand more about dextroamphetamine and Adderall, how they work and which is better.


Dextroamphetamine, also known by the brand name Dexedrine is a stimulant and prescription drug used in treating conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This drug works in the Central Nervous System, it acts on the chemicals and nerves in the brain that are related to impulse control and hyperactivity, these chemicals are dopamine, norepinephrine and . According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), dextroamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II drug.

The major component of this drug is amphetamine, a substance that has been originally used to treat health conditions like depression, nasal congestion and alcohol hangover in the early 20th century (Center for Substance Abuse Research). This drug also has the potential of promoting focus, boosting mood and even energy as well, many people abuse it because of these effects.


Adderall is also a prescription and stimulant used in treating conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. This drug works on the Central Nervous System, it is a combination of two major components which are amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Adderall works in the brain to increase one’s ability to focus, concentrate and also impulse control. 

Adderall is classified under Schedule II drug as it has the potential of being abused, so it is only available by prescription (Drug Enforcement Administration). This drug is available in immediate-release and extended-release tablets.


Both dextroamphetamine and Adderall contains a synthetic form of compound amphetamine, this compound stimulates the central nervous system. It works on the neutrotransmitters in the brain, these neutrotransmitters are dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. 

Amphetamine has two forms which are dextro(d)-amphetamine and levo(l)-amphetamine. Of both forms, d-amphetamine has more effects (stronger). These two forms may have different make-up both they are very effective in treating ADHD since the 1970s.

Dextroamphetamine has the stronger form of acetaminophen (d-amphetamine) while Adderall has both forms but in a ratio of 3:1 mixture for immediate-release. The extended-release version of Adderall are made with equal measures of immediate-release and delayed-release d-amphetamine and l-amphetamine. 

There is also sustained-release formula (Dexedrine Spansule), containing time-release d-amphetamine for dextroamphetamine. Both the immediate-release of Dextroamphetamine and Adderall are applrved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in treating ADHD in children that are 3 years and above. However, the extended-release of both drugs are not to be used in children that are younger than 6 years.

Dextroamphetamine Vs Adderall
Dextroamphetamine Vs Adderall


Dextroamphetamine and Adderall comes in different forms although they are somehow similar. 

  • Dextroamphetamine comes in immediate-release and this is in tablets and solution form.
  • Adderall has immediate-release form that are available in tablet.
  • The extended-release of both Dextroamphetamine and Adderall come in capsule form.

Dosage of Dextroamphetamine

According got the guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), most doctor will prescribe 2.5 milligrams (mg) of Dextroamphetamine initially to treat ADHD in children from the age of 3 to 5, this can be increased by 2.5 mg each week if there is need to.

For children who are aged 6 and above, they should be given 5 mg one or two times a day. This dose can also be increased by 5 mg each week if there is need to. It is very rare for the daily dosage to exceed a total of 40 mg.

Dosage of Adderall

According to the suggestion from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), children from the age of 3 to 5 diagnosed with ADHD should take 2.5 mg of Adderall, this dose can be increased by 2.5 mg each week if required. Children from the age of 6 and above can start by taking 5 mg of Adderall once or twice a day. This dose can be increased by 5 mg each week if there is need to.

The similarity in the dose of these drugs is that you should take them first thing in the morning and again in the early afternoon (if the dose is twice a day). For the extended-release of Dextroamphetamine and Adderall, they should be once a day and usually as soon as you wake up. It is not advised to take stimulants late in the afternoon or evening as they can make it difficult for you to sleep.

Another similarity between Dextroamphetamine and Adderall is that they take about 30 minutes to 1 hour to become effective and 3 hours to reach their highest levels in the blood, extended-release versions last for around 7 and 8 hours. Their effectiveness can last for about 4 to 6 hours depending on the dose, the extended-release versions last for 11 to 12 hours also depending on the dose.


Dextroamphetamine can give you energy like Adderall and even more. Dextroamphetamine have stronger effects on the user than Adderall which is a mixture of amphetamine with dextroamphetamine. Some of the effects dextroamphetamine has on the body is that it makes the user feel energetic, more focused, positive and euphoric, the need for these effects have made dextroamphetamine a target for abuse by people.

Some athletes take this drug because of its psychological and athletic-enhancing effects like increased in endurance and alertness. When used by healthy people in normal doses, dextroamphetamine has shown to increase muscle strength, endurance, performance in athletes with anaerobic conditions. 

Apart from taking dextroamphetamine to become energized, some people abuse this drug in a bid to lose weight. Dextroamphetamine can cause weight loss, it does this by suppressing hunger and this can lead to weight loss.


One thing you should know is that both Dextroamphetamine and Adderall can cause weight loss. Having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can lead to weight gain, this is because you are unable to control your impulse and this leads to binge eating or overeating. This makes it difficult to control your weight, you easily put on weight.

These drugs have components that work on the brain and make you less hungry and make your body burn calories faster than usual. The neurotransmitter, dopamine suppresses appetite and cause you to eat lee thereby loosing weight. However, it is not advised to use Dextroamphetamine and Adderall for the purpose of losing weight if you do not have ADHD.


The side effects of Dextroamphetamine and Adderall are similar because they are made with same form.

The common side effects of these drugs are:

  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of interest in sex

Unusual or rare side effects of Dextroamphetamine and Adderall are:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Uncontrollable tics
  • Swelling 
  • Gives and tingling sensation
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Numb and cold fingers and toes
  • Bruises on the skin especially the toes and fingers
  • Loss of hair
  • Weakness 
  • Sore muscles
  • Dark red urine

If you experience any of the less common side effects, you should talk to your doctor. Also, if the common side effects last for long time, you should see your doctor.


There are some health risks associated with stimulants including Dextroamphetamine and Adderall.

Some of these risks are:

  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Circulation issues
  • Slowed growth and development especially in children
  • Problems with the blood vessels and heart
  • Changes in the behavior and thoughts
  • Nerves problems that may lead to seizures
  • Release of muscles tissues into the bloodstream, this can lead to kidney issues.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified both Dextroamphetamine and Adderall as Schedule II drugs because they are easy to abuse as both drugs can give a feeling of euphoria, energy and also reduce appetite. There are warnings on how to use these drugs to avoid having health complications.

Common warnings for this drugs are:

  • Avoid using them while taking alcohol
  • Stick to the prescriptions and recommendations
  • Do not share with anyone else or use without doctor’s prescription
  • Do not use Dextroamphetamine, Adderall nor any other stimulant while breastfeeding
  • After taking the drug, you should not take any substance that may contradict their effects. The substance can be antacids, multivitamins or citrus juice.

Some people with certain health conditions are not advised to use Dextroamphetamine and Adderall.

These health conditions are:

  • Heart problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Extremely high blood pressure
  • Pregnancy
  • Glaucoma
  • Seizures
  • Conditions that involve psychosis
  • Illnesses that cause anxiety and agitation


Dextroamphetamine and Adderall are both stimulants but they are very different from their composition, dosage and forms. Both drugs are also similar in some ways like their uses, side effects, risks and warning. In considering which drug is best, you can consider factors like age, length of efficacy, cost and side effects.

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