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Adderall IR vs. XR: What’s The Difference?

Adderall is a well-known medication used to treat ADHD that has been on the market since 1996.  Years after its initial approval, Shire Pharmaceuticals developed an “extended-release” format of the drug called “Adderall XR.”  This format of the drug was launched in 2001 as a means to provide extended relief from attentional-deficits spanning up to 12 hours.

Those taking the original version of Adderall (immediate-release) often would end up having to take multiple pills throughout the day due to the fact that the effect only lasted 4 to 6 hours.  This complicated treatment, especially for children that would need school nurses to take extra time to administer treatment.  Fortunately Adderall XR was a solution that could be used to combat popping an extra Adderall IR tablet.

The Adderall XR capsule contains beads with the same active ingredient as Adderall IR; 75% dextroamphetamine and 25% levoamphetamine.  The primary difference between the two is that Adderall XR elicits nearly double the duration of effect.  Some people claim to tolerate one format than the other, which is likely due to physiological differences in absorption of the beads within the XR compared to the tablet of the IR.

Adderall IR vs. XR Comparison Chart

Below is a chart created to help you analyze the general similarities and differences between Adderall IR and XR.

Adderall IR vs. Adderall XR

 Adderall IRAdderall XR
Generic nameMixed Amphetamine SaltsAmphetamine Salt Combo XR
Duration of effect4 to 6 hours. (Shorter-acting)~12 hours. (Longer-acting)
FormatTablet (100% immediate-release)Capsule (50% immediate-release, 50% delayed-release)
Dosages5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, 30 mg
Release date19962001
Cost (30 pills)$158 to $170$225 to $240
Generic cost (30 pills)$25 to $40$75 to $140

Adderall IR vs. XR: What’s the difference?

Due to the fact that both Adderall IR and Adderall XR contain the same active ingredient of 75% dextroamphetamine and 25% levoamphetamine, there theoretically shouldn’t be any significant difference in terms of efficacy.  There also shouldn’t be any significant differences in terms of side effects.  Whether you respond better to one format of the drug over the other is highly individual – another person may have a completely different response.

Adderall IR is manufactured in tablet format, whereas Adderall XR is manufactured in the form of capsules.  The capsules of the Adderall XR contain little beads, 50% of which are immediate-release (just like the “IR”) and 50% of which are delayed-release.  The total duration of effect provided by Adderall XR is estimated to be approximately 12 hours, whereas that of Adderall IR is between 4 and 6 hours.

Abuse potential

Both the immediate-release (IR) and extended-release (XR) versions of Adderall are classified as “Schedule II” controlled-substances.  This means that they have a high potential for abuse, are habit forming, and may result in dependence.  Psychological dependence is most common among Adderall users that come to rely on the drug as a crutch to help them perform better at school/work, function in social settings, or maintain a positive mood.

Some may argue that since the “IR” version is in tablet format, it is subject to greater abuse.  This may be true due to the fact that snorting Adderall is easier for those seeking a “high” when in tablet form compared to capsule form.  Tablets can be easily crushed, whereas those attempting to insufflate the capsules will have a more difficult time emptying and crushing the beads.

Without crushing the beads within the capsules, they will not elicit any sort of any effect.  From the perspective of insufflation, the tablets likely have a greater propensity for abuse.  That said, abuse of either drug can result in high dopamine levels, which may trigger “stimulant psychosis.”  For this reason, both Adderall IR and XR are carefully regulated by medical professionals.

Cost

There are some notable cost differences between Adderall IR and Adderall XR.  For 30 pills of the “brand name” immediate-release format of Adderall, you’ll likely end up paying between $158 and $170.  For 30 “brand name” pills of the extended-release format, most pharmacies will charge between $225 and $240.

If we’re talking strictly from a “pill count” perspective, “brand name” Adderall IR is a cheaper option.  However, since it would require 2 Adderall IRs to elicit the same duration of effect as an Adderall XR, a more accurate comparison may be the cost of 60 IR pills to 30 XR pills.  In this case, you’d be looking at well over $300 for the IR pills, making the XR version more economically feasible.

Fortunately, both Adderall IR and XR are sold under generic names.  Adderall IR can be purchased under the generic “mixed amphetamine salts” for $25 to $40 for 30 pills.  Adderall XR can be purchased under the generic “amphetamine salt combo XR” – costing $75 to $140 for 30 pills.  In this case, buying nearly double the generic IR pills ($50 to $80) would still be cheaper than just 30 generic XRs.

Crashes

Most users of Adderall have experienced what is commonly referred to as an Adderall crash.  This is a temporary “crash” in terms of both physical and mental energy that occurs when Adderall’s effect wears off.  Most people aren’t bothered by these crashes due to the fact that they only take Adderall to help with work and/or school, when they’re finally home, the crash isn’t important.

That said, crashes aren’t thought to be more common with the IR compared to the XR or vice-versa.  Those taking high doses of the IR may find that they experience a noticeable crash after 4 hours, compared to a noticeable crash after 12 hours as would occur with the XR.  Some may find that being medicated for a longer period of time throughout the day with the XR increases the severity and duration of the crash.

There will be significant individual differences in regards to whether you experience a crash after your Adderall wears off.  Generally the greater the contrast between your “medicated state” and your “non-medicated state,” the more noticeable the crash.  Some individuals may resort to taking a combination of the XR, followed by an IR dose so that their only “crash” is a good night’s sleep.

Dosage

The available dosages for Adderall IR include: 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg.  The dosage options for Adderall XR include: 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, and 30 mg.  As you can tell, there are smaller increments between doses of the IR version.  Should someone find that 5 mg is too light of a dose, whereas 10 mg is too heavy of a dose, the option of 7.5 mg may prove to be optimal.

That said, Adderall XR still is manufactured in six different dosing options, just one shy of the IR version.  It provides a 25 mg dose that is not available for Adderall IR and still provides steady increments of 5 mg between dosing formats.  Overall, there really isn’t a significant difference between Adderall IR and XR in terms of dosing options.  Some may prefer the smaller incremental increases of the IR dosing, while others may like the 25 mg option of the XR.

The doses associated with Adderall IR compared to XR can be difficult for some to understand.  Taking 10 mg of Adderall XR would be equivalent to taking 5 mg of Adderall IR twice.  In other words, a 10 mg Adderall XR would be like taking 2 separate, optimally-timed doses of 5 mg Adderall IR.

Duration of effect

There are noticeable differences in duration of effect between Adderall IR and XR.  Those taking the IR should find that the effect lasts approximately 4 to 6 hours.  For some people the effect may seem shorter, while for others it may seem to last the full 6 hours.  In general, it is somewhere in the middle – around 5 hours depending on how your body absorbs the tablet.

The Adderall XR version was engineered specifically to last up to 12 hours.  This means you can take just one of the XRs and you should experience symptomatic reduction for the entire day.  Despite differences in duration of effect, a person could easily take 2 Adderall IRs and be covered for up to 12 hours as well.  For those that favor convenience and simplicity, taking only one pill of the XR for long-term relief may be preferred.

Efficacy

Anecdotal reports across the internet will claim that Adderall XR is better than Adderall IR – and vice-versa.  This may be somewhat of a placebo effect, but could also be due to absorption differences.  Some people may have an easier time absorbing the Adderall IR in tablet format compared to the beads within the capsules of Adderall XR.

Assuming your body absorbs one pill better than the other or more smoothly, it could result in a slight difference in terms of efficacy.  Delivery of the drug and how it’s processed matters, but just because the IR works better for you, does not mean that it will work better for someone else.  That said, since both Adderall IR and XR contain the same ratio of mixed salts, the effect should be nearly identical.

Formats

Adderall IR is formatted in an immediate-release tablets.  This means that as soon as you take the drug, you’ll get the full effect of the drug within 30 to 60 minutes; many people feel it sooner.  Adderall XR is formatted in capsule form containing  pellets.  Within these capsules, 50% of the pellets are immediate-release, and 50% are delayed-release.

This means that when you take Adderall XR, you’ll get the same initial kick within 30 to 60 minutes as you would with the IR version.  However, you’ll notice that the drug delivers a “second wind” of effect after the immediate-release pellets are fully processed.  This “second wind” is from the other delayed-release pellets that haven’t broken down.

By comparison, the immediate-release pellets are comprised of a bead in the center of a drug layer, followed by an overcoating.  The delayed-release pellets are comprised of a bead in the center of a drug layer, with an overcoating covered in a release-delaying polymer, covered with a second overcoating.  This means that as the first immediate-release pellets are “wearing off” the delayed-release pellets are just kicking in.

The combination of immediate and delayed release pellets results in a bimodal distribution of effect that could be achieved by simply taking 2 properly-timed immediate-release tablets.  For the sake of convenience, many people like the Adderall XR format.  However, if you don’t always need a “second wind” after your first 4 to 6 hours, Adderall IR may be preferred.

Medical uses

Both Adderall IR and XR are approved for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy.  Those with these conditions may prefer to use one format of Adderall over the other, or may use a combination of both.  Some individuals with ADHD may have a supply of both Adderall IR and XR to use based on how much cognitively-demanding work they’ll be doing.

Those with long school or work days may opt to take the XR version for 12 hours worth of relief.  Individuals that only need to focus for 4 to 6 hours may rather take the IR version and feel less drugged for the remainder of the day.  Individuals with narcolepsy may find that Adderall XR doesn’t provide quite as long of relief as they need, and may take an Adderall IR for additional relief when the XR wears off.

Off-label uses such as Adderall for depression as an antidepressant augmentation option may benefit more from the XR (extended-release) version due to the fact that it provides long-lasting relief.  If 12 hours isn’t enough relief, the IR (immediate-release) may be tacked onto the end of the 12 hours for antidepressant relief until a person falls asleep.  Those using Adderall for anxiety may decide that taking the immediate-release version as needed is favorable for preservation of dopamine levels and receptors.

Popularity

Among those looking to abuse Adderall, the immediate-release format may be slightly more popular.  This is due to the fact that it’s far easier to crush up a tablet for insufflation, than it is to crush up the tiny pellets within the extended-release version.  That said, there isn’t specific data in regards to whether Adderall IR or XR is the more popular format among general users.

Those who wish to attain longer-lasting relief will gravitate towards the XR version, whereas those who need shorter-term relief tend to like the IR version.  Some speculate that Adderall XR may be slightly more popular than the IR due to the fact that it is newer and longer-acting.  From a general perspective, Adderall (both IR and XR) is regarded as one of the most popular psychostimulants of all time.

Side effects

Due to the fact that the ingredient composition is the exact same in Adderall IR and XR, the side effects are likely to be the same.  Common side effects associated with both versions include: appetite loss, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, fever, headaches, insomnia, nausea, nervousness, stomach pain, vomiting, and weight loss.  Slight variations in side effects may be due to differences in absorption of the tablet-formatted IR or the capsule-formatted XR.

Withdrawal

There may be some differences in severity and duration of withdrawal related to whether you took Adderall IR or XR.  Those taking the immediate-release (IR) version may not use the drug as frequently or on an intermittent basis.  This intermittent or infrequent usage associated with the immediate-release version may result in less severe Adderall withdrawal symptoms.

Those taking the extended-release version (XR) may be medicated more throughout the day, and therefore may have an increasingly difficult time stopping the drug.  Furthermore, should you want to “taper” or titrate your dosing downwards, there are bigger jumps in dosing increments of 5 mg with the XR version compared to 2.5 mg increments with the IR version.  Unfortunately pellets cannot be “counted” due to the fact that you won’t know which are the immediate versus the delayed release.

Adderall IR can be cut with a pill cutter, making it easier to titrate the dosing downwards.  Therefore, the immediate-release version may be advantageous in that it is more likely to be used on an intermittent or infrequent basis, the pills can be cut, and the dosing options provide smaller increments for tapering.

Similarities between Adderall IR and XR

Below is a recap of the similarities between Adderall IR and XR.

  • Mechanism of action: The mechanism of action for Adderall IR and XR is the exact same as they contain the same active ingredients.  They both act as dopamine reuptake inhibitors, plus inhibit reuptake of norepinephrine, and trigger the presynaptic release of these neurotransmitters.
  • Medical uses: Both formats of Adderall are used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.  Some patients may prefer one format over the other, but in many cases a combination of both may be utilized.
  • Ingredients: The IR and XR version of Adderall are both comprised of 75% dextroamphetamine and 25% levoamphetamine.
  • Side effects: There should be no significant differences in side effects derived from Adderall IR compared to Adderall XR.
  • Withdrawal: The symptoms associated with discontinuing each drug are likely similar if administered as the same dose.  However, those taking the IR may experience less severe withdrawals due to intermittent or less-frequent daily usage that may not last a full 12 hours like the XR.  Being medicated for a full 12-hours daily may produce a more substantial withdrawal.  That said, if you were taking two Adderall IRs, you’ll likely have the same degree of withdrawal as someone taking one Adderall XR.

Differences between Adderall IR and XR

Listed below is a recap of the differences between immediate-release and extended-release Adderall.

  • Approval date: Adderall IR was approved in 1996, whereas Adderall XR didn’t hit the market until 2001.
  • Cost: The cost of 30 Adderall IR pills is cheaper than the cost of 30 Adderall XR pills.  The cost of 60 Adderall IR pills is more expensive than 30 XR pills; this would be an equivalent.  That said, 60 generic Adderall IRs is cheaper than 30 XR pills.
  • Dosages: There are a total of 7 dosing options for Adderall IR and the lower doses increase in 2.5 mg increments.  There are a total of 6 dosing options for Adderall XR, all of which increase in 5 mg increments.
  • Duration of effect: The duration of effect for the IR version is 4 to 6 hours, whereas the XR version is thought to last up to 12 hours.
  • Format: The format of Adderall IR is that of a tablet containing mixed amphetamine salts.  The format of Adderall IR is that of a capsule containing “pellets” (50% immediate-release and 50% delayed-release).

Personal experience with Adderall IR and XR

I’ve personally had the experience of using both Adderall IR and XR, and other than the duration of effect, I didn’t notice any significant differences.  I preferred the IR version due to the fact that I could take them on an “as-needed” basis without feeling too keyed up for the entire day.  Both the IR and XR were helpful in treating my major depression, but at too high of doses, they seemed to induce an overly intense dopaminergic euphoria – which I was trying to avoid.

The thing I liked about the IRs is that they could be cut and would provide me with short-term relief rather than sustained, 12 hour relief.  After an Adderall XR wore off, I felt as if I was in a trance-like state, dazed, semi-conscious, and ready for bed.  When the IR wore off, I didn’t notice as sharp of a transition from feeling drugged to feeling normal.

This was likely due to the fact that low doses are available for the IR, and I was taking microdoses of 2.5 mg or 5 mg.  The IR pills were easy to split and at low doses seemed to provide me with a clean concentration without the excess buzz experienced at higher doses.  The XRs aren’t manufactured in low doses, so I would sometimes just take a few “pellets” or “beads” to avoid getting the full dose – this seemed to work fairly well.

Neither the IR or the XR was significantly better than the other, but I prefer the IR.  I mostly prefer the IR due to the fact that I don’t need as long of a buzz from the drug.  Extended stimulation for 12 hours leads to an extended crash and downregulation of dopamine receptors – something I wanted to avoid.  Understand that this is just my personal experience and preference for how I used the drug.

Which is better: Adderall IR or XR?

Neither version of the drug should be considered superior to the other.  Individual preferences for one format over the other are usually due to the duration over which a person needs the psychostimulant effect.  If someone needs the drug to work for 12 hours, they’ll probably end up taking the extended-release XR version.

Those that only need short-term relief from ADHD symptoms may prefer to take the immediate-release IR version.  There’s no significant benefit associated with one version over the other; they both contain 75% dextroamphetamine and 25% levoamphetamine.  Assuming you’re taking the same dose, you should get the exact same effect.

A hypothesis could be made that the tablets are absorbed differently compared to the capsules.  There could be some truth to that hypothesis, but the absorption differences are unlikely to be significant.  That said, some may find that in their subjective, anecdotal experience, one version provides a more substantial effect than the other.

Which do you prefer? Adderall IR vs. XR

If you currently use Adderall (or have used it), did you prefer the IR (immediate-release) format or the XR (extended-release) format?  Feel free to share a comment below mentioning whether you found one to be superior to the other in terms of efficacy and what you liked or disliked about each format.  If you found no significant difference in effect and don’t have a preference format over the other, let us know.

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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Jessica September 19, 2018, 7:56 pm

    I’ve been on Adderall IR for a while but have taken XR as well. For me there really is a significant difference between the two. I use it for ADHD and narcolepsy and I’ve gotta say, not having to remember to take a second dose to stay awake is wonderful.

    Not to mention for some reason my body responds more to XR as opposed to IR. I’m more away, more focused, more in tune I guess. And oddly happier. The IR doesn’t make nearly as much of an impact. I find I still need caffeine to stay awake, not nearly as much as without but I still need it.

    I’m also a lot more distractible and am just like myself on really any given day. It’s like nothing. I don’t know why there is such a big difference for me but there is. *shrug*

  • Rob June 3, 2018, 2:17 am

    Hello, I am currently prescribed 30mg IRs x2 daily. I have been on this dosage for 10 plus years. Personally I find that the IRs work much better for me as long as I follow the directions of my PCP. I am instructed to take “Drug Holidays”. Weekends or work days off when I do not need to focus as much and can give my body a break.

    Here are a few of the side effects I have noticed that actually affect me in a way I can notice.

    1. I have noticed a major decline in my desire for intimacy. I have had blood work done and suffer from low testosterone. I do not know if this is directly related to Adderall as most people or things I’ve read, say Adderall actually increase the desire to have sex? This is not true with my personal experiences.

    2. After several days on consecutive use, the following day before my 1st dose for the day usually after a good nights sleep, I wake up with swelling and stiffness in the joints and knuckles in my hands and fingers. This lasts for a few hours until the 1st dose kicks in and I start using my hands like normal.

    I hope this can help someone? These are just my personal insights.

  • Sophia January 17, 2018, 11:47 pm

    At first my doctor prescribed me the 20 mg of XR once a day and it only lasted for like 6 hours. So then the doctor made me take it twice a day and it worked very well. Now I’m seeing a different doctor and since I have a sleeping problem she told me to try the 20 mg of IR twice a day. I just started the IR so I don’t know if it’s truly working yet, but I’m gonna give it a month and see if I get the same results as the 20 mg XR. Hopefully I do, but who knows.

  • R January 13, 2018, 9:49 am

    I have been on adderall the last couple years or so. I get it for ADD, which I havent been officially, diagnosed with, but my doctors figure I exhibited all the symptoms of it. I have also been prescribed both forms of the medication, IR (Instant Release) and XR/ER (Extended Release). I have tried multiple brands of both the IR and XR forms.

    Anyway the differences between Adderall IR and XR? Is one better than the other in terms of efficacy? In terms of total efficacy, I do not think that one is better than the other, assuming that the pills/capsules contain the correct amounts. Basically yes, the XR version has 2 IR versions of the drug packed into 1 capsule. Inside the capsule are beads, A LOT of tiny little beads.

    Half to be immediately released, half to be released up to 12 hours later. So that being the reason why 1 30mg Adderall XR capsule is EQUIVALENT to 2 15mg Adderall IR pills/tablets. BUT since that’s how they are the same in terms of dosage, that DOESN’T mean they are the same in efficacy.

    If you take 1 30mg Adderall XR capsule, within 30 – 60mins, as said above, but onset times may vary of course, you will feel the effects of 15mg Adderall IR’s strength, then up to 12 hours later, you will feel the effects of 15mg IR strength again. So, if you were to take 30mg of Adderall IR, in XR dosage size, you would feel the effects of 30mg of Adderall all at once.

    Of course, probably making you feel much stronger effects. So, in terms of dosage size of both the IR and XR forms wouldn’t be the same. You cant also take an XR capsule and be like, “Well, I just want immediate relief today I don’t need to be re-medicated at 10pm tonight, I’ll need sleep!” Of course, since you can’t take the capsule apart and divide the IR beads from the XR beads.

    As for the brands themselves… I don’t think it’s about terms of efficacy and difference, but the quality and even presence of Adderall, the amphetamine salt combo itself. I have notice HUGE differences in the quality of different brands of Adderall. One time, and thank God the only time, I had went to the pharmacy to fill my prescriptions after my appointment as usual.

    When leaving, I went into the bag of various medications I get, and found the supposed Adderall, or amphetamine salts combo generically, opened the bottle, only to notice the pills were different! Instead of getting the normal orange, round kind, I was given these WHITE STOP SIGN shaped ones with an M IN A BOX on them. (I later found out that they were manufactured by Mallinkrodt Pharmaceuticals Inc.)

    I gave them the benefit of the doubt, because I thought it made no difference. They came straight out of the pharmacy, they had to be real, I trusted them. So I took one. These pills were supposed to be 30mg Adderall IR. From having used my previous brands before this, I would take a 30mg tablet and within a half hour I would ALWAYS notice the onset of effects.

    With that kind of brand, I took 30mg and felt NOTHING. I waited around an HOUR AND A HALF for the medication to kick in, but IT DIDN’T. When I take my medications in the morning, I make sure I take them before eating and make sure they are fully kicked in before I eat. I get best effects from my medications this way. If I happen to forget, and ate something already, I wait a couple hours after eating to take them.

    So it’s not like I ate or took anything that would inhibit, dull, or stop the effects of taking any Adderall that day. I didn’t take anything that would deplete the level of dopamine recent to before that day, so there was ABSOLUTELY NO REASON why the medication should not have worked. Anyway, around 2 hours later, after taking that first so-called 30mg Adderall IR pill, I had long since been back home.

    I knew something wasn’t right with these, but now I had already taken one, and my insurance wouldn’t let me take it back and request a new brand, I had decided that maybe trying to do more would maybe work. So this time I took 2 of the pills. I had no tolerance to amphetamines at the time, so a 60mg dose of Adderall IR after a 30mg dose before, that had no effect, should have ROCKED ME.

    So I took 2 more of them and waited. And waited … and waited .. AND WAITED. Still, I felt absolutely nothing! Now I was beside myself, not knowing what to do, about to flip out. I had come to believe that I may have been given a placebo, and was stuck with them for at least 4 weeks. I tried other routes of administration w/ them to NO AVAIL. Snorting, parachuting, sub-lingual.. etc.. They were just no good.

    That was a rough month to live thru. Throughout that day I think I used in upwards of 250mg of those pills trying to find a way to make them work and never did. In fact, not long after I had consumed 90mg of those things in 3 hours, I FELL ASLEEP watching TV while waiting for them to kick in! So I guess I could say they had some sort of effect on me… DROWSINESS. LoL.

    So I guess different BRANDS of Adderall IR most certainly have different effects, and side effects, from other substances holding the pill together… binders and fillers and inactive ingredients, AMOUNT AND QUALITY of drug in the pills. Or you may not know… they could be PLACEBO. While on the Adderall XR version, I never noticed any problems with them being poor quality or placebo, but definitely side effects are different.

    A guy mentioned above that capsules made his stomach issues flare. I think it’s the gelatin the capsules themselves are made of that can cause this. I had the same problem while on XR. I just took the capsule(s) opened one up and emptied the beads into my mouth, and washed em down. Another XR side effect, indeed was the crashing, then the other half of the medication kicking back in at the wrong time. Like bed time.

    (Your body varies in the amount of time it takes to process things.) The dreaded crash is there too… To me, moreso w/ the XR’s since the drug is constantly in you for the whole day, rather than a few hours. The headache, the “burnt/spun out” feeling. You just want to call it a day.

    As a matter of preference, I really prefer to use the IR version of Adderall over XR. Not because one may give you a better buzz or sense of euphoria, but they are WAY easier to manage, and take as needed for immediate effects. I don’t have to do anything that requires stamina in long hours of focus, concentration, energy, and motivation.

    They are also way easier to break down into specific dosage sizes you may want. Right now I have the round orange ones that are scored, horizontally and vertically, so you can easily break them into 4’s. Since I have the 20mg IR dosage sized pills, I can easily make my dosage sizes into multiples of 5mg. Pretty cool.

    But anyway… sorry for this being such a long response, but I hope y’all understood what I was intending and attempting to communicate. LoL. Feel free to respond if you have a question.

  • Mike January 12, 2018, 3:30 pm

    I take 25mg XR. I seem to be the only person that prefers it this way. I work long hour days, so that’s why I need it. I tried IR. It’s good and all but to me XR just made life easier and I have no crashes after it’s over.

  • Kristen January 30, 2017, 10:20 pm

    I am on my second month of Adderall. The first month I was prescribed XR 15 mg. The first week, I showed very much improvement in my ADHD symptoms but towards the end of the 10-12 hours, I definitely felt very groggy and tired. I work long days and when I get off work, I do like to be able to go home and get stuff done around the house before I pass out.

    To combat this, I was taking my adderall XR closer to noon to be able to stay up later. I also have severe social anxiety, which the adderall helps with SIGNIFICANTLY. But if I wanted to stay out late, I would have to wait until later to take the XR, which made my morning very hectic until I took it.

    I talked to my therapist and he switched me to adderall IR. He gave me 15mg tablets but gave me 45 for a 30 day period. He told me to take a half of a tablet 2 to 3 times a day depending on what my day looks like. (so 7.5 mg IR up to three times a day). I already LOVE it so much more. I feel like I absorb it better and feel it works better for me.

    I also like being able to decide when I take my doses and also being able to decide how much I need on a given day. I also will be able to ration my medication better, should I not be able to get an appointment right as I’m running out and needing a refill. The IR does make a little nauseous right after I take it, but I also don’t feel a foggy crash when it wears off the way the XR does.

    It’s also WAY cheaper. The cheapest place I found for GENERIC XR was costco at $80 for a 30 day supply. The IR was only $31 for a 30 day supply!

  • Michelle July 21, 2016, 3:47 pm

    I found that the XR gave me horrible headaches and made me really tired later in the day! The IR was great with no bad effects…

  • Roz May 6, 2016, 5:20 am

    I was recently diagnosed with ADD and prescribed Adderall IR. While taking Adderall IR, I was functional and able to focus and my ADD symptoms seemed to have almost disappeared, plus I was considerably less anxious. I talked to my psychiatrist about trying Adderall XR as I wanted to avoid the need to take multiple doses in a day and presumed that the extended release would also provide a smooth steady flow of energy.

    So I ended up switching to Adderall XR and that’s when I noticed significant differences between the IR and XR. On the extended release, I was hungry most of the time, felt like my ADD symptoms were not getting better, but somehow even getting worse?! My anxiety was back and I felt less in control, the second half of the day I was feeling sleepy and noticed that I was even grinding my teeth!

    I am still shocked at how different IR and XR have been for me personally! I have not had a positive experience with the extended release, would really like to know the reason behind this. Any references or sites to help me investigate this further?

  • Cas Bryan April 7, 2016, 12:42 pm

    I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder without the hyperactive problem. It affects mostly females. My problem with Vyvanse is that it only comes in extended relief. It’s supposed to last 8-10 hours… It lasts me 4-5 hours. Adderall IR (Immediate Release) lasts about the same amount of time. I do this with most meds.

    A number of people do this and the only answer is to take meds 2x a day. Most docs prescribe a lower dose taken twice a day but still prescribe the EX. I’m not sure how I process this…do I process half in two hours and the other half two hours later? I just feel better on the IR, it’s released all at once and lasts 4-5 hours and then I take another one.

  • Amanda February 19, 2016, 7:04 pm

    I have idiopathic hypersomnia (a form of narcolepsy, extreme and constant sleepiness). I recently started taking off brand adderall (IR) and it is the only thing that makes me feel like I can function. I took 10mg tabs, one when I woke up, one at noon and one at four, 30 mg total. This kept me awake and feeling relatively normal.

    My doctor then prescribed me off brand adderall XR, 10mg when I woke up and 10 at noon. You would think there wouldn’t be any serious side effects because I was actually taking *less* of the drug, just in extended release form. I took the XR for one day like this and all through the day I had trouble breathing.

    At night I had chest pain that made me want to go to the ER. Does anyone have any idea why the XR would affect me like this when the IR worked fine? I’m scared to go back to the IR now, because even though it worked, it is a higher dose and my heart still has a dull pain.

    • David May 18, 2016, 6:31 pm

      Yeah, I had the same heart/chest pain breathing problems plus severe fatigue and nausea, which I struggled with for over 2 years. I saw a cardiologist which said I was in fantastic condition. So, went to a gastroenterologist, which was then that it was realized that what I had was dyspepsia which is nothing more then a stomach acid flare up cause by the medication being the XR version of Adderall.

      For whatever reason the capsules make my stomach produce too much acid which causes extreme chest pain and breathing problems and fatigue which all lessoned when I lowered my dosage, however it still remain until I went back on the pill form versus the capsules. P.S. – although Adderall work much better for me I ended up switching to methylphenidate ER because Adderall did not offer a tablet form in the XR version. Hope this helps and good luck.

  • Gerard Klunek January 1, 2016, 7:51 pm

    As a gastric bypass patient it has taken me ten years!!! To find a psychiatrist to understand that because of the bypass, I do not have the digestive system to effectively utilize extended release medications (XR-ER)! Finally, a doctor who looked at my chart and asked why I have been prescribed XR medications if I had gastric bypass – which requires immediate release medications! Apparently, he has a medical degree where Anatomy 101 was required. Lacking the duodenum, ilium etcetera makes XR or ER ineffectual (mostly) or the duration is dramatically shortened. 70 mg Vyvanse lasts 4 hours.

    • Gerard Klunek February 6, 2016, 7:24 am

      On Monday, 8 February 2016, I will begin taking “brand name adderall” immediate release. The generic caused, apparently, to a possible allergic reaction due to “inactive ingredients” or “filler.” My RN prescribed the Brand Name – as medically necessary: the insurance that I have, Horizon, NJ Family Care approved because she deemed it necessary.

      The pharmacy had to order the “brand,” so, I will pick it up on Monday. My RN had reservations about the amount of immediate release I ought to be taking by deferred to the interim, “psychiatrist,” recommended. The difference in cost is dramatic – for years (7) I paid $300 monthly – on a fixed income – for Vyvanse, but the insurance, recently received is NJ Family Care: BCBS: but if doctor can state medical necessity the new state provided insurance will “cover” expense without a co-pay.

      I am praying that this long-sought solution to severe A.D.H.D, will assist me in becoming an employable person, once more. I worked from the age of twelve without not having a job– this disorder– has been disabling. All my life I had jobs where I usually had exceptional health care insurance: perhaps, God-willing, the medication and its efficacy will permit to return to workforce.

      • Rea September 26, 2016, 5:50 pm

        Did it work out for you?

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