Side effects and warnings
the Physicians' Desk Reference


What is Adderall? Adderall is the new name for a Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)/Amphetamine composite medication which has been around for more than 20 years. This formula was also used in a medication known as Obetrol, made in the past by Rexar and developed for "diet control." It is a single entity amphetamine product combining the neutral salts of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, with the dextro isomer of amphetamine saccharate and d, I-amphetamine asperate.

Is it Addictive? Adderall, like all amphetamines, has a high potential for abuse. If used in large doses over long periods of time, it can cause dependence and addiction.

Who should NOT take Adderall?


  1. Do not use Adderall if you have any of the following conditions:
    • Heart disease
    • Hardening of the arteries
    • High blood pressure
    • High pressure in the eye (glaucoma)
    • Overactive thyroid gland
  2. Never take Adderall within 14 days of taking an antidepressant classified as an MAO inhibitor, including Nardil and Parnate. A potentially life-threatening spike in blood pressure could result.
  3. Your doctor will not prescribe Adderall if you have ever had a reaction to similar stimulant drugs. The doctor will also avoid prescribing Adderall if you appear agitated or are prone to substance abuse.
  4. If you have even a mild case of high blood pressure, take Adderall with caution. Be careful, too, about driving or operating machinery until you know how this drug affects you. It may impair judgment and coordination.
  5. Adderall can make tics and twitches worse. If you or a family member has this problem (or the condition called Tourette's syndrome), make sure the doctor is aware of it. Amphetamines such as Adderall have also been known to aggravate symptoms in seriously disturbed (psychotic) individuals.
  6. At present, there has been no experience with long-term Adderall therapy in children. However, other amphetamine-based medications have been known to stunt growth, so your doctor will need to watch the child carefully.

What are the most common Side Effects?


  • Inability to sleep, nervousness, restlessness, lack of appetite.
  • Dizziness is common. Rise slowly over several minutes from sitting or lying position. Be careful climbing stairs.
  • Dry mouth. Frequent mouth care, sucking hard candy, or chewing gum may help.

Other possible effects:


  • accidental injury,

  • changes in sex drive,

  • constipation,

  • depression,

  • diarrhea,

  • dizziness,

  • dry mouth,

  • emotional instability,

  • exaggerated feelings of well-being,

  • fatigue,

  • fever,

  • headache,

  • high blood pressure,

  • hives,

  • impotence,

  • indigestion,

  • infections,

  • insomnia, loss of appetite,

  • mental disturbances,

  • nausea,

  • nervousness,

  • overstimulation,

  • rapid or pounding heartbeat,

  • restlessness,

  • stomach and intestinal disturbances,

  • tremor,

  • twitches,

  • unpleasant taste,

  • vomiting,

  • weakened heart,

  • weight loss,

  • worsening of tics (including Tourette's syndrome)


Adderall is classified as a Schedule II controlled Substance.
This means:

(A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
(B) The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.
(C) Abuse of the drug or other substances may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.



Adderall is an amphetamine. Amphetamines have a high potential for abuse.  They should be tried only for patients where all alternative therapy has been ineffective.  Long term use can cause addiction and must be avoided. Dextroamphetamine sulfate (Adderall) is a Schedule II controlled substance.

What is a Schedule II controlled substance? 


The substances in this schedule have a high abuse potential with severe psychic or physical dependence liability. Schedule II controlled substances consist of certain narcotic, stimulant and depressant drugs. Some examples of Schedule II narcotic controlled substances are: opium, morphine, codeine, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), methadone, pantopon, meperidine (Demerol), cocaine, oxycodone (Percodan), and oxymorphone (Numorphan). Also in Schedule 11 are amphetamine (Dexedrine/Adderall), methamphetamine (Desoxyn), phemnetrazine (Preludin), methylphenidate (Ritalin), amobarbital, pentobarbital, secobarbital, fentanyl (Sublimaze), sufentanil, etorphine hydrochloride, phenylacetone, dronabinol and nabilone.

Problems: Tolerance, extreme psychological dependence, and severe social disability have occurred. There are reports of patients who have increased the dosage to many times that recommended. Abrupt cessation following prolonged high dosage administration results in extreme fatigue and mental depression; changes are also noted on the sleep EEG. Manifestations of chronic intoxication with amphetamines include severe dermatoses, marked insomnia, irritability, hyperactivity, and personality changes. The most severe manifestation of chronic intoxication is psychosis, often clinically indistinguishable from schizophrenia. This is rare with oral amphetamines.





Sudden Deaths in Children


Health Canada has suspended marketing of Adderall XR products from the Canadian market due to concern about reports of sudden unexplained death (SUD) in children taking Adderall and Adderall XR.  SUD has been associated with amphetamine abuse and reported in children with underlying cardiac abnormalities taking recommended doses of amphetamines, including Adderall and Adderall XR.  In addition, a very small number of cases of SUD have been reported in children without structural cardiac abnormalities taking Adderall.  At this time, FDA cannot conclude that recommended doses of Adderall can cause SUD, but is continuing to carefully evaluate these data. 




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