Adderall, a popular prescription drug, is a stimulant medication produced by further processing the amphetamine drug. It has gotten its popularity from being able to cure a common mental disorder alongside the euphoric effects it causes its user and its stimulating properties.

Shire Pharmaceutical’s subsidiary Richwood Corporation created the drug back in 1996 in its original instant release form. The ownership then moved to Duramed Pharmaceuticals before Teva Pharmaceuticals acquired it again in 2008.

What Is Adderall Prescribed For?

The Food and Drug Administration primarily approved Adderall for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD among adults and children. ADHD is a disorder that makes it hard for an individual to keep focus or to keep steady for long periods of time. Additionally, some symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity, and Impulsivity.(1)

A study conducted by the National Health Interview Survey between the years 2011 and 2013, found that at least 9.5% of all children aged 4 to 17 years old have some form of ADHD. Furthermore, the disorder is at least twice as prevalent in male children than in females. Lastly, experts expect the occurrence of the disease to increase as years pass by.(2)

Another mental disorder that the FDA has approved Adderall for is narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a sleep-related disorder that causes a person feel extremely sleepy even during the day. It may also cause the person to experience sleep paralysis, hallucinations before and after falling asleep, and cataplexy. (3)

Lastly, many commonly use Adderall as a performance enhancing drug. There are reports of individuals, mostly college students, using the drug to improve their mental capacity during the examination period. Furthermore, some athletes use the drug to enhance their physical performance.

The FDA has not approved these use nor has experts conducted enough research to guarantee their effectiveness and safety. Hence, one must exercise great caution when using Adderall for anything other than what the doctor has prescribed it for.

How Much Adderall Should I Take?

The FDA does not recommend Adderall for children below three years old. However, for those aged 3-5 years, they recommend an initial daily dosage of 2.5 mg. The patient may raise this in weekly intervals until they reach the optimum dosage.

For children and adults aged above six years can take 5 mg as an initial dose. They may also increase this dosage in weekly intervals if they find the dosage ineffective. It is inadvisable, however, to exceed 40 mg a day. Lastly, they recommend that the first dose of the drug be administered upon awakening in the morning, with subsequent doses following after 4 to 6 hours. (4)

How Does Adderall Work?

Adderall is a combination of the salts of an enantiomer of amphetamine. These salts include amphetamine dextroamphetamine sulfate, amphetamine sulfate, aspartate monohydrate, and dextroamphetamine saccharate.

It works by increasing the activity and release of two major hormones in our brain, namely dopamine, and norepinephrine. However, it can also stimulate the production of other hormones, and neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, serotonin, and histamine.


Pastor, Pastor N. et al. (2015). Association between diagnosed ADHD and selected characteristics among children aged 4–17 years: The United States, 2011–2013. NCHS data brief, no 201. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.

Adderall. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2017, from Food and Drug Administration:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2017, from National Institute of Mental Health:

Mignot, E. (n.d.). Center for Narcolepsy. Retrieved September 7, 2017, from Stanford Medicine: