Adderall vs. Ritalin

Adderall
Ritalin

While Adderall is considered more addictive, Ritalin has more adverse side effects, particularly during long-term use. This comparison examines the applications, efficacy, dosage, side effects, withdrawal and abuse potential for Adderall and Ritalin, psychostimulant drugs prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

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Adderall

User Rating (329):

Ritalin

User Rating (187):
Type of drug Psychostimulant Psychostimulant
Used to treat ADHD, narcolepsy ADHD, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and narcolepsy.
Active Ingredient mixed amphetamine salts - Dextroamphetamine and Levoamphetamine. 25% is the inactive L-enantiomer. Methylphenidate
Legal status ℞ Prescription only;Schedule II (US) and Schedule I (CA) ℞ Prescription only; Controlled (S8) (AU) Schedule III (CA) POM (UK) Schedule II (US)
Dosage Tablet taken 2-3 times daily, 4-6 hours apart - dosages vary. Extended release ("XR") capsules taken once daily - XR capsules available in 10 mg, 20 mg and 30 mg. Tablets taken 2-3 times a day before meals. Extended-release tablets taken once or twice a day. The capsules should be taken once a day in the morning
Forms Available Tablet or extended-release capsule Immediate release tablet, extended-release capsule, extended-release tablet
Off-label use Depression, obesity, sleep cycle disorders Lethargy, depression, obesity
Introduction Adderall is a brand name of amphetamine salts-based medication used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, legal only in the United States and Canada. Ritalin is the trade name for Methylphenidate which is a psychostimulant drug approved for treatment of ADHD or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and narcolepsy.
Manufacturer Shire Novartis
Routes (Medical) Oral, (Recreational) Oral, Insufflated, Intravenous Oral and Transdermal
Prescription for Ages 10-19 (2011,US) 1.6 million 263,000
Addictive? Yes Yes – dosage should be slowly reduced before stopping
Restrictions Should not be taken during pregnancy or alongside MAOIs Should not be taken during pregnancy or alongside tricyclic antidepressants or MAOIs. Should not be taken by people who suffer from arrhythmia, hypertension or liver damage.
Effect Increases amount of dopamine and norepinephrine between synapses in the brain. Increases amount of dopamine and norepinephrine between synapses in the brain
Withdrawal symptoms Extreme fatigue, insomnia, irritability and mental depression Psychosis, depression, irritability, temporary worsening of ADHD symptoms
Side effects Weight loss, insomnia, headaches, irritability, increased muscle tension, anxiety, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, dry mouth, reduced efficacy over time. Nervousness, drowsiness, insomnia. Can cause psychosis with long-term use
Refillable? No No
Generic Available? Yes Yes
Trade names Adderall, Adderall XR Concerta, Methylin, Ritalin
Pregnancy cat. C (US) C (US)
AHFS monograph monograph
Dependence liability High Lower as compared to Adderall

Contents: Adderall vs Ritalin

Adderall
Adderall

edit Effect

Both Adderall and Ritalin increase the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine between synapses in the brain.

edit Uses

Ritalin and Adderall have broadly similar applications. Both drugs are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Some doctors also prescribe them for depression and obesity.

In addition, Adderall is sometimes prescribed to treat sleep cycle disorders. Ritalin can be used to treat postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and treatment-resistant cases of lethargy. Ritalin can also be used to help individuals who are dependent on methamphetamine.

In the following video Psychiatrist Dr. Edward Fruitman, M.D. and Medical Director of Trifecta Health Medical Center explains how he decides whether to prescribe Ritalin or Adderall to adults who have ADHD.

edit Dosage

Adderall is available in either tablet or extended-release capsule form. The tablets are usually meant to be taken 2-3 times every day at 4-6 hour intervals. For individuals aged 6 or over, dosage begins with 5mg once or twice daily and can be increased by increments of 5 mg every week. The dose rarely exceeds 30 mg. The capsule is taken once a day in the morning and should be swallowed whole, or opened and the contents sprinkled on apple sauce. Adults taking the capsule usually receive a dosage of 20 mg a day, while children and adolescents usually start with 10 mg a day before the dosage is increased.

A comparison of popular ADHD medications Focalin, Adderall, Vyvanse and Ritalin.
A comparison of popular ADHD medications Focalin, Adderall, Vyvanse and Ritalin.

Ritalin is available in immediate-release tablets, intermediate-acting extended release tablets, or long-acting extended release capsules. The regular tablets are taken two to three times a day, preferably 35 to 40 minutes before meals. All should be taken before 6pm. The intermediate-acting release tablet should be taken once or twice a day, in the morning and early afternoon, 30 to 45 minutes before food. The long-acting extended release capsule is taken once a day in the morning. All must be swallowed whole or split open and sprinkled onto apple sauce. The average dosage is 20 to 30 mg per day, but some people may receive up to 60 mg.

edit Efficacy

A study published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1999 compared the efficacy and time-course of Ritalin and Adderall. Researchers found that Adderall was generally more effective than Ritalin after a few hours, especially for low doses. Generally, lower doses of Adderall produced effects comparable to higher doses of Ritalin, and clinical recommendations favored Adderall for long term treatment.

edit Side Effects

Adderall may cause a temporary decrease in growth rate but does not affect eventual adult height. It may decrease appetite, leading to weight loss. It can cause insomnia, headaches, increased muscle tension, irritability, and anxiety, as well as an increased risk of cardiac problems.

The most common side effects of Ritalin are nervousness, drowsiness and insomnia. Less common side effects include abdominal pain, loss of hair, chest pain, appetite loss, blood pressure change, dizziness, euphoria, headache, hypersensitivity, nausea, and somnolence. It can slow growth rate in adolescents. Studies suggest that 6% of children who use Ritalin become psychotic after months or years of use; these symptoms fade after they stop taking the drug. Individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder typically have earlier onset of the disorder if they took Ritalin in childhood.

edit Restrictions

Adderall should not be taken during early pregnancy or within two weeks of taking any MAOI medication. It causes a risk of serotonin syndrome when combined with SSRIs.

Ritalin should also not be taken during pregnancy or within two weeks of taking any MAOI medications. It should also not be combined with tricyclic antidepressants or be taken by patients with severe arrhythmia, hypertension, liver damage, drug-seeking behavior, or pronounced nervousness. Special care should be taken in patients with epilepsy, as it can lower the seizure threshold. When combined with adrenergic drugs, it increases the risk of liver toxicity, and when combined with SSRIs like Zoloft or Lexapro, it can cause hypertension, hypothermia and convulsions.

edit Withdrawal

Adderall is a habit-forming drug. When an individual stops taking Adderall, they may experience extreme fatigue, insomnia, irritability and mental depression.

Ritalin withdrawal can occur if an individual stops taking the drug suddenly. The symptoms include psychosis, depression, irritability and a temporary worsening of the original ADHD symptoms.

edit Abuse

Adderall and Ritalin are both often used by college students to increase concentration. Adderall is the more popular of the two.

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Comments: Adderall vs Ritalin

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Anonymous comments (5)

April 19, 2014, 3:15pm

this medicine has done miracles.for her

— 107.✗.✗.180
1

April 19, 2014, 3:14pm

I'm sorry my child is 5 and adhd. shehas a severe case. she squirms, she can't sit still for more than a minute. she was falling behind. she didn't have child friends. she couldn't even watch cartoons because her hands and legs bobbed rapidly. at night in her sleep she twirled her hair so bad that it got stuck on her.fingers and was in a huge knot. then she started sidereal. before adderall she couldn't count or do abcs. but she could do all colors and shapes. now since adderrall she has excelled in 3 months shes doing abcs numbers actually coloring in the lines before she scribbled. she actually plays with toys now instead of tearing them apart. she watches tv. she has done well. She's made friends were as before she terrorized kids. adderral has made her fit in in a society that is screwed. she drove me nuts. but is a perfectly good kid. She truly needed this, school wouldn't even keep her now yes.

— 107.✗.✗.180
0

April 14, 2014, 10:32am

quote 'these drugs are bad for you'
Do you have ADHD? I do, and whether or not it is 'bad', it has given me the opportunity to fit in this crazy and f****d up society.
No more impulsive behaviour, finally able to concentrate on things that do not excite me. Finally I can plan ahead and do not only live from day to day any more.
The only bad thing I have to endure is that my creativity has come to minimum or even halt...

I have ADHD, but it is a myth!! I know, it seems contradictory, but in an unnatural society some have to take pills to suppress who they are to fit in.

World of fools...

— 62.✗.✗.241
0

November 13, 2013, 4:33pm

so is every other pill on the market but at least these help people who suffer day to day with ADD and or ADHD and help them to live normally

— 12.✗.✗.254
0

October 29, 2013, 4:42am

These drugs are bad for you

— 68.✗.✗.3
-12

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