Adderall is a brand-name pharmaceutical psychostimulant composed of mixed amphetamine salts. The drug is used primarily to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. Adderall has also been used successfully to manage severe cases of treatment-resistant depression. Individuals who show little or no response to typical antidepressants--such as the SSRIs and tricyclics--are more likely to respond to psychostimulant therapy. These patients, however, are the exception, rather than the norm amongst depression patients.
Adderall’s inclusion of levoamphetamine provides the pharmaceutical with a quicker onset and longer clinical effect compared to pharmaceuticals exclusively formulated of dextroamphetamine. Although it seems that where the human brain has a preference for dextroamphetamine over levoamphetamine, it has been reported that certain children have a better clinical response to levoamphetamine.
Specifically, Adderall XR is composed of the following proportions of active ingredients:
- 1/4 Adderall dextroamphetamine saccharate
- 1/4 Adderall dextroamphetamine sulfate
- 1/4 Adderall (racemic dextro/laevo-amphetamine) aspartate monohydrate
- 1/4 Adderall (racemic dextro/laevo-amphetamine) sulfate
These four salts are metabolized at different rates and possess diverse half lives, therefore resulting in a less dramatic onset and termination of therapeutic action; as compared to single-salt amphetamine preparations.
The average elimination half-life in adults for dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine is 10 hours and 13 hours respectively. Breakdown rates are affected by many factors including urinary and stomach pH, weight, gender, other medications being taken, and age.
Urinary and stomach pH levels can have the strongest effect on DL-amphetamine excretion and absorption. Co-administration of acidic substances (e.g. citric acid) causes an accelerated excretion of DL-amphetamine while co-administration of alkaline agents (e.g. antacids) causes a marked increase in both retention and absorption of amphetamines potentially resulting in dangerously high serum amphetamine levels.
Adderall`s effects are similar to other CNS stimulants of the same class and preparation.