Adderall, a stimulant medication made of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine salts, is used to treat the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the sleep disorder narcolepsy. Generic names for this drug are dextroamphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine sulfate and amphetamine aspartate. The maximum recommended daily dose of Adderall is 40 mg for ADHD and 60 mg for narcolepsy, according to the Physicians Desk Reference 2011.
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The effective dosage of Adderall is based on individual needs and response. The two basic types of Adderall are immediate-release Adderall, which is taken twice daily in tablet form and extended-release Adderall XR, which is taken once in the morning. The capsules are swallowed whole or can be opened and sprinkled on pudding or applesauce. The entire contents of the pill must be consumed immediately or it loses its effectiveness. Adderall can be taken with or without food. Taking this drug at night is not recommended and can cause insomnia.
Adderall tablets are available in 5 mg, 7-1/2 mg, 10 mg, 12-1/2 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg and 30 mg strengths. Adderall XR capsules are available in strengths of 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg and 30 mg. When used to treat ADHD, Adderall is thought to restore the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in increased ability to pay attention, focus and stay still. In patients with narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder, Adderall provides stimulation to help stay awake during the day.
In children ages 6 to 12 years old, the recommended beginning dose of Adderall or Adderall XR is 10 mg daily for ADHD. This can be increased or decreased by 5 mg weekly as symptoms and response dictate. The daily dose should not exceed 40 mg daily. For children 13 to 17 years old age, the recommended beginning dose is 10 mg daily. After one week, this can be adjusted to 20 mg per day if needed. The starting dose of Adderall for narcolepsy in children 6 to 12 years of age is 5 mg daily. The dose might be increased by 5 mg weekly until the optimum result is achieved. For people ages 12 and older with narcolepsy, the starting dose is 10 mg daily. This dose can be increased by 10 mg per week. For adults with narcolepsy, the maximum recommended dosage of 60 mg per day can be divided up into two or three uses.
Because Adderall has the potential for abuse, its distribution is closely monitored by doctors and pharmacists. Some people can obtain this drug or other amphetamines for non-therapeutic use, sale or distribution to others. Misuse of amphetamine can cause sudden death and serious heart problems. It should be administered at the lowest effective levels and only under the supervision of a doctor.