Adderall & Adderall XR Dosage

Adderall and Adderall XR are different forms of the same drug. Although they contain the same active ingredients, there are major differences between them. For example, Adderall and Adderall XR are available in different doses and dosage forms. For this reason, it is important to know the differences between Adderall and Adderall XR if you take one — or both — of these medications.

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Adderall & Adderall XR Dosage 

Adderall and Adderall XR are different forms of the same drug. Although they contain the same active ingredients, there are major differences between them. For example, Adderall and Adderall XR are available in different doses and dosage forms. For this reason, it is important to know the differences between Adderall and Adderall XR if you take one — or both — of these medications.

Adderall vs. Adderall XR

Adderall is a quick-acting stimulant prescribed to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, while Adderall XR is prescribed to treat ADHD only. Both drugs are  Schedule II stimulants and contain dextroamphetamine and amphetamine salts. However, they have important differences. 

The “XR” in Adderall XR stands for extended release. This means that Adderall XR releases more slowly into the body than the amphetamine in Adderall. In turn, a person may have steadier blood levels of amphetamines when taking Adderall XR as opposed to a quicker spike with Adderall. Some people will be prescribed both drugs — Adderall XR may be prescribed in the morning, while Adderall may be prescribed at different times throughout the day when the person most needs the medication.

To avoid confusing the two drugs, Adderall and Adderall XR come in different dosage forms. Adderall comes as a tablet, while Adderall XR comes as a capsule.

Adderall and Adderall XR Dosage Chart

Adderall tablet strengths and color

Adderall XR capsule strengths and color

5 mg, white

5 mg, clear/blue

7.5 mg, blue

10 mg, blue/blue

10 mg, blue

15 mg, blue/white

12.5 mg, yellow

20 mg, orange/orange

15 mg, yellow

25 mg, orange/white

20 mg, yellow

30 mg, clear/orange

30 mg, yellow

 

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Adderall Dosage

Adderall is prescribed at different doses depending on many different variables, including the person’s age, medical history and whether they are taking the medication for ADHD or narcolepsy. Adults, adolescents and children often have different starting doses of Adderall and undergo different dose titrations.

Adults

Adderall is dosed similarly in adults as in adolescents and older children. Adults can start at a dose of Adderall 5 mg once or twice daily when used for ADHD. This dosage can be raised by 5 mg a day at weekly intervals. For narcolepsy, the drug is started at a dose of 10 mg daily and can be increased by 10 mg daily every week.

The usual max dose is 40 mg a day for ADHD, although those with narcolepsy may need a dose up to 60 mg daily.

Adolescents

Adolescents and children over the age of 6 can start at a dose of Adderall 5 mg once or twice daily for ADHD. This dosage can be raised by 5 mg a day at weekly intervals. The usual max dose is 40 mg daily.

When prescribed for narcolepsy, the Adderall starting dose is 5 mg daily for those up to age 12. The dose can be increased in increments of 5 mg on a weekly basis. In those aged 12 years and older, the starting Adderall dose for narcolepsy is 10 mg daily, which can be increased by 10 mg daily at weekly intervals. 

Children

Adderall should not be used in children under the age of three years. In children aged three to five years with ADHD, the starting Adderall dose is 2.5 mg daily. This can be increased by 2.5 mg a day in weekly intervals.

Adderall XR Dosage

Similar to Adderall, Adderall XR is dosed differently in adults, adolescents and children. The starting dose of the medication will vary based on your age and your medical history.

Adults

The starting and recommended doses for adults taking Adderall XR is the same dose, 20 mg a day.

Adolescents 

The starting Adderall XR dose for adolescents aged 13 to 17 years of age is 10 mg a day. This can be increased to 20 mg daily after a week.

Children

Adderall XR should not be used in children under the age of six years. The starting Adderall XR dose is 10 mg once daily in the morning. The dose may then be adjusted in increments of 5 mg or 10 mg every week. The maximum recommended dose for children ages 6 to 12 years of age is 30 mg daily.

Maximum Adderall Dosage

The maximum Adderall dosage depends on many different factors, including:

  • Reason for taking the medication: Different conditions may require different Adderall doses. For example, the max Adderall dose for narcolepsy in adults is 60 mg daily, while for ADHD, it is 40 mg daily.
  • Age: Because drug metabolism in children is different from adults, children may require different medication doses. For example, the max Adderall XR dose in children up to age 12 is 30 mg daily, while for those older than 12, it is only 20 mg daily.
  • Kidney function: Adderall should be given at lower doses in those with kidney problems. For example, in those with severe kidney issues, Adderall XR has a max dose of 15 mg daily and 5 mg daily for children.

Average Dose of Adderall for Adults and Children

No data is available about how much Adderall the average adult or child takes. However, around 70% of Americans taking Adderall are prescribed a 30 mg dose. An additional 16.3% take 10 mg of the drug.

Signs Your Adderall Dose Is Too Low

If your Adderall dose is too low, there are often signs. These can include:

  • The medication does not last as long as expected
  • The medication does not control your ADHD or narcolepsy symptoms

Especially if the person taking Adderall is a child or adolescent, they may need dose adjustments as they grow. For this reason, it is important to be closely monitored by your doctor while taking Adderall. Your doctor should ask your questions about your response to Adderall before each new prescription.

Adderall Dosage Compared To Other ADHD Medications

Adderall is often available at different doses than other Schedule II stimulant ADHD medications because it contains different ingredients. While Adderall contains dextroamphetamine and amphetamine salts, other ADHD medications have different ingredients that may be dosed in different ways.

Vyvanse vs. Adderall Dosage

Vyvanse contains lisdexamfetamine, a chemical cousin of dexamphetamine. Vyvanse is a long-acting stimulant available as a capsule and chewable tablet. The starting dose is usually 30 mg daily and can be gradually increased to a max dose of 70 mg daily.

In contrast, Adderall is generally started at a dose of 5 mg in adults and can be increased to 40 mg daily for ADHD or 60 mg daily for narcolepsy. Adderall XR is started at 20 mg daily in adults.

Ritalin vs. Adderall Dosage

Ritalin contains methylphenidate, a stimulant. The drug is available in short and long-acting tablet forms. The starting dose is usually 5 mg twice daily with a max daily dose of 60 mg.

Focalin vs. Adderall Dosage

Focalin contains dexmethylphenidate, a chemical relative of Ritalin. It is available as a tablet, and the starting dose is usually 5mg daily.

Dextroamphetamine vs. Adderall Dosage

Dextroamphetamine is one of the components of Adderall. However, dextroamphetamine is available on its own in medications like Dexedrine and DextroStat. The typical starting dose of dextroamphetamine is 5 mg daily with a max dose of 60 mg daily in children and 40 mg daily in adults.

What To Do if You Accidently Took a Double Dose of Adderall

If you accidentally took too much Adderall, you should call Poison Control for further advice. Call Poison Control at (800) 222-1222 or reach them online at www.poison.org. Depending on how much Adderall you took, Poison Control may advise you to seek emergency medical attention. 

In addition, because Adderall is a controlled substance, you should inform your prescriber if you accidentally took a double dose of Adderall. This is because a double dose likely means you will run out of the drug before your next prescription is due, as Schedule II controlled substances have strict prescribing regulations.

Lethal Dose of Adderall

No one specific lethal dose of Adderall exists, as this can vary. However, doctors know how much Adderall in the bloodstream can be lethal. Generally, the therapeutic blood concentration of Adderall is 2 to 3 micrograms per deciliter. A toxic level is 50 micrograms per deciliter, and a blood concentration of 200 micrograms per deciliter is fatal.

If you or a loved one are struggling with taking too much Adderall or Adderall misuse, you may have an Adderall addiction. Help is available. The Recovery Village Columbus offers evidence-based Adderall addiction treatment programs that can be personalized to fit your needs, led by a multidisciplinary team of licensed medical professionals. Contact us today to learn more and get started on the path to recovery.  

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.