Dextroamphetamine vs Adderall: A Comprehensive Comparison

Written by:
Picture of South Meadows Recovery
South Meadows Recovery
Our methodology:

At South Meadows Recovery, we employ a personalized, evidence-based approach to empower anyone to overcome addiction, regardless of their circumstances.

Blog Categories:
Dextroamphetamine and Adderall

When it comes to managing conditions like ADHD and narcolepsy, stimulant medications like dextroamphetamine and Adderall are often front-line treatments. While both drugs are effective in improving focus, alertness, and controlling symptoms, they are not identical. This article delves into the nuances of dextroamphetamine and Adderall, exploring their similarities, differences, and how they stack up against each other in clinical use.

Dextroamphetamine: A Closer Look

Dextroamphetamine is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant and an amphetamine enantiomer. It’s primarily prescribed for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. As a single-entity amphetamine product, it works by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which helps in improving attention and reducing impulsivity and hyperactivity in patients with ADHD.

Adderall: Understanding the Composition

Adderall, on the other hand, is a combination drug that contains four salts of amphetamine. Two of these are forms of dextroamphetamine, while the other two are forms of a related compound, levoamphetamine. This combination results in a broader spectrum of action and is also used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. The presence of levoamphetamine in Adderall gives it a slightly different pharmacological profile, which can affect its effects on certain individuals.

Dextroamphetamine vs Adderall: Comparing Efficacy and Side Effects

When it comes to efficacy, both medications are highly effective in managing symptoms of ADHD and narcolepsy. However, the response to these medications can vary based on individual biochemistry and the presence of other health conditions. Side effects are also a crucial factor in choosing between the two. Common side effects for both include insomnia, dry mouth, increased heart rate, and anxiety. Dextroamphetamine, being a single compound, might be preferred for its potentially cleaner side effect profile in some patients.

Dosage and Administration

The dosage of these medications is another important consideration. Dextroamphetamine is typically started at a lower dose and adjusted based on the patientā€™s response and tolerability. Adderall, due to its combination nature, might offer more flexibility in dosing, particularly for patients who benefit from the extended-release formulation.


In summary, both dextroamphetamine and Adderall are effective treatments for ADHD and narcolepsy, with each having its unique advantages. The choice between them should be made based on individual patient needs, considering factors like side effects, dosage, and personal response to the medication.