What dose of Adderall someone should take depends on several factors. Taking too high of a dose can lead to dangerous effects and even overdose.
Many medications come in multiple doses. Adderall, a potentially addictive stimulant mainly used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is no different. If you or a loved one take Adderall, it is important that your dose is not only safe and effective but also appropriate for your needs.
What Is Adderall Used For?
Adderall is an FDA-approved medication for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that comes in short- and long-acting dosage forms. The short-acting version is also approved for narcolepsy. However, Adderall is used off-label as an add-on therapy to treat conditions like depression and cognitive improvement in older adults with dementia. The drug is a Schedule II stimulant meaning it carries a high risk of abuse, addiction and dependence.
Adderall Generic Name
Adderall is the brand name of a combination drug that mixes amphetamine and its chemical cousin dextroamphetamine. Dextroamphetamine is also known as d-amphetamine, while amphetamine itself is a combination of dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine. You might find Adderall listed under its generic names like:
- Dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate and amphetamine sulfate
- D-amphetamine and l-amphetamine salts
- Amphetamine saccharate and d, l-amphetamine aspartate
What Does Adderall Look Like?
Adderall looks different depending on both the dose and the exact product:
Short-acting Adderall IR comes as tablets.
- Adderall 5 mg is a white tablet.
- Adderall 7.5 mg and 10 mg are blue tablets.
- Adderall 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg and 30 mg are yellow tablets.
You can easily tell the difference between short-acting Adderall IR and long-acting Adderall XR because Adderall XR comes as capsules:
- Adderall XR 5 mg is clear/blue, imprinted with “Adderall XR 5 mg”.
- Adderall XR 10 mg is blue/blue, imprinted with “Adderall XR 10 mg”.
- Adderall XR 15 mg is blue/white, imprinted with “Adderall XR 15 mg”.
- Adderall XR 20 mg is orange/orange, imprinted with “Adderall XR 20 mg”.
- Adderall XR 25 mg is orange/white, imprinted with “Adderall XR 25 mg”.
- Adderall XR 30 mg is clear/orange, imprinted with “Adderall XR 30 mg”.
How Long Does Adderall Last?
Adderall lasts different lengths of time depending on whether a person is taking Adderall IR or Adderall XR. Sometimes, drug interactions can impact how long Adderall lasts. For example, drugs that make the gastrointestinal tract or urine more acidic can make Adderall wear off more quickly, while drugs that make them less acidic can make Adderall last longer than expected. In addition, medications that block the liver enzyme CYP2D6 may make Adderall last longer because this enzyme is involved in breaking down Adderall.
How Long Does Adderall IR Last?
A dose of Adderall IR typically lasts up to 11 hours, although it can wear off quicker in some cases.
How Long Does Adderall XR Last?
A dose of Adderall XR can last around 10 hours in adults, 11 hours in adolescents and 9 hours in children.
How Long Does It Take for Adderall to Kick In?
Adderall IR kicks in within a few hours, reaching its maximum concentration in the blood in around three hours. Adderall XR, on the other hand, kicks in more slowly, reaching its maximum concentration in the blood in around seven hours.
Adderall Dosage for Adults
The starting dose of Adderall is usually 5 mg once or twice daily. The daily dose can then be increased by 5 mg every week until symptoms are controlled. Most people will be able to take 40 mg or less of Adderall per day.
Around 70% of Americans prescribed Adderall take a 30 mg dose. An additional 16.3% take a 10 mg dose.
How Much Is Too Much Adderall?
Taking more Adderall than needed to control your symptoms can be dangerous and lead to unwanted side effects. “Too much” Adderall can vary from person to person. Often, you will know you are taking too high of an Adderall dose because of trouble sleeping or appetite loss. In these cases, your Adderall dose should be lowered. For this reason, your doctor is likely to ask you about your sleep and eating habits if you take Adderall.
An Adderall overdose is possible and is a medical emergency. Symptoms of an Adderall overdose include:
- Rigid muscles
- Fast breathing
- Blood pressure changes
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Heart rhythm problems
Sudden fatigue and low mood after the above symptoms are also signs of Adderall overdose. Deadly overdoses usually occur after a person has had seizures and loses consciousness.
To avoid overdose, it is very important to only take Adderall that has been prescribed to you and never take more of the drug than prescribed or take it more often than prescribed. Doing so can put you at risk of an overdose.
If you suspect someone is having an Adderall overdose, you should immediately call 911.
Adderall Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one struggles with Adderall, you are not alone. Help is here. Our Adderall addiction experts at The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper offer a full continuum of treatment programs to help you overcome Adderall for good. Starting with medical detox, rehab and beyond, we will support your Adderall recovery every step of the way. Don’t wait: contact us today.
Sassi, Karina Lúcia Moreira, et al. “Amphetamine Use in the Elderly: A System[…]ew of the Literature.” Current Neuropharmacology, February 2020. Accessed May 30, 2022.
Drugs.com. “Adderall.” February 1, 2022. Accessed May 30, 2022.
Drugs.com. “Adderall XR.” March 1, 2022. Accessed May 30, 2022.
ClinCalc. “Dextroamphetamine; Dextroamphetamine Sac[…]mphetamine Aspartate.” Accessed May 30, 2022.
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.