What Are The Differences Between Dexedrine And Adderall?

Dexedrine, also known as Dextroamphetamine, is an enantiomer of the central nervous system stimulant amphetamine. Enantiomer means the two drugs are incredibly similar except that the molecules of the one compound are arranged as if it is the mirror image of the other.

The brand came to light back in 1935 when the pharmaceutical company Smith, Kline & French (now GlaxoSmithKline) rebranded the compound as a treatment for ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity. However, prior to that, Dextroamphetamine already existed as bronchodilator under its original name Benzedrine.

Similarly, Adderall came from the salts of the drug Dextroamphetamine. It is a powerful drug that can treat various mental disorders such as ADHD.  Shire Pharmaceutical’s subsidiary Richwood Pharmaceuticals introduced it back in 1996 as an instant-release tablet. Since then, it has become one of the most famous and abused psychoactive drug in the US. (1)

Uses Of Adderall And Dexedrine

The Food and Drug Administration approved both Adderall and Dexedrine for the treatment of the mental disorder ADHD. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a disease that causes a person to have some difficulty maintaining focus or controlling impulses. (2)

Furthermore, both drugs have demonstrated cognition improving properties. Several clinical trials were able to show that therapeutic or low dosage use of both Adderall and Dexedrine can improve a person’s working memory, inhibition control, initiative, and attention. (3)

They have also been shown to be able to improve the physical performance of those who take the drug. Hence, prompting most sports regulatory commissions to ban the drug except for health related uses.

Lastly, as both drugs are closely similar, they also possess anti-narcolepsy properties. A narcolepsy is a rare form of sleep disorder that causes a person to suddenly fall asleep at any time of the day. It can manifest in many ways such as catalepsy, excessive daytime sleepiness. (4)

Also Read: Strattera Vs Adderall

Side Effects Of Adderall And Dexedrine

As they are both derivatives of the chemical amphetamine, Adderall and Dexedrine demonstrate almost the same types of side effects. Both drugs can cause hypertension or hypotension, Raynaud’s phenomenon (reduced blood flow to the hands and feet), and increased heart rate.

Furthermore, clinical studies were able to show the other common side effects of the two drugs include appetite loss, abdominal pain, nausea, and weight loss. Some sexual side effects may also include erectile dysfunction or prolonged erections.

Nevertheless, both drugs also possess some positive side effects such as increased alertness, apprehension, concentration, initiative, self-confidence, and sociability, insomnia or wakefulness, and decreased sense of fatigue. However, an episode of mild depression may follow after these effects wear out.

Effects On Pregnant Women

The US FDA has given both Dexedrine and Adderall a category C with regards to pregnancy. This means, only animal studies were able to show significant adverse effects on developing fetuses. Furthermore, more human studies are needed to fully establish the consequences of the drugs on unborn human fetuses.

Nevertheless, FDA does not rule out the possibility of the drugs affecting unborn fetuses. Furthermore, as the drugs are highly addictive, withdrawal symptoms may manifest in newly born children from mothers who took the medications during pregnancy.

Can Adderall And Dexedrine Be Taken Together?

Adderall and Dexedrine are both stimulant drugs. Hence, taking them at the same time may increase the risk of adverse side effects. Furthermore, there have been reports of people experiencing intense palpitations a few hours after taking both drugs together.

Taking the two drugs together can also increase the risk of tolerance and addiction as both drugs can be highly addictive is misused. Remember to take drugs only as prescribed by your physician. Lastly, avoid experimentation with any drug without the prior approval of a trained medical professional.


Ilieva IP, Hook CJ, Farah MJ (January 2015). “Prescription Stimulants’ Effects on Healthy Inhibitory Control, Working Memory

Adderall: The Most Abused Prescription Drug in America. (n.d.). Retrieved 9 2017, September, from HuffingtonPost: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-ronald-ricker-and-dr-venus-nicolino/adderall-the-most-abused_b_619549.html

Dexedrine. (n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2017, from Food and Drug Administration: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/017078s042lbl.pdf

Narcolepsy. (n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2017, from National Health Institute UK: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Narcolepsy/Pages/Introduction.aspx, and Episodic Memory: A Meta-analysis”. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 27: 1–21.