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Dexedrine for ADHD: Basic Facts You Need to Know

ADHD medication Dexedrine
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Dr. David Toomey



Medical Disclaimer
The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs. Read more

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) usually presents itself during childhood and adolescence [1*] . If not diagnosed and treated, it may continue displaying symptoms in adulthood too.

While adult patients could opt for psychotherapy or behavior training to manage the condition, medications remain the primary treatment option. In this post, let’s learn more about the ADHD medication Dexedrine—one of the commonly prescribed options. Below, we’ll review its uses, side effects, and dosages.

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What Is Dexedrine and How Fast Does It Work?

Dexedrine is an ADHD medication whose effects help patients enhance focus and concentration while also decreasing impulsivity and hyperactivity tendencies. It often improves listening skills, task organization and how a patient feels resulting in increased  positivity and energy.

It works like other stimulant medications, increasing the brain’s neurotransmitters (dopamine and norepinephrine) by acting on the central nervous system. Typically after ingestion, it becomes effective between 30-60 minutes.

Dexedrine is available in short-acting tablets [2*] and long-acting capsules (Dexedrine Spansule). Note that in both cases, it is a federally controlled schedule-II substance, and highly regulated due to its potential for abuse and dependence in some individuals.

What Are the Common Uses of Dexedrine?

In addition to ADHD treatment, this medication can be used to treat narcolepsy [3*] , a sleeping disorder, helping patients remain awake during the day. Depending on an individual’s response, the daily dosage for this form of treatment ranges from 5 mg to 60 mg.

What Is the Ideal Dexedrine Dosage for ADHD?

Most ADHD patients that take short-acting tablets will do so two or three times daily. Each dose usually remains effective for four to six hours. For the best results, patients should take the tablets at the same time each day.

On the other hand, the Dexedrine dosage for long-acting capsules is once daily, preferably in the morning. This medication features a time-release formulation that guarantees a steady level of medication all day long (effective for 12 hours). ADHD patients should avoid taking this medication in the evening as it might interfere with good sleep hygiene. 

Long-acting tablets are available in 5 mg, 10 mg, and 15 mg doses, while the short-acting ones only have 5 mg doses. Patients should remember to follow their Dexedrine prescription instructions accurately. Most doctors prescribe the lowest Dexedrine dosage for adults with ADD at the beginning of treatment and increase it gradually based on symptoms.

In some cases, the prolonged usage of Dexedrine for ADHD in adults could lead to tolerance to the medication. Patients should assess how their dosages control symptoms and schedule regular meetings with their doctors for pertinent feedback regarding symptom management.

Always follow the treatment guidelines given by your doctor. We are ready to answer your questions or adjust your treatment plan if needed.

Who Should Avoid This Medication?

While Dexedrine is useful for ADHD treatment, it might not be suitable for patients who:

  • Have allergies to dextroamphetamine
  • Experiencing unresolved marked anxiety
  • Have overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
  • Diagnosed with glaucoma
  • Have heart disease
  • Have moderate-to-severe high blood pressure
  • In an agitated state of mind

Given that amphetamines can increase blood pressure, it is always helpful to report a family history of heart issues to the doctor. During treatment, the doctor will monitor vital signs to ensure that patients remain safe.

Female patients should keep in touch with their doctors, especially if they are pregnant, nursing, or considering getting pregnant. Breastfeeding while taking medication might not be advisable as Dexedrine can affect the child.

What is Dexedrine

Dexedrine: Side Effects

Typically, most patients do not experience any side effects while taking Dexedrine. However, it is important to be aware of them. Common ones include:

  • Low appetite
  • Tremors
  • Weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Stomach upset
  • Decreased appetite [4*]
  • Eyesight issues
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Seizures

Doctors could periodically ask patients to pause their dosage to monitor ADHD symptoms during treatment. Typically, the doctor will evaluate the weight, check blood pressure, and monitor any side effects of the medication. If a patient has any significant problems, they’ll need to discontinue treatment.

However, doctors advise patients who experience seizures or severe allergic reactions to stop taking medication. Also, anyone with thoughts of self-harm while taking Dexedrine should seek prompt medical attention. 

Experiencing any side effects? Consult with a doctor and get your treatment adjusted.

Dexedrine Vs. Adderall

Both Dexedrine and Adderall are stimulant medications ideal for treating ADHD. They both have forms of amphetamine, a synthetic compound that stimulates the central nervous system.

It is important to note that this compound has two active forms: Levo(l)-amphetamine and Dextro(d)-amphetamine. Dexedrine features d-amphetamine, while Adderall has a 3:1 mixture of d-amphetamine and l-amphetamine.

D-amphetamine is considered the more potent active form, meaning that Dexedrine might be more powerful and deliver faster results than other ADHD meds. On the flip side, people looking to experience euphoric effects can abuse Dexedrine pills due to their quick stimulant effects.

Like Dexedrine, Adderall is available in short-acting tablets and extended-release (Adderall XR) capsules. However, Adderall has a wider range of available dosage forms (5, 10, 15, 20, 30 mg) than Dexedrine. The dose of Dexedrine is roughly 25% stronger than Adderall; therefore, the following formula can be applied when converting the Adderall dose to Dexedrine.

Dexedrine dose = Adderall dose × 0.75

However, any dosage conversion or switching of medication should be done under the supervision of an expert ADHD doctor.

Both Dexedrine and Adderall have the same half-life of about six hours and reach peak concentration in the body in about one to three hours. This means that the short-acting tablets require multiple doses during the day to effectively manage ADHD symptoms.

The FDA classifies both compounds as Schedule II medications, meaning these medications have a high tendency for abuse or addiction. Also, they typically share similar side effects.

Always Heed a Physician's Instructions

While this guide presents information regarding the medication Dexedrine, it should not replace your conversation with a doctor. Working closely with a prescriber ensures that patients take a holistic approach to dealing with ADHD. To consult with an experienced mental health professional, contact MEDvidi today.


4 sources
  1. ADHD symptoms and subtypes: relationship between childhood and adolescent symptoms. (2007)
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  2. Dexedrine
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  3. New developments in the management of narcolepsy. (2017)
    Source link
  4. The anorectic effect of dexamphetamine sulphate. (1968)
    Source link
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Dr. David Toomey



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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.