Adderall (Amphetamine)

Adderall, a single-entity amphetamine product combining the neutral sulfate salts of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant used primarily to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A diagnosis of ADHD implies the presence of hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment and that are present before seven years of age causing clinically significant impairment in overall functioning.

In patients with ADHD, it is believed pharmaceutical amphetamines improve brain development and neural consolidation. MRI studies indicate that long-term treatment with amphetamine decreases abnormalities in brain structure and function that characterize ADHD, and improves function in several parts of the brain believed to be involved in the pathogenesis of ADHD, including the right caudate nucleus of the basal ganglia.


Amphetamines are non-catecholamine sympathomimetic amines with central nervous system (CNS) stimulant activity. The mode of therapeutic action in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has not yet been elucidated. It is hypothesized that amphetamines prevent the reuptake dopamine and norepinephrine into the presynaptic neuron and stimulate additional release of these monoamines into the extra-neuronal space. (Adderall Medication Guide, Mar 2007)

Warnings and Contraindications

  • Sudden Death and Preexisting Structural Cardiac Abnormalities or Other Serious Heart Problems - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in February 2011 that CNS stimulant products prescribed for ADHD should be avoided in patients diagnosed with heart problems, or who would react adversely to an increase in blood pressure or heart rate, and advised that patients receiving stimulants be regularly monitored for changes in blood pressure or heart rate.
  • Psychiatric Adverse Events - Use of central nervous system stimulants in patients with a preexisting psychosis, as in bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, may exacerbate symptoms.
  • Long-Term Suppression of Growth - In children receiving treatment with stimulants, data indicates growth rate may be slowed with no evidence of growth rebound.
  • Seizures - Stimulants may lower seizure threshold especially in patients with prior history of seizures.
  • Visual Disturbance - Difficulties with vision blurring and accommodation have been reported with stimulant pharmacotherapy.
  • Addiction and Dependence - CNS stimulants such as amphetamine carry a high risk of addiction, abuse and physiological and/or psychological dependence.

(Adderall Medication Guide, Mar 2007)

Genetic Testing for Adderall

MD Labs' pharmacogenetics program helps health care professional more effectively personalize treatment by identifying patients who may benefit from an alternative drug or dose. Read more about genetic testing for Adderall side effects with MD Labs' pharmacogenetic testing program.