Adderall is a North American distribution brand name for a compound pharmaceutical generally prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy. Adderall itself is merely a rebranding of the modern Obetrol formulation, a now-discontinued product once typically prescribed as a diet aid which had previously been comprised of 50% methamphetamine. The modern formulation is comprised of 75% dextro-amphetamine (25% dextro-amphetamine saccharate, 37.5% dextro-amphetamine sulfate, and 12.5% dextro-amphetamine aspartate monohydrate) and 25% levo-ampetamine (12.5% levo-amphetamine aspartate monohydrate and 12.5% levo-amphetamine sulfate). In the extended-release (XR) formulation, 50% of the ingredients are released immediately upon ingestion while the remaining 50% is released approximately 4 hours later via time release bead technology. The beads comprising the XR formulation are often crushed by recreational users before being ingested, often nasally, in order to increase the rate of onset and intensity of effects. Generic versions of instant-release (IR) adderall have come under fire in recent years by many users due to widespread experiences of low efficacy and/or increased side effects which remain unexplained. The brand name is held by Shire plc, an Irish corporation.

Introduction to Adderall

Adderall is a pharmaceutical stimulant amphetamine used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. It is also occasionally used in the treatment of severe depression. Adderall was first introduced in 1996 by the British pharmaceutical manufacturer Shire Pharmaceuticals Group. Originally available as an instant release tablet, Adderall is now also available in an extended release formulation (Adderall XR). Adderall instant release tablets are available in a generic version- "mixed amphetamine salts." Shire retained it's patent on Adderall XR until 2007.

Adderall and Adderall XR are both available in doses of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 mg. Amphetamine salts are regulated internationally through United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances and available only by prescription in UN countries.

Unconfirmed sources have stated that Shire is currently developing an even longer variation of their extended release formulation. This new formulation will include three types of beads in order to deliver three doses throughout the day instead of two. This is because many psychiatrists and patients feel that a single XR pill isn't enough to keep someone treated for an entire day, just for 8 hours in either school or work, requiring an instant release dose in the early evening to treat their ADHD after this time .

Using Adderall

Ways of administration:

Swallowing Adderall

Standard Oral Administration: Adderall is intended to be taken orally, at doses from 5-30mg (measured in instant release). Recreational users do use more, however it is not advisable for inexperienced users to exceed 30mg, if not tolerant to the drug. Effects can be felt anywhere from 30-90 minutes after dosing, with a maximum plasma concentration at 3 hours with instant release tablets and 7 hours with extended release capsules. Most of the effects from instant release tablets will wear off after 4-5 hours, while XR will last for 9-10. The strongest effects of the instant release tablets will probably be felt at 90-120 minutes after ingestion. This holds true for XR, despite the second dose. The second dose rarely causes a noticable 'peak' but instead extends the effects at a constant level after the peak.

Parachuting Adderall

Parachuting: This is a variation on oral administration. The idea behind parachuting is that the Adderall will be rendered to a power in order to facilitate faster absorption. In order to parachute Adderall the pill must be turned into a power. With instant release tablets this is just an issue of crushing up the pill. However the extended release beads can be quite difficult to crush. The best method is a mortar and pestle, although a piece of paper and something hard can be equally as effective if done properly. The powder is then either wrapped in a small piece of tissue or toilet paper, or if it was XR placed back in the capsule, and consumed. In the case of XR pills this will obviously destroy the XR mechanism and you will recieve the entire dose at once.

Snorting Adderall

Insuffulation: Adderall can also be snorted if it is crushed into a powder. Again, the XR beads are difficult to crush, so this method is easier with instant release pills. Generally insuffulation doses tend to be similar to oral doses. The effects will be felt, at most, within a few minutes from administration. The effects will be stronger than equal oral doses, but last for a shorter period. In addition, the 'crash' will be more abrupt. Snorting is a good way to conserve Adderall, as small doses (~5mg) can keep someone awake and alert for a few hours.
  • TIP: When Snorting Adderall, the type of pill is very important. While it can be done with any type of pill, one kind might be easier for a specific person. For example, name-brand, instant release Adderall is a very small pill, which means the amount of powder that would need to be insuffulated is very small. Generic, instant release Adderall is a much larger pill (two 20mg name brands contains less powder than one 10mg generic). This means that there will be a greater quantity of powder, however the generic pill filler is a form of sugar, so some users prefer this formulation for the sweet-tasting drip. As for XR pills (which can only be obtained as name brand), they are difficult to break up, but contain less powder than a generic, instant release pill. [Long Answer: It depends on the formulation and mass of the Tablets/Capsulesk, as they all vary. 20mg of Adderall in a 100mg pill will require more to insufflulate than a pill with the same dosage of Adderall in a 50mg pill. ]

Plugging Adderall

Rectal Administration: Adderall can be absorbed through the rectal membrane. The most popular method when using this route of administration is to dissolve crushed Adderall in water and insert the solution with a syringe (no needle, of course). There is little information available on the duration and intensity of effects via this route. Given that the rectal membrane is more absorbant than the membrane in the nose, I would expect that it would hit quickly, strongly, and similarly to insuffulation, but with less duration the stronger it is. If anyone has more information on this it would be appreciated.
IV/IM Injection: Adderall can be injected, but I can't find much information on the practice. I also do not know how safe the binders and other things in the pills are in your muscle tissue and bloodstream. Would appreciate more info on this.

Effects of Adderall

Adderall's effects are similar to other central nervous stimulants. While Adderall's exact mechanism is unknown, it is is believed to work by blocking the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine and increasing their release from the presynaptic neuron into the extraneuronal space. The increased amount of dopamine and norepinephrine in the extraneuronal space causes the brain to experience a more intense level of concentration. This simply means that these neurotransmitters are being released but not reabsorbed, creating an abundance of them and causing an increased ability to focus for extended periods of time, and a heightened interest in performing focus-based tasks.

Common side effects include:
  • Increased energy
  • Insomnia
  • Increased alertness
  • Increased motivation
  • Positive mood/euphoria
  • Dry mouth/lips
  • Increased heart rate
  • Decreased appetite (loss of weight)
  • Change in libido
Other, less common, side effects include;
  • Increased urination
  • Urinary retention
  • Pupil dilation
  • Upset stomach
  • Anxiety/Nervousness
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Fever
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Heart palpitations
  • Vertigo
  • Headache
  • Tics (repetitive, involuntary movement such as scratching neck)
  • Hives
  • Blunted affect (lack of emotional reactivity)
  • Growth impairment in children
Rare side effects include;
  • Amphetamine psychosis (usually in the event of an overdose)
  • Psychotic episodes (rare, but at recommended doses)
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Sudden death
  • Stroke

Combinations with Adderall

Amphetamines, Adderall included, have a number of interactions users should be aware of. They are:
  • Acidifying agents - Gastrointestinal acidifying agents (guanethidine, reserpine, glutamic acid HCl, ascorbic acid, fruit juices, etc.) lower absorption of amphetamines.
  • Urinary acidifying agents - (ammonium chloride, sodium acid phosphate, etc.) Increase the concentration of the ionized species of the amphetamine molecule, thereby increasing urinary excretion. Both groups of agents lower blood levels and efficacy of amphetamines.
  • Adrenergic blocker - Adrenergic blockers are inhibited by amphetamines.
  • Alkalinizing agents - Gastrointestinal alkalinizing agents (sodium bicarbonate, etc.) increase absorption of amphetamines. Urinary alkalinizing agents (acetazolamide, some thiazides) increase the concentration of the non-ionized species of the amphetamine molecule, thereby decreasing urinary excretion. Both groups of agents increase blood levels and therefore potentiate the actions of amphetamines.
  • Antidepressants, tricyclic - Amphetamines may enhance the activity of tricyclic or sympathomimetic agents; d-amphetamine with desipramine or protriptyline and possibly other tricyclics cause striking and sustained increases in the concentration of d-amphetamine in the brain; cardiovascular effects can be potentiated.
  • MAO inhibitors - MAOI antidepressants, as well as a metabolite of furazolidone, slow amphetamine metabolism. This slowing potentiates amphetamines, increasing their effect on the release of norepinephrine and other monoamines from adrenergic nerve endings; this can cause headaches and other signs of hypertensive crisis. A variety of neurological toxic effects and malignant hyperpyrexia can occur, sometimes with fatal results.
  • Antihistamines - Amphetamines may counteract the sedative effect of antihistamines.
  • Antihypertensives - Amphetamines may antagonize the hypotensive effects of antihypertensives.
  • Chlorpromazine - Chlorpromazine blocks dopamine and norepinephrine receptors, thus inhibiting the central stimulant effects of amphetamines, and can be used to treat amphetamine poisoning.
  • Ethosuximide - Amphetamines may delay intestinal absorption of ethosuximide.
  • Haloperidol - Haloperidol blocks dopamine receptors, thus inhibiting the central stimulant effects of amphetamines.
  • Lithium carbonate - The anorectic and stimulatory effects of amphetamines may be inhibited by lithium carbonate.
  • Meperidine - Amphetamines potentiate the analgesic effect of meperidine.
  • Methenamine therapy - Urinary excretion of amphetamines is increased, and efficacy is reduced, by acidifying agents used in methenamine therapy.
  • Norepinephrine - Amphetamines enhance the adrenergic effect of norepinephrine.
  • Phenobarbital - Amphetamines may delay intestinal absorption of phenobarbital; co-administration of phenobarbital may produce a synergistic anticonvulsant action.
  • Phenytoin - Amphetamines may delay intestinal absorption of phenytoin; co-administration of phenytoin may produce a synergistic anticonvulsant action.
  • Propoxyphene - In cases of propoxyphene overdosage, amphetamine CNS stimulation is potentiated and fatal convulsions can occur.
  • Veratrum alkaloids - Amphetamines inhibit the hypotensive effect of veratrum alkaloids.

Adderall & Recreational Drugs

Recreationally, Adderall can be combined with a number of drugs for those looking for specific effects that can only be achieved through such a combination. Information on such combinations is very scarce because it can only be based upon subjective user experiences. Combining Adderall with any other drug can be potentially dangerous so users should make sure they know what they're doing before attempting any combination. I will compile as much information on other combinations as possible, but please keep in mind that there probably won't be much scientific research on them. This means that any or all of these combinations can have risks we don't know about. Use common sense and make sure you know what you're doing before combining Adderall with any other drug. The following drug combinations are provided by information on these forums and contributed user experience. This information is not based on any one specific person's experience, including my own. It is merely a collection of information.
  • Nicotine - While the effects of nicotine are generally considered to be mild when compared to any other drug, if you smoke cigarettes you will fiend for them while on Adderall. It is not uncommon for someone who is just a social smoker to go out for a smoke and end up chain-smoking three or four cigarettes just because of how enjoyable they are on Adderall. If you're a social smoker and use Adderall somewhat frequently I would be very careful about combining the two if you don't want to start an addiction. If you're not a new smoker, you probably don't feel much of an effect from nicotine without Adderall, and you definitely won't feel much of an effect with Adderall. You'll just be compelled to smoke more cigarettes. That being said, if you're a smoker and you like being a smoker, you'll love smoking cigarettes on Adderall.
  • Marijuana - Marijuana is generally believed to be safe to consume with Adderall. Those who have tried such a combination report that the euphoric effects of marijuana, including the body high, are added to that of the Adderall. The Adderall seems to cancel out the mental "dumbing" caused by marijuana, including the sensation from a heavy, sleepy high. In addition, some recommend the use of marijuana on Adderall if one is in a situation where they are studying but thinking faster than they work. That is, having a hard time to write a paper, for example, becuase they're thinking of ideas faster than they can type them out, or can't stay on topic. It is also reported to be useful to calm someone down if they're jittery or can't sleep. Marijuana tolerence increases greatly when one is on Adderall, so don't expect to get very high. It is possible to increase the strength of the unique high the two provide, but it is a kind of high that really wouldn't make you feel like you need to stop smoking. While studying on Adderall it is possible to smoke too much that you cancel out the positive mental effects of Adderall and render the drug useless for studying. It is fairly easy to do this or at least slow yourself down a little more than you may have wanted, so make sure you know how much to take before trying to combine them the night before an exam.
  • Alcohol - Alcohol is probably one of the most popular combination choices, perhaps surpassing marijuana. Many people use Adderall to offset the negative aspects of alcohol and partying. However, combining Adderall and alcohol can be potentially dangerous so extreme caution should be used if such an attempt is made. Adderall will dampen your body's natural response to being tired, too intoxicated, and a combination of both. You won't be able to use "how you feel" to gauge accurately if you've had enough. Users report being able to stay up, drink, and party without getting too drunk or getting tired. As such, particular care must be taken to prevent alcohol poisoning. The effect of Adderall on alcohol tolerence isn't particularly well documented, but as a rule of thumb you shouldn't drink near your regular limit. Adderall and alcohol will both dehydrate you and if you throw partying into the mix the physical activity will dehydrate you even further. Make sure you consider the fact that you won't know how tired you are and that you'll be putting physical strain on your body before deciding how much to drink. If Adderall is being used to supplement drinking, a high dose is generally not needed to achieve the desired effects.
  • Benzodiazepines - Benzodiazepines include drugs such as Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. It is not uncommon for these drugs to be prescribed with Adderall in the treatment of just ADHD or ADHD and general anxiety disorder. When prescribed to a patient with just ADHD it is usually used to treat the negative aspects of the crash such as anxiety, agitation, insomnia, and depression. When prescribed to a patient with ADHD and general anxiety disorder the patient will take the benzodiazepine either with or during an Adderall dose in order to treat their anxiety and ADHD. It is commonly accepted that combining uppers and downers is not an advisable practice, but a psychiatrist will allow a patient to use both simultaneously in situations that require it. As for the recreational value of combining the two, there is not much information available. Benzodiazepines definitely have some effect on Adderall, but it would seem it wouldn't be too far from both drugs if it could be prescribed. That is, if the combination made the benzodiazepine not prevent anxiety or the Adderall not treat ADHD than they wouldn't be prescribed together. Of course I have no information on doses of both, so it can't be said much of either would be sufficient or safe. As such, it is recommend not combining Adderall with a benzodiazepine unless it's under a dotor's supervision
  • Kava - Even though Kava is somewhat similar to benzodiazepines, it seems to be safer to take as it is not nearly strong as a pharmaceutical. People report that using Kava with Adderall can be particularly beneficial if studying. The effects of the combination are somewhat similar to that of marijuana. However reports generally claim that Kava doesn't really slow your thinking down as much as it calms you down. People who get jittery on Adderall, develop a temporary tic, or who feel too "speedy" to focus can benefit from Kava. It can help them settle down and focus on their task. Doses of Kava seem to be typical size when combining, and it is quite a safe substance so you can play around with doses until you find what works well for you.
  • Cocaine - Combining cocaine with Adderall is very dangerous as both are stimulants. Combining the two will put tremendous strain on your heart and could be potentially damaging to your cardiovascular system. There is not much information on the effects when combining both because it is pretty obvious that combining the two is dangerous. I know people have combined the two before so it can definitely be done safely, but it would probably be easier to screw up and do something dangerous than get it right. Should you choose to combine the two please exercise extreme caution and do the proper research first. Also make sure you start small, maybe 5mg of Adderall and one or two lines of Cocaine. The point is be safe and don't overdo it.

Different Uses for Adderall

Adderall is widely used both by people with prescriptions and people who obtain it illegally. Those who obtain it illegally do so for any combination of reasons, not limited to the euphoric 'high' that amphetamines provide, the increased mental activity, the ability to stay awake for long periods of time and not feel tired. Adderall has a high potential for abuse and can be dependence forming, so care should be taken in dosing, especially with illicit use.

Adderall and other pharmaceutical stimulants are popular among students as academic steroids. Many students specifically request Adderall from their doctors or buy it illegally because of its academic performance enhancing qualities. Students use Adderall to stay awake and study, remain focused, and stay interested in the material they have to study. A less common use by students is using Adderall at parties to continue staying awake and alert despite consuming alcohol. Using Adderall to party longer is not uncommon amongst all recreational users, not just students. Extreme care should be taken when consuming alcohol with Adderall. Because Adderall offsets some of the less-desirable effects of alcohol, alcohol poisoning can be a risk for those not keeping track of how much they drank. In addition, alcohol poisoning or sickness will probably set in sooner due to the fact that both alcohol and Adderall cause dehydration. Combining the two can be done safely, but only if extreme care is taken to not take too much of either.

Pharmacology of Adderall

Dextroamphetamine saccharate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, racemic amphetamine aspartate, and racemic amphetamine sulfate each make up 25% of Adderall's formulation. Amphetamine triggers the release of a large amount of norepinephrine and dopamine from synaptic vesicles and prevents their degradation by inhibiting monoamine oxidase enzymes. Amphetamine also competes with endogenous catecholamine neurotransmitters at their receptors and thus and slows their re-uptake in the brain, thereby increasing the time they spend in the synaptic cleft.

Dextroamphetamine is a far more potent releasing agent of dopamine than levoamphetamine, and as such, dextroamphetamine accounts for the majority of the euphoria that users experience on amphetamines. Levoamphetamine has greater effects on norepinephrine, and is therefore very efficient at promoting wakefulness and reducing hunger. However, some prefer a product that is 100% dextroamphetamine (e.g. Dexedrine) due to the occasionally unpleasant effects that levoamphetamine can elicit.

The dangers of Adderall

Adderall is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States due to its high potential for abuse. Amphetamines and amphetamine-containing products are highly addictive and as such risk of abuse is high.

Amphetamine psychosis is a common sign of Adderall overdose. The psychosis can include visual and auditory hallucinations coupled with a zombie-like mental state. Early stages of psychosis can be treated by a benzodiazepine such as Alprazolam or Clonazepam and sleep. Psychosis will be exacerbated by more amphetamines and staying awake.

Chemistry of Adderall

Relevant chemical data can be found in the amphetamine wiki

Shire claims that this provides a smoother climb and decline in effects when compared to a single salt due to the fact that the different salts are metabolized at different rates. The average elimination half-life for dextroamphetamine is 10 hours in adults, while the average time is 13 hours for levoamphetamine. However "there is little evidence to support this claim for immediate-release. A recent patent application for Adderall (USP #6,384,020) was a pharmaceutical composition patent listing a rapid immediate release oral dosage form. No claim of increased or smooth drug delivery was made. A recent double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study, conducted among children, indicated that patients behaved similarly to other immediate release amphetamines. The authors found that sustained-release dexamphetamine (the main isomeric-amphetamine component of Adderall) had a longer duration of action, and cost less than Adderall, though dexamphetamine was less effective in the first few hours." [1] Despite this, both claims lack enough evidence to say with certainty if the mixture provides smoother onset and decline of effects.

The ingredients and proportions of Adderall XR are the same as instant release Adderall. However the dose is delivered via the Microtrol delivery system in order to provide for an extended release action. This system consists of a capsule full of beads, each of which contain a share of the medication. Half of the beads are designed to dissolve immediately, while the other half is released four hours later. Through this mechanism, maximum plasma concentration is achieved in seven hours. In comparison, immediate release Adderall achieves maximum plasma concentration by three hours.

Forms of Adderall

Adderall instant release can be obtained as a name brand product from Shire or as a generic product from many different generic pharmaceutical manufacturers. Shire currently still has the patent on the release system in Adderall XR and so Adderall XR can only be obtained as a name brand product. The patent expiration date has passed a few times but Shire has continued to delay it through litigation. The exact status of when Adderall XR will lose its patent is unknown.

Legal status of Adderall

United Nations

Adderall should only be administered to those with a valid prescription and valid diagnosis. The UN believes that stimulant abuse is a problem and is trying to find a way to decrease the amount of people who abuse stimulants. For more information visit:


Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States making it illegal to possess or purchase without a prescription.


Adderall is a Class B controlled substance in the UK making it illegal to possess without a valid prescription.

History of Adderall

Adderall was first introduced in 1996 by Shire Pharmaceuticals Group, a British pharmaceutical manufacturer. Originally only available as an instant release tablet, Adderall is also now available in an extended release formulation (Adderall XR).


1. Wikipedia Adderall & Amphetamine articles
2. Shire Adderall Information
3. United States FDA Adderall Information

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