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Dexedrine vs. Adderall: Comparison

Dexedrine is a psychostimulant drug primarily used to treat severe cases of ADHD and narcolepsy.  The active ingredient in Dexedrine is “dextroamphetamine” which is regarded as the “right-handed” stereoisomer of the molecule amphetamine.  Dextroamphetamine is considered a popular military stimulant, and has been utilized throughout history such as in World War II to offset fatigue and to help troops stay up for nighttime missions.

Amedra Pharmaceuticals began marketing Dexedrine for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in 1982 as a potent stimulant for those who didn’t respond well to methylphenidate.  Years later (1996), the FDA approved a drug comprised of mixed amphetamine salts called Adderall.  Adderall differed from Dexedrine in that its formulation was 75% dextroamphetamine and 25% levoamphetamine or a mixture of amphetamine salts.

Adderall and Dexedrine are considered similar drugs due to the fact that they are both comprised of amphetamine stereoisomers.  However, Dexedrine can be considered to be a more potent stimulant than Adderall due to the fact that it contains 100% dextroamphetamine whereas Adderall only contains 75%.  Dextroamphetamine elicits nearly three-fold more CNS stimulation than levoamphetamine.

Dexedrine vs. Adderall Comparison Chart

As you can determine from the chart below, Dexedrine and Adderall are relatively similar drugs.  Dexedrine is comprised fully of dextroamphetamine, the right-handed (dextrorotatory) stereoisomer of amphetamine.  Adderall is comprised of 3/4 dextroamphetamine and 1/4 levoamphetamine (the left-handed stereoisomer).

Drug typePsychostimulantPsychostimulant
Approved usesADHD. Narcolepsy.ADHD. Narcolepsy.
IngredientsDextroamphetamineMixed Amphetamine Salts (~75% Dextroamphetamine & ~25% Levoamphetamine)
FormatsSpansule (Sustained-release capsule)IR (Immediate release) or XR (Extended release)
Dosages5 mg/10 mg/15 mgIR: 5 mg/7.5 mg/10 mg/12.5 mg/15 mg/20 mg/30 mg

XR: 5 mg/10 mg/15 mg/20 mg/25 mg/30 mg
ManufacturerAmedra PharmaceuticalsShire Pharmaceuticals
Legal statusSchedule II (US)Schedule II (US)
Mechanism of actionFunctions by increasing levels and inhibiting reuptake of stimulatory neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine.

Acts as a TAAR1 agonist and VMAT2 inhibitor.
Functions by increasing levels and inhibiting reuptake of stimulatory neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine.

Acts as a TAAR1 agonist and VMAT2 inhibitor.
Generic version (?)Yes.Yes.
Half-Life12 hours11 to 13 hours
Common side effectsAppetite loss. Diarrhea. Dizziness. Dry mouth. Headache. Insomnia. Irritability. Nausea. Nervousness. Restlessness. Stomach aches. Sweating. Weight loss.Abdominal pain. Appetite loss. Diarrhea. Dizziness. Dry Mouth. Fever. Headache. Insomnia. Irritability. Nausea. Nervousness. Vomiting. Weight loss.
Duration of effect8 to 10 hoursIR: 4 to 6 hours

XR: ~12 hours
Investigational usesNasal congestion. Obesity. Treatment-resistant depression.Treatment-resistant depression (Read:Adderall for depression).
Date approved1982IR: 1996 (February)

XR: 2001

Dexedrine vs. Adderall: What’s the difference?

There are a couple of notable differences between Dexedrine and Adderall.  First, Dexedrine is only available in “Spansule” format (sustained-release capsules).  Adderall is available in multiple formats including both IR (immediate-release) and XR (extended-release).  Dexedrine was formerly available as an immediate-release tablet, but it has been discontinued from production.

The drug Dexedrine hit the market over a decade before Adderall and was commonly utilized by the military for missions demanding vigilance.  Like Dexedrine, the drug Adderall is comprised of mostly dextroamphetamine (75%), but differs in that its formulation also incorporates 25% levoamphetamine.  Both dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine are considered effective for treating attentional deficits.

That said, levoamphetamine is regarded as eliciting effect on cardiovascular and peripheral functioning than dextroamphetamine.  This means that Adderall is more likely to affect your cardiovascular functioning than Dexedrine.  Furthermore, Dexedrine is believed to produce a slightly greater degree of CNS stimulation due to the fact that it solely contains dextroamphetamine; regarded as being more stimulatory than levoamphetamine.

Abuse Potential

Both Dexedrine and Adderall are regarded as having a high potential for abuse.  Due to their high potential for abuse, they are classified as “Schedule II” controlled-substances in the United States.  Schedule II classification indicates that they may be habit-forming, abused, and that users may be susceptible to psychological (or physical) dependence.

Some would argue that since Dexedrine is no longer sold in immediate-release format, that it may have less potential for abuse than Adderall, which is manufactured in both immediate-release and extended-release format.  Many people resort to snorting Adderall (usually the immediate-release), whereas insufflation remains more difficult with the extended-release versions (the only format of Dexedrine).  That said, the 100% dextroamphetamine within Dexedrine is believed to produce a greater stimulatory effect than the 75% dextroamphetamine within Adderall.

In any regard, both substances are capable of inducing a dopaminergic euphoria when taken in supratherapeutic doses.  Users may become hooked on this stimulatory euphoria and seek out more of the drug, possibly ingesting increasingly larger doses with each successive usage as a result of tolerance.  The abuse of Dexedrine and Adderall is highly appealing to individuals: seeking a mood boost, trying to lose weight, enhance academic performance, or increase productivity.

Since Adderall is the more popular drug of the two, most people have an easier time obtaining it compared to Dexedrine.  That said, they are each drugs comprised of amphetamine stereoisomers and are considered extremely potent.  Abuse of either drug may lead to abnormally high dopamine, which triggers stimulant psychosis.  Each drug is only to be used as medically recommended for ADHD or narcolepsy.

Cost: Which is more expensive?

If you’re planning on getting the “name brand” format of either Dexedrine Spansules or Adderall, you will end up paying a significant amount of money for a 30 day supply.  For the cost of “name brand” Dexedrine Spansules, the cost will be within the range of $350 to $365 for a 30 day supply.  If you want to attain brand name Adderall IR (immediate-release), it’ll cost within the range of $150 and $170 for 30 tablets; if you need double the tablets, you’re looking at a cost of over $300 for a one-month supply.

Brand name Adderall XR (extended-release) is sold for over $220 at most pharmacies for a 30 day supply.  Both Adderall IR and XR are cheaper than Dexedrine Spansules, making them the favorable option in terms of price.  Fortunately, both Adderall and Dexedrine Spansules are available in reasonably-priced generic formats.

Generic Dexedrine Spansules (dextroamphetamine ER) cost $50 to $150 for a 30 day supply; prices are subject to variation based on the dosage – the higher the dose, the higher the cost.  Adderall IR as a generic (mixed amphetamine salts) tend to cost between $25 and $40 for a one-month supply.  Adderall XR (amphetamine salt combo XR) usually cost between $75 and $150 for a 30 day supply.

Comparison of the cost for generics would indicate that Adderall IR is the cheapest option, followed by Dexedrine Spansules and Adderall XR.  For “brand name” options, Dexedrine Spansules may put a minor dent in your bank account.

Dosage & Formats

Adderall is manufactured in multiple formats including: “IR” (immediate-release) and “XR” (extended-release).  Dexedrine is only manufactured in the form of sustained-release capsules called “Spansules.”  The dosing options for Adderall are noticeably favorable over those available for Dexedrine.

The immediate-release version of Adderall is available at dosages of 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg.  The dosing options for the extended-release Adderall are as follows: 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, and 30 mg.  Dexedrine is only sold under 3 dosing options that include: 5 mg, 10 mg, and 15 mg.

Due to the fact that Dexedrine is regarded as a slightly more potent drug, stimulant equivalency charts indicate that nearly 7.5 mg of a Dexedrine Spansule is equivalent to 10 mg of Adderall XR.  Multiple formats of Adderall including: IR – which last 4 to 6 hours and XR – which last 12 hours may be preferred over Dexedrine which is thought to last between 8 and 10 hours.

Those attempting to titrate their dosage upwards or downwards with either drug will have a much tougher time with Dexedrine than they will with Adderall.  Adderall is manufactured in smaller increments to make the titration process easier.  While one could theoretically “count beads” with Dexedrine, this is impractical and not usually advised – making Adderall the superior option in both dosing and format options.

Efficacy: Which drug is more effective?

In terms of efficacy, both Dexedrine and Adderall were found to be significantly superior to a placebo in double-blind, randomized trials for both ADHD and narcolepsy.  Differences in efficacy are likely subject to subjective interpretation and individual physiology.  Dexedrine is the slightly more potent drug due to the fact that it contains 100% dextroamphetamine, whereas Adderall contains only 75%.

Some stimulant equivalency charts suggest that 7.5 mg of a Dexedrine Spansule is equal to 10 mg of an Adderall XR.  This would suggest that Adderall may be nearly 25% less potent than Dexedrine.  This interpretation is based on the fact that dextroamphetamine elicits nearly three to four-fold the CNS stimulation than levoamphetamine and is a more potent TAAR1 agonist.

If we’re comparing the 25% of the Adderall that is levoamphetamine, and it’s eliciting 3-4 less stimulation of the CNS and TAAR1 agonism, this accounts for the reduction in comparative potency.  That said, potency does not always indicate efficacy – some individuals may find that Dexedrine is too potent, whereas Adderall is just potent enough to help their ADHD.

Due to the fact that Dexedrine and Adderall are extremely similar drugs, any differences in efficacy are likely a result of individual reactions to dextroamphetamine compared to a combination of dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine.  Some people may derive benefit from the levoamphetamine that they don’t get from the dextroamphetamine, while others may find the levoamphetamine to be problematic.

Mechanisms of action

The mechanisms of action for Dexedrine and Adderall are extremely similar due to the fact that they are both comprised of stereoisomers of the amphetamine molecule.  Approximately 75% of Adderall consists of dextroamphetamine, the active ingredient in Dexedrine.  The remaining 25% of Adderall consists of levoamphetamine, the levorotatory stereoisomer of amphetamine which elicits slightly different effects dextroamphetamine.

Both Dexedrine and Adderall act as dopamine reuptake inhibitors (DRIs) and also inhibit reuptake of norepinephrine.  The reuptake inhibition increases extracellular levels of these stimulatory neurotransmitters, which increases cognitive function and arousal.  In addition to inhibiting reuptake of various catecholamines, both drugs stimulate presynaptic release of dopamine and norepinephrine from presynaptic neurons.

Subtle differences in the mechanisms of action are a result of levoamphetamine within Adderall.  Levoamphetamine is known to trigger more cardiovascular effects, whereas dextroamphetamine is known to increase CNS stimulation to a greater extent (nearly 3 to 4 times) and act as a more potent TAAR1 agonist.  Adderall XR is comprised of 50% immediate-release beads and 50% delayed-release beads; Dexedrine Spansules are thought to be similar.

  • Source: http://jad.sagepub.com/content/3/4/200.refs
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22037049
  • Source: http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=374&sectionid=41266218&jumpsectionID=41268855

Medical Uses

Due to the similar ingredient composition of these drugs, the approved medical uses are nearly identical.  Dexedrine Spansules have been approved for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy, and Adderall is approved to treat the same conditions.  They are commonly prescribed off-label as antidepressant augmentation strategies, with most doctors prescribing Adderall due to its increased popularity.

Historically, Dexedrine was investigated for the treatment of nasal congestion, and obesity.  Adderall has been studied as a drug to improve cognitive rehabilitation among stroke patients.  Ingredient composition would suggest that the drugs would likely elicit very similar effects for approved conditions, off-label conditions, and investigational purposes.


Dexedrine was a popular drug before Adderall hit the market, but Adderall has surpassed nearly every ADHD medication as the undisputed favorite.  Data reveals that Dexedrine no longer holds a significant portion of the market-share, even as a generic.  Doctors are reluctant to prescribe Dexedrine, and generally prefer Adderall or Vyvanse.

As of 2013, nearly 38% of all psychostimulant medication prescriptions were for Adderall or its generic variation (mixed amphetamine salts).  Dexedrine has been largely replaced by the drug Vyvanse, which is a prodrug that gets metabolized into l-lysine and dextroamphetamine.  Doctors prefer Vyvanse over Dexedrine for its dextroamphetamine due to the fact that it has lower potential for abuse and is notably less potent.

While many people have heard of Dexedrine, it is no longer manufactured in the format of immediate-release tablets, which further reduced its popularity.  These days, prescriptions for Dexedrine are seldom written due to most doctors favoring newer, less potent options.  To attain a prescription, a person would likely need to respond poorly to several newer “first-line” options.

Side Effects

The respective side effects for Dexedrine and Adderall are nearly identical.  This has to do with the fact that a majority of Adderall is comprised of dextroamphetamine (75%) and Dexedrine is fully-comprised of dextroamphetamine (100%).  Common side effects associated with both medications include: appetite loss, dizziness, dry mouth, headache, insomnia, nervousness, stomach aches, and weight loss.

There may be slight variations in side effects due to the increased dextroamphetamine content in Dexedrine and the presence of levoamphetamine in Adderall.  Levoamphetamine is believed to trigger slightly more cardiovascular and peripheral effects such as increased  blood pressure and/or heart rate.  This means that those taking Adderall may notice changes in cardiovascular function slightly more than those taking Dexedrine.

Individuals taking Dexedrine may feel slightly more stimulated at an equal dose due to the fact that there’s no levoamphetamine.  The lack of levoamphetamine is also thought to result in a “cleaner focus” (with less jitters) in certain individuals by comparison.  Overall there is not a significant difference in side effects between these psychostimulants.


Those attempting discontinuation from either Dexedrine or Adderall usually have a difficult time dealing with symptoms.  Symptoms associated with discontinuation of both medications include: fatigue, psychomotor slowing, cognitive impairment, sleepiness, and a resurgence of ADHD symptoms.  In fact, the resurgence of attentional deficits may be more severe than prior to an individual taking either drug.

It is well documented that Dexedrine withdrawal and Adderall withdrawal can be protracted in that it lasts for months (or years) before full, homeostatic recovery is established.  This is due to the fact that using these drugs frequently, at high doses, and/or over a long-term mines the brain of dopamine and downregulates dopamine receptors.  When either drug is discontinued, the person is left with low dopamine and feels less pleasure, motivation, and focus.

It takes time and abstinence before the brain is able to replenish receptors and increase dopamine levels following Dexedrine or Adderall usage.  Due to the fact that there are less dosing increments associated with Dexedrine, and it is generally considered more potent than Adderall, it may be tougher to discontinue.  Those taking Adderall should have an easier time titrating their dosage downwards prior to complete discontinuation.

Similarities (Recap): Dexedrine vs. Adderall

Below is a synopsis of the commonalities between Dexedrine and Adderall.

  • Abuse potential: Both Dexedrine and Adderall are considered to have a high potential for abuse.
  • Drug type: These drugs are classified as psychostimulants, and function by increasing CNS stimulation.
  • Efficacy: Both drugs are clinically effective for ADHD and narcolepsy; there is no evidence to suggest superior efficacy for one over the other.
  • Generic availability: Dexedrine Spansules are available as generics under “dextroamphetamine ER” and Adderall is sold generically as “mixed amphetamine salts.”
  • Half-life: The estimated elimination half-life of Dexedrine is 12 hours, while that of Adderall is estimated to range between 11 and 13 hours.
  • Legal status: The U.S. legal system has classified Dexedrine and Adderall as “Schedule II” controlled-substances. They are legal to possess and use when prescribed to treat a medical condition, but are illegal if used outside medical constraints.
  • Mechanisms of action: Each of these drugs inhibits reuptake of stimulatory neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. They also elicit further presynaptic activity, stimulating increased release of these neurotransmitters.
  • Medical uses: Medically, Dexedrine and Adderall can be used to treat ADHD and/or narcolepsy.
  • Side effects: The side effect profiles of these drugs is nearly identical, with subtle differences as a result of the presence of levoamphetamine in Adderall.
  • Withdrawal: Discontinuation of either psychostimulant is a difficult endeavor, characterized by severe fatigue, psychomotor slowing, and sleepiness.

Differences (Recap): Dexedrine vs. Adderall

Below are some differences between Dexedrine and Adderall.

  • Cost: Brand name Dexedrine costs over $350, Adderall XR costs over $220, and Adderall IR costs over $150 (for a 30 day supply). Dexedrine is the most expensive brand name option, whereas the generic Dexedrine is actually slightly cheaper than generic Adderall XR.
  • Duration of effect: Dexedrine Spansules are thought to elicit an effect for 8 to 10 hours, whereas Adderall XR lasts up to 12 hours. Adderall IR is shorter-acting than Dexedrine Spansules with an effect of 4 to 6 hours.
  • Formats: Dexedrine Spansules and Adderall XR are very similar in that they are capsules filled with “beads.” Adderall is available as an IR format in the form of tablets, whereas Dexedrine is not.
  • Ingredients: The active ingredient in Dexedrine is dextroamphetamine, whereas Adderall contains both dextroamphetamine (75%) and levoamphetamine 25%.
  • Investigational uses: Adderall has been investigated for cognitive rehabilitation among stroke patients, whereas Dexedrine has been investigated for the treatment of nasal congestion.
  • Manufacturers: Dexedrine is manufactured by Amedra Pharmaceuticals, whereas Adderall is manufactured by Shire Pharmaceuticals.
  • Popularity: The popularity of Dexedrine is virtually nonexistent when compared to Adderall – which is still the single most popular psychostimulant in generic format.
  • Potency: The potency of Dexedrine is thought to be slightly higher than Adderall due to the fact that it is 100% dextroamphetamine, whereas Adderall is only 75% dextroamphetamine.

Which drug is better for ADHD? Dexedrine vs. Adderall.

Those searching for a drug to treat their ADHD or narcolepsy will likely stumble upon the options of Adderall and Dexedrine.  Everyone wants to know whether one drug is more effective than the other for the treatment of these conditions and for other off-label purposes such as studying, academics, weight loss, and business performance.  The truth is that the drugs are so similar, that differences in efficacy are largely subject to individual variation.

When choosing a drug, you should work closely with your doctor (or psychiatrist) and determine which one gives you the least side effects and greatest symptomatic reduction.  Some people may find that they experience a cleaner focus with 100% pure dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), whereas others may find benefit in the 25% levoamphetamine within Adderall.  It can take some trial and error before you find the optimal drug for your condition.

Which drug do you prefer? Dexedrine or Adderall?

If you’ve tried Dexedrine Spansules and Adderall, how do they compare?  Feel free to leave a comment below and discuss any similarities and/or differences (e.g. side effects, efficacy, duration of effect) that you noticed between the two drugs.  If you preferred to use one drug over the other for ADHD, narcolepsy, or an off-label condition, mention why.

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25 thoughts on “Dexedrine vs. Adderall: Comparison”

  1. Why on earth doesn’t Mental Health Daily update this article so it doesn’t misleadingly suggest that you can’t get IR dextroamphetamine anymore? The fact that the GSK brand of dex (with the trademarked name Dexedrine) is no longer available in IR is almost irrelevant.

    The use of brand names to refer to either the brand name or generic equivalents is so common that failing to specify that generics are still available is inexcusable.

    As one reader pointed out, the Dexedrine brand of ER spansules is no longer available (in the U.S.) either, so even if you want to argue that the article was technically correct, it no longer is.

  2. Just follow the money (Shire) and the thoroughly lobbied (FDA). To wit: dextroamphetamine… -> ‘Dextrostat’… -> Biphetamine -> Adderall -> Adderall XR -> Mydayis. How do they do it? $$$

  3. For me it is simple. I use Dexamphetamine ONLY when I need it or when I need to be concentrated. I use a 2.5 mg pill or two depending on the level of concentration I need. I am happy that with Dexamphetamine I do not need to have a certain level for a prolonged period in my system and it disappears from my system after a few hours to a day.

    That means I can have the benefit of my ADHD, which I do not see as a full handicap and when necessary I take Dexamphetamine. I do not want too many chemicals in my body. Ritalin as well as Concerta did not work for me and I got severe side effects. Dexamphetamine works if I need it, and when I need it.

  4. I’ve had ADD all my life. ADHD when I was younger. I’ve tried them all, Ritalin, Adderall, Dexedrine, and even some of the new non-stimulates. Hands down, dextroamphetamine (not the extended release version) is the best by far. You can focus but you keep your humor/personality.

    On almost every other ADD drug, you lose a part of your emotional self. You become not yourself in some way or form. Non-extended relief dextro also keeps it’s effect. I haven’t had to step up to a higher dosage in years. The other options all stop working or you have to increase the dose.

    • I am very pro Dexedrine. I have Idiopathic daytime somnolence (daytime sleepiness.) The adderall had a confusing effect on me and did strange things to my memory and retention. I could not function on it. I have taken both forms of dexedrine and have had good results. I hate they stopped manufacturing the short acting form. I now have to rely on Ritalin. My side effects on Ritalin are more pronounced – especially when I end the cycle.

      • Wow, Lynne, I hope you didn’t switch to Ritalin because of this misleading article. The IR form of pure dextroamphetamine is still alive and well. It can’t legally be called Dexedrine because that name was trademarked by GSK, but there are several generic equivalents.

  5. Article gives false facts-the dexedrine spansules are not on the market anymore. The IR dexedrine is. Mallinkcrodt manufactures them still. The dosages are 5, 10mg. While you would think that is way less than a 30mg of adderall, the reality is there is a reason why dex dosage is just that. Don’t be fooled. It acts as a stronger on the brain, dopamine levels than adderall. Amphetamine salts which is what adderall is only contains very little amount of the d-amph salt which is what dexedrine is. It is why a 30mg adderall still contains less than dexedrine 10mg pill.

    • This is completely inaccurate and misleading to anyone who is looking for the reality of the differences between the two medications…in effect, they are basically the same thing the main diff. being that adderall is only 75 percent dextroamp and the 25 remaining percent is Levo-amp so saying that 10 mg of dexedrine has more dextroamphetamine in it than a 30mg adderall is simply not true…do some research before posting things that simply are not accurate.

      • How is what I said not accurate? Dextroamphetamine by itself is the stronger of the two. yes, adderall does contain 75% of dextroamph, the other 25% is levoamphetamine(weaker of the two) Have you ever tried pure dextroamphetamine sulfate IR? If you have, you would understand the difference.

        In actuality, although adderall (mixed salts) is the weaker of the two, many find it actually more euphoric than pure dextroamph as it increases arousal, and sex drive, while pure dextroamph does not!

        BTW – Not going to argue with someone I don’t know over the internet, so you are entitled to your opinion. I do have a question for you. Why do you think they do not make dextroamphetamine sulfate in higher dosages of 10mg, whereas adderall goes up to 30mg?

        Why is it that methamphetamine (which actually can be prescribed in pill form, although it hardly ever is), goes only up to 5mg?

        • No, you are wrong. You wrote: “Amphetamine salts which is what adderall is only contains very little amount of the d-amph salt which is what dexedrine is. It is why a 30mg adderall still contains less than dexedrine 10mg pill.”

          75% isn’t “very little.” A 30 mg of adderall contains 22.5 mg of dex, more than twice that of a 10 mg dex pill–plus 7.5 mg of Levoamphetamine. (Though L-amphetamine is a weaker CNS stimulant, it feels “speedier” because of stronger peripheral effects.)

          The combination is and feels MUCH stronger than 10 mg of dex. I have tried both, but I would know you were full of it even if I hadn’t.

          The original article is indeed misleading because it fails to mention that you can get generic dex in IR form. However, your suggestion that you can’t get the spansules anymore is equally misleading. Both the IR and ER versions are available in generic.

          • Actually, what I wrote wasn’t quite right either because I was comparing the percentages of salts rather than base. Credit to Bob (below) for pointing this out. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adderall#Comparison_to_other_formulations)

            A 10 mg tablet of Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine sulfate) contains 7.33 mg of d-amp base. A 30 mg tablet of Adderall contains 14.2 mg of d-amp base and 4.5 mg of l-amp base. The latter still contains almost twice the dextroamphetamine as the former, but not quite as much as I claimed.

        • Also, your point that the strongest pill of Dex is only 10 mg doesn’t mean squat. There are all sorts of reasons other than relative potency that determine pill strengths. The maximum recommended dosage is the same for both Dex and Adderall: 60 mg.

    • So I’m staring at my days old script, “D-Amphetamine ER 10MG Substituted for Dexedrine Spansules MFG: Mal” and the options were 5, 10, and 15mg at the pharmacy.

      I’m not sure there is anything in your comment that is in fact true. It should be deleted

      • Not sure whether you were referring to me in your post, but if you were, let me explain. I was talking about the instant release version of dextroamphetamine sulfate. The highest dosage the IR tablet comes in is 10mg, unlike adderall which goes up to 30mg pills.

        What I will apologize for is that I stated in my post that dexedrine spansules were discontinued. I was wrong for stating that. What I was actually referring to, yet did not come out the way I intended at all. :)

        Was that the brand name Dextrostat was discontinued a few years back. Since then, however, as you state, different companies have come out with the generic version (dexedrine spansules).

  6. I had been on 15mg Dexedrine twice daily morning/late afternoon for the past couple of years and have noticed a tolerance building up. I asked my Dr. and he said yes it is normal for after so long the dosage ‘have the same effect upon you hence tolerance build up. Dr.said he would prescribe me 20mg Adderall twice daily morning/late afternoon and that I would also be able to sleep better on this drug & dosage.

    Well he was right as far as sleeping I do get more tired and run down on Adderall than on Dexedrine but as far as which one I prefer well I miss my dexedrine. I am wondering why in the world he would not just prescribe me a bit more dexedrine rather than Adderall? The adderall has 75% dextroamphetamine in it as opposed to the 100% dextroamph in dexedrine. The 25% levoamphetamine does not do jack.

    I should have just stayed on the dextro in which next month I will seek the dexedrine back and to hell with the adderall. I wonder if he prescribed me Adderall as a way to see me get myself weened off the dexadrine since IMO adderall 20 mg is less potent to me than my 15mg dexedrine 2x daily. I felt a much better, long lasting, cleaner focus on dexedrine and the fact that it was ER I did like. He prescribed me regular Adderall minus the ER.

    So we will see. I am finding myself actually on certain days feeling like I need to take another 10mg on top of the 40mg I have already taken for the day when upon adderall. And this was consistent with me when I was on the 15mg 2x a day dexedrine. Basically, bottom line is I need 20mg dexedrine ER 2X DAILY or if the 20mg spanules are not manufactured – then prescribe me 15mg 3x daily or 15mg 2x daily and 10mg 1x daily.

    The 30mg dexedrine ER needs to be increased to at least 40mg or even 45mg daily IMO. But Adderall for me compared to Dexedrine spanules ER does not work as much as dexedrine.

  7. I was placed on DextroAmphetamine for acquired ADHD as a result of my primary disease, Dercum’s Disease. Brand name and generic were both effective. One thing not mentioned in this article is that the dextro greatly helps your lymphatic system and acts as a pumping mechanism. I was forced to switch to Adderall (amphetamine salts) when I switched to medicare despite the overwhelming proof, notes, documentation and explanations about how and why this medication helps people with my disease.

    It does not act as an amphetamine to us b/c our body processes it differently due to numerous factors. The Adderall is not very helpful. I am back to having to take 1-2 naps during the days, can’t use my words properly or effectively, forget important things and what I was just doing, etc… How does one remember to take their memory medication when they can’t remember???

    I can’t function to the best of my ability anymore and when you never know what your symptoms are going to be from one hour to the next in general, it’s hard to fathom that the insurance companies are allowed to control your health and keep you sick.

  8. I have narcolepsy & have been on Adderall IR, XR, Dexedrine & Zenzedi. I’ve been on their generic equivalents, too. I didn’t find any difference between brand and generic dextroamphetamine sulfate. But there was a HUGE difference in Adderall XR versus generic amphetamine salts for me. Usually with generic drugs, costs are cut via the distribution method of the drug into the bloodstream. Even though my former sleep doc told me it was the same exact thing (still made by Shire), it took me an extra hour to wake up in the morning.

    After about 3+ months that isn’t gonna be placebo effect. My schedule of taking pills & falling back to sleep for an hour before waking up for the day increased to TWO hours, and went on like that until I started requesting brand name Adderall XR. Dexedrine works okay for me but not as well as Adderall does. Still it’s nice to know maybe I’ll have a fallback if they ever take Adderall away from narcoleptics (I mean, look what happened to Cylert).

  9. Dexedrine is far superior to Adderall and also available in IR. Adderall has little if any effect for me and has on occasion made me unbearably hungry/sleepy. Dexedrine doesn’t do that.

  10. Comparing Adderall to Dexedrine isn’t simply a matter of levoamphetamine vs dextroamphetamine. Two of the salts in Adderall have significantly less amphetamine base than the sulfate salt. So assuming that levo- and dextroamphetamine are equipotent, Adderall contains 85% of the amphetamine base content of Dexedrine. This means 30mg Dexedrine = 35mg Adderall = 75mg Vyvanse. (If levo- is considered half as potent as dextro-, then this is 40mg Adderall.)

    I echo what Kat said: If you write about Dexedrine and Adderall, and discuss generics, please don’t ignore IR dextroamphetamine sulfate just because IR Dexedrine was discontinued. By the way, Zenzedi is a brand of IR dextroamphetamine sulfate now available, and in a range of tablets from 2.5 mg to 30 mg, similar to Adderall. One can question the significance of brand drugs since these days the company making the active ingredient isn’t necessarily the one making the tablet or capsule. Adderall (IR) is no longer made by Shire but by Teva, while Shire made the generic version of AdderallXR sold by Teva. And, for example, Mallinckrodt sells its own generic versions of Dexedrine and Adderall but also sells bulk amphetamine to other companies doing the same.

    I don’t think doctors’ prescribing is influenced by “less potent” so much as “less potent—ial for abuse”. I mean, unless you’re an adherent to homeopathy less potent means less efficacious. Extended release forms have less potential for abuse, may deliver a more steady level of drug, mitigate carrying and taking doses through the day, and forgetting to take those doses. But the relatively steady state, long duration is a limitation as well and sometimes immediate release may be better. Some people do better with more stimulation in the morning. Sometimes you have a long day and might need an additional dose. Sometimes you need additional focus during the day. Sometimes you need less. Extended release doesn’t accommodate this. I take IR dextroamphetamine tend to listen more to my body than the clock, within reason of course. I can sense when its needed and push or pull the time and dose a bit.

    I believe the concept of rescue dosing should be considered in treating persons with ADHD. People with asthma have rescue inhalers to relieve sudden symptoms, people with cancer taking extended release opioids are given a rescue med, an IR opioid for breakthrough pain. So too patient administered infusion pumps allow hospitalized patients some flexibility in taking IV opioids as needed, and this generally reduces the overall dosing. ADHD symptoms and life stresses can and do fluctuate. Being able to respond medically (and the sense of control being able to respond) should be available but may be compromised by exclusively prescribing extended release stimulants.

    • “Comparing Adderall to Dexedrine isn’t simply a matter of levoamphetamine vs dextroamphetamine. Two of the salts in Adderall have significantly less amphetamine base than the sulfate salt. So assuming that levo- and dextroamphetamine are equipotent, Adderall contains 85% of the amphetamine base content of Dexedrine. This means 30mg Dexedrine = 35mg Adderall = 75mg Vyvanse. (If levo- is considered half as potent as dextro-, then this is 40mg Adderall.)”

      This is very interesting. At first I thought you were confused because I thought a 10 mg pill contained 10 mg of the base rather than the salt(s), but I was wrong.

  11. I was prescribed Dextrostat right off the bat. Then when Adderall get to the market I switched. I was on Adderall for almost two years then I combine Adderall & Dexedrine at the same time for the duration of 6 months & I was flying as high as a kite. Adderall was discontinued by my PCP as I developed cardiomegaly. SO I went to try Vyvanse , then Vyvanse & Ritalin. And several more combinations.

    After all the trial & error I am fully aware that the Dexedrine IR tabs by Teva fits my ADD/PI = Narcolepsy= TBI. On any other DRIs I am convinced that I function on my maximum potential on Dexedrine IR 40mg wake up time : 4 AM then 30 mg at noon then 20 mg by 7pm & go to bed by 10 PM. The 40mg in the morning kick ass. And I needed that jolt to wake up my brain. I am under the mercy of this drug the rest of my life.

    Nevertheless I am indeed grateful for this drug after 24 yrs of extreme struggle it ended when I get diagnosed. My brain injury is so severe that only Dexedrine can deliver the maximum potency. The best of all is that this drug enables my mind to compensate 10x fold more than a person with no brain injury can match. When my mind is compensating I am sharp as a tack. Yes drugs can change life for the better.

  12. Dexedrine is indeed available in immediate-release formulation. Aurolife, Barr, CorePharma, and Mallinckrodt are all listed in the FDA Orange Book as current manufacturers of the 5 mg and 10 mg tablets.

    • This article was technically referring to Dexedrine, which as a brand is only manufactured in Spansule format. Various IR versions of Dextroamphetamine (same active ingredient) are available. Thanks for commenting though, may help clear up some confusion for readers.


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