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Adderall vs Ritalin – Benefits, Problems

One Ritalin Pill

Adderall vs Ritalin:

By the time you’re done reading this article, you will know how Adderall and Ritalin compare.  Is one better than the other?

If you want to know what Ritalin actually is and how it works, see here.

And are you confused by all your medication options?  (Ritalin, Adderall, Focalin, Vyvanse, Intuniv, Metadate, Pemoline – and that’s just getting started!)  Figure things out – a Full List of ADHD Medications tells you what you need to know.

The Chemical difference

Ritalin goes to brain cells and stops them from taking up dopamine and norepinephrine, which are chemicals associated with focus, motivation and pleasure.  That increases the amount of them in the general space between cells.

Adderall does the exact same thing.  It also, however, goes inside cells and makes them pump out dopamine.  It not only blocks the reuptake of the substance but also acts to increase its levels directly.

It is this mechanism that may explain itsslightly higher strength in some ways.

More about Ritalin

Ritalin is the most commonly prescribed stimulant for ADHD, far outselling Adderall, but this doesn’t mean it’s better.  It’s just been out a lot longer.  Ritalin and ADHD are pretty much synonyms, and that association makes a big difference in doctors’ prescribing habits.

Chemically, Ritalin is derived from an amphetamine and has very similar biochemical behavior.

It is a very effective treatment for ADHD.  Roughly 55% of those who use Ritalin experience benefit. Combined with therapy, however, that number goes up to 70% or even 80%.

The reason for this difference is likely that Ritalin, at the right dose, enables you to perform in a less “ADHD” style, but you still have to learn how to do so.

You can get Ritalin in an instant release (IR) and extended release (XR) form.  On the one hand, extended release means more consistency and more convenience.  On the other hand, instant release might provide more of a “punch” so to speak.

Clinicians we’ve spoken to tend to highly prefer the extended release form as it is less variable and makes life a lot easier than instant release.


More on Adderall

Adderall is a mix of amphetamine salts, and it works about as well as Ritalin. It too is available in IR and XR form. It’s become increasingly popular since its introduction in the 90s. And it might just be a little stronger than Ritalin.

Some studies show that kids need to take 2 instant release pills of Ritalin to cover a day at school, while 1 IR of Adderall works similarly well. It is possible that an instant release of Adderall works for 5-6 hours, although officially, it is supposed to work 3-4 hours.  Molecule for molecule Adderall is more potent. But that might just mean you take less of it than Ritalin.

Some other studies show that Adderall produces a slight advantage over Ritalin in treating certain symptoms. One study showed that Adderall had significant advantage in keeping people on task and helping stay focused.  But please take that study in context.  It wasn’t a rigorous clinical trial, and only examined 37 patients.

Larger, more scientific studies have also shown a slight advantage of Adderall over Ritalin.  The difference is so small that in any one given study it might not mean anything. What makes it significant is that the slight advantage of Adderall seems to occur in multiple studies.

More interesting is that people who start Adderall might be more likely to keep on using it than Ritalin.

And in a summer school study at SUNY Buffalo, Adderall was viewed to be slightly more effective. Staff clinicians especially liked it, favoring it 3 to 1 over Ritalin, but of course they weren’t the ones taking it.


Dr. Tuckman, a clinician who has treated hundreds, if not thousands, of adults with ADHD has this to say: Roughly 1/3 of people with ADHD respond best to a Ritalin type medication, 1/3 to an amphetamine type such as Adderall and Vyvanse, and 1/3 respond equally well to both.

So Adderall and Ritalin are about as effective for treating ADHD, and some people respond better to one or the other.

Side Effects:

Adderall may be slightly stronger than Ritalin. It may also have slightly different side effects. One clinician’s study showed that Adderall was less likely to cause anxiety and agitation, while being more likely to cause insomnia.

Adult ADHD:

ADHD can be a lot different in adults than in children.  If you are concerned that you have ADHD and are over 18, see an ADHD Test Made for Adults.

Learn what the 4 Secrets To Success with ADHD are – it could really help you understand what’s going on in your life.

Related Articles:

  1. Long Term Effects of Adderall
  2. Adderall vs Vyvanse
  3. What’s the Story with Intuniv?
  4. Is There a Physical Test for ADHD?

If prescription medication isn’t working you might wish to consider natural options. Please do your research, this is not a recommendation

Improve Focus and Reduce Inattentiveness

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  1. I have Adult ADHD. I have been on ritalin for years. I am being prescribed 20mg 3X a day. It is IR. I tried to get SR, but my insurance does not pay for it. I have saved up some and found it works best for me at least 40mg at a time. It really helps me to concentrate and study better, but it doesn’t last that long. I have even tried taken all 3 at the same time and I can focus even better. It’s frustrating to not have XR.
    So I was wondering if Adderal might work better since they say it is stronger. I even thought about Vyvance but I don’t know if it’s covered by my insurance. What should I do?

  2. To Adley,

    I as well have adult ADD ( I use ADD because I don’t expierence hyperactivity, most women & girls don’t). I was on adderall for 6 years and recently was switched to concerta, which is the extended release ritalyn. Anything that is short acting or instant release will last shorter therefore you usually have to take more of it to maintain the right dosage for you. I found with generic adderall (dextroamphetimine)15mg in the am and 10 in the afternoon was perfect and cost about 30$ a month. If I could go back to the adderall I would, I like it a lot better. Also, with adderall, an er in the am and 1 ir in am and another ir afternoon is a great combo, if you can afford it. Also if you want to try concerta check the website they have coupons. Hope that helps.

  3. Does any one knows any medication that does not need prescription (that I can get over the counter) and that can help me with symptoms very similar to ADD, in my case is very mild, I think it has to do more with excessive amount of stress. I am 31 and I never had this problems as a child or teenager, but as an adult is getting harder and harder to be focus and to remember things. 

  4. ST – you can try caffeine pills, but if you should really consider being checked out. I was 33 before I found out that I had it. Now that I know more about it, I realize that I had ADD all along. I was super-mom, ace employee, and primo wife in my younger years, all with ADD. One of the coolest parts of ADD is what you can accomplish when you can use it to your advantage. However, when life changes come along and you are not able to catch up with them, you can digress and find yourself in trouble. PLEASE DON’T WAIT – I waited and waited, until I got so bad I was unable to function at work or home. Now it will take me years to get back on track. I really wish I had gotten help way sooner.

  5. I have been taking adderall for 6 days now. I was just diagnosed with adult ADD. I have anxiety issues and have been on Lexapro for a few years. The doctor is having my take 10mg (quick release) 3 times a day with my Lexapro. I was given the generic. The first few days I felt calmer, I could focus better, etc. I did not want to eat and did not sleep well. I started sleeping better on night 4 and 5. However, yesterday, I started feeling weird. I got heartburn, but felt hungry and felt like I had to take deep breathes in order to breathe better. I also felt anxious. I also keep burping. Today, I did not drink my 1 cup of coffee because I had read that it is not good drink while taking adderall! This has been the worst day yet. I have been soooo tired. After I have taken each dose of adderall I wanted to fall asleep within 1 hour. I felt so foggy. My breathing has been weird at times like I walked up a hill, and my head has hurt. I have gotten a bit of energy here and there. I did take a med to help with the heartburn this am. I still am burping and feel so hungry, so I have ate. Should I stop taking this stuff? The last few days I have felt like crap. Please help. Do these side affects go away? Should I drink my coffee tomorrow, but less of it? At this point I am ready to stop this med. Please help.

  6. To MC,

    I have been on vyvanse, intuniv, and adderall xr. The adderall xr has worked the best out of the 3 so far. I have tried drinking coffee in the past while on adderall xr, vyvanse, and intuniv. Coffee actually makes the adderall xr feel like I increased my dose for the first 2 hours, makes it less effective, makes me feel more jittery, and not last as long. Usually the adderall xr will last 8 hours but, when I have drank coffee it makes it last 4 or 6 hours depending on how long after I took the adderall xr. However I do drink coffee after it wears off sometimes to avoid the crash.

    The intuniv did nothing for me but give me the urge to sleep all the time. I actually drank more coffee when I was on the intuniv or not on any kind of medication than when I’m on the adderall xr. The vyvanse is not that effective on me. It only lasts 8 hours and is supposed to last 12 hours. You will do better on a multiple choice test if you haven’t read the material on vyvanse than you would on adderall. However the adderall helps my memory more. I actually get higher grades in school being on the adderall xr than the vyvanse. The adderall xr is better than vyvanse when you have to balance school, work, family, and friends. The vyvanse does stress me out when there are changes in life like deaths in the family and when you are pushed for time and have to do a lot of things daily. The vyvanse improves my grades but makes me moody, depressed, stressed out, cocky, antisocial, not want to be involved in activities with friends or family, overly talkative, overly talkative about myself, gives me headaches, and doesn’t help with the urge to sleep but, keeps my mind wide awake. It also made me more impulsive to spend money and talk over people because of the depression, mood swings, and over confidence it gave me. The longer I was on the vyvanse the worse my personality would get so I often would want to skip days and not take it.

    The adderall xr improves my grades, makes me happy, makes it easier to focus, makes it easier to remember things, makes me drive better, less nervous and anxious when taking tests, driving, or speaking in front of people, stops the arguments in my head, makes me more talkative but not overly talkative, makes it easier to balance things out, decreases my depression, decreases my stress, smarter with money, smarter with time, and makes me actually think about things I’m doing like when buying a new shirt if it is something I need and would actually wear. My only cons with the adderall xr is that the 20 mg is too high for me but the 10mg is too low so I usually take a little out of 20mg to make it a lower dose. I also will eventually go to a psychiatrist to try the regular adderalls 3 times a day because 8 hours is not long enough when you have to use it on work and school and up at 7am mon-fri at least for school and sometimes early on the weekends for work. I currently go to a family doctor which will not prescribe me for anything but ones you take once a day. On the vyvanse the 50 mg was to high and the 40 mg was too low so I had the same problem but the vyvanse had more side effects for me.

  7. My 17 year old son, who is taking Concerta XR will start marching band – to begin in August- does he need to take any precautions when marching in the intense heat of the Texas summer? He is of normal and healthy weight . Does this medication cause racing heart?

  8. There is no such thing as Concerta XR. Did you mean Adderall XR or Concerta ER?

  9. My mistake….it is Concerta ER. Please reply if my concerns are warranted. Thank you.

  10. To Sarah Morrison,

    I too experience everything you wrote in your post. It is extremely frustrating. I too am a student and I feel my concentration issues are affecting the quality of my work. And it not just concentrating, but understanding what I am reading. I have enough to read for my college classes without having to re-read it several times. Anyways, my doctor has me on Adderall. I take 20mg 3x’s a day. It helps for the most part. Each dose only last 3-4 hours and as far as the concentration issues, sometimes I do well and other times I don’t. If you don’t mind me asking I was wondering, what diagnosis did your doctor give for your symptoms?

  11. anonomous female

    I am a 48 y/o woman, just diagnosed w/ADD. My Doc prescribed Adderall 10 mg qd. I feel more relaxed, sleep better, and brain fog very slightly improved. However, I am still procrastinating, can’t focus well,or complete projects. My chronic lateness is the same. I have been extremely hungry, and have gained 2 pounds in 1 1/2 weeks. Is it possible I need an increase in dosage, or would it be better to ask for switch to Ritalin or Vyvanse? I do feel pretty strong “crash” when adderall wears off in afternoon. I was really hoping I would be one of those people that feels like a lightbulb went on when starting adderall. any suggestions? (Ps- I cannot afford to gain anymore weight, already chubby)

    • Donald Forrest

      You are having what one would typically get when not being on adderall. It was initially used as weightloss drug and I do believe that an increased dosage would help this. When I took adderall it completely stopped me procrastinating. Please email me at

  12. I am 49 and was on Adderall for the last 8 years (40 mg in the morning and 40 mg in the afternoon but then it started not to  work anymore, I gradually went up to that dosage but now I am on Vyvanse 70 mg, I tried the lowest then kept going up. I don’t even feel like I’ve taken  anything but it sure helps me get to work on time, (well I  take 20 mg of Adderall to get me out the door because the Vyvanse takes  a while to start working)  I like it better than Adderall because I don’t feel so nervous & jittery. My appetite is fine but sometimes I don’t sleep well, about one night a week it feels like my brain is still awake, then I feel like crap the next day.  I am very thankful for this medicine, I wouldn’t be able to keep a job without it for being late everyday, speaking without thinking, not being able to complete tasks, So to you anomonous female, 10 mg seems like a very low dose to me.

  13. Our son who is now 23 was diagnosed with adhd when he was in 1st grade and prescribed ritalin. This made a world of difference in his mood, self control and focus. When he was around 12, he was switched to adderall. His mood and self control started deteriorating and he eventually started flying into rages. It was gradual enough so that I wasn’t aware until after he was admitted into the hospital where they put him on all sorts of meds that made him afraid to leave the house. I took a chance and took him off everything and put him back on ritalin since it had worked so well in the past. He became his old self again. He is still on ritalin and doing fairly well. Later, someone mentioned adderall rage was fairly common but I have never heard of this from any doctor or read of it in literature. Has this been recorded anywhere?

  14. switched to ritalin after taking adderall for about a year. im a 32 year old male.

    the potency of ritalin seemed slightly less but so were the side effects. sleep has improved as well as appetite. an acceptable trade off for myself. much more “even”.

  15. I have been diagnosed adult ADHD and first prescribed with Strettera which works similar to antidepresants, mdaning takes 3 weeks for effects, later my doctor switched to Ritalin. I am very happy with Ritalin and for me works much better than Strettera. Now I am more focused and my quality of life has increased. Never used Adderall. 

  16. I have been taking 3x10mg Ritalin IR for a few weeks, and it causes me to feel calm during the morning, and then extremely sleepy during the rest of the day. Although I appreciate the ability to focus (and the best sleep ever), it doesn’t do me much good when I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open. If Ritalin makes me feel sleepy, is Adderall likely to have the same effect? 

  17. I am 37 and recently prescribed Adderall IR 30mgs twice a day for my ADD. I am on month 3 and due to the shortage of IR medication in my area I asked my Dr. to switch me to Adderall XR. She prescribed 30mgs once a day. Today is my first day taking this dose and I am less focused than I was on the IR. Is it possible that this dose is not enough? I read the information provided on this website for the Adderall XR and it appears that my one dose of 30mgs is like taking two doses of 15mgs of IR. I prefer taking the IR because it allowed me more flexibility for the days I did not need my full daily dose but I felt being prescribed XR was better than not being medicated at all. I really wish IR was more available. What should I do?

  18. Today,my Dr. prescribed me Ritalin.I have been on Adderal for about 7 months.i notice a change in my life and staying focus in my daily task.I have lost some weight.But my Dr. switched my medicine from Adderal to Ritalin.She said that Adderal has been taken off have to pay her $90.00 dollars for 10 minutes of therapy and rush out the door to a new medicine to help me to stay focus.And all she had to say to me was that Ritalin is the same and and if i should exsperience any prblems with Ritalin just come back and she would find something else.I really am wondering if she is right about adderal being taken off the marke?11/08/2011.Does anyone know if Ritalin is a better medicine than Adderal?

  19. I has not been taken off the market, The FDA has maxed out on the regulated amount of the drug and won’t be available until Feb 2012. I have been taking 20mg of Adderal IR for 1.5 yrs. For the last two mon I have taken Adderall XR 20 mg. But the cost of the XR is ridiculous! Over $400 per month (no insurance). I will pick up my script for Ritalin 10mg at 3x daily tomorrow morning. I’d be very curious to see what your thoughts are on the switch to ritalin.??

  20. I dont know if it was taking off the market but i switched from adderal to ritalin because the price doubled , the pharmacy said there was a shortage so they had to adjust to meet demand.

  21. Adderal has not been taken off the market. The fda limits the amount of pills that can be sold each year. The owner of the patent has not sold enough of the main ingredient to the generic manufactures thus causing them to be sued. The manufacture has reported a 85% profit this year ! Smells like allot of B.S to me !! It all goes back to supply and demand ! We get screwed because the drug manufacturer has a lobbiest group influential the FDA limit the amount and they raise the price and make a killing ! The FDA knows they need to sell more ! So why dont they let them ?? All smells really bad to me ! Just sayn!

  22. I am a 40 year old male diagnosed with ADHD about 1.5 yrs. ago. I took Ritalin LA to start with and it was the best I had taken. No anxiety, lot’s of energy, better focus. I am also Bi-Polar and had bad Side effects from antideppressants, so doctor put me on Ritalin LA, and 1mg Kolonopin. Problem with Ritalin LA was too expensive. So went to XR. Didn’t work as well. Then I was put on Adderall 15mg 2x a day, with Lamictal,Kolonopin, and Remeron for Sleep, and the Combination worked Great. Then the Psychiatrist I was seeing left the practice, and the new Psychiatrist reduced all my meds,even when I told him the last Psychiatrist worked really hard to get me to where my Concentration, Mood swing, and Anxiety was Stabilized. I went to Pharmacy last visit prescribed same dosage of Adderal, and cost was $24 before and had went up to $90. This pharmacy was only one in town that had any. Price gouging I would call it.. I went to Walmart for the 10mg Ritalin IR, and it was $4. So, I have decided to go to my regular physician to prescribe my medications. Don’t let the Doctors tell you what you should be put on if you already found what works for you, because most of the time they are pushing the meds they get a kickback on. Know your own body, keep a journal for the 1st 3 month on how you are feeling each day and take to your doctor with you. They might want to up your dosage or lower your dosage by the journal you give them. Always find a doctor you feel you can trust that you feel has your best interest at hand. Never let them talk over you. A good doctor is more willing to listen and suggest. My regular physician makes suggestions on what i tell him i am feeling, but at the end, I am allowed to make the final decision. Hope this helps anybody new to the ADD and ADHD World. It’s actually an Advantage and not a Disadvantage !!!!

  23. Im fifty two years old, and have been diagnosed with ADD nine years ago; since then I’ve taken Adderal, however it’s been difficult to get in the states, so my physician switched me to ritalin. these are not the time release because I have no insurance I can’t afford these, but the ritalin makes me want to sleep, I can’t function, it seems to have the opposite effect as Adderal. Please help

  24. I was diagnosed with ADD several years ago, however never took any meds. I was a stay at home mom and just made do with how I was. Recently I went back to school and It was apparent that I needed the meds now. I couldnt study, or focus in class, things at home were very unorganized, and all of the things that go along with ADD. My Dr. put me on 10mg of adderall 3 times a day to start, while this helped some i didn’t feel it was enough. She increased it to 20 mg 3 times a day. I used only the generic version of the medicine. The first script of 20’s seemed ok, and worked better then the 10’s, but my 2nd script of 20’s did NOT help. They were definitely not the same. (20’s-1st script -barr/teva); 2nd script-sandoz) I went back to see what my options were. She then prescribed me 30mg/ 2x’s a day but brand name only. I got this filled today and took it for the first time, and maybe its just me, but its just like the generic :(. I have done so much research, and looking at the dates of the stuff that was out there, it was from 07-09, nothing recent. The brand name adderall that I was given was by barr/teva. I thought the Brand was made by Shire? am I wrong? Anyone have any insight about this? I have finals coming up soon and I dont want to fail them because of wrong medication. 

  25. HELP…. IS THERE ANY PRESCRIPTION ASSISTANCE FOR ADDERAL, NEXIUM AND ABILIFY? Hi, I am a 52 yr old formally diagnosed in the past 8 months. The Dr prescribed Ritalin IR @ 40mg x 2 per day and at first it did just OK, but 8 months later it doesn’t work to keep me focused, motivated or help me retain information. I had to change Dr’s because the first one didn’t want to listen to me about meds. The new Dr did prescribe Adderal XR at 30mg x 2 caps 1 per day, Abilify @ 5mg x 1 per day, increase Welbuterin SR from 200 mg x 1 per day to 150 mg x 2 per day and Nexium 40 mg x 1 per day, severe GERD. Here’s the problem, the cost of these 4 drugs is $1000 per mo. in my area even with my sorry insurance and over 6 discount cards. I can’t afford that on any day. I only filled the Adderal XR 60 cap @ $326 and Welbutrin SR 60 tabs @ $29 for a total of $365, which is insane and really depresseing me. Here’s the rest of the break down. Abilify 30 tabs @ 5 mg is $445, Nexium 30 caps @ 40 mg is $189. I have never taken Ability and after researching not sure I want to along with cost, so I opted not to get it. The Welbuterin, Nexium and Adderal are essential. I like Adderal over Ritalen because it worked great ending my last school yr with a GPA of 3.79. On Ritalin my grades have fallen to the point of barely passing even though I am only taking 2 classes and dropped 2 others. I have always had major issues with ADD ( didn’t know that was the problem) along with depression and anxiety which have affected me throughout life with employment, education, and self-esteem. I returned to school (last attempt) but couldn’t do it. I have insurance but the deductible is $4500 meds. included and the premium is $321 mo. . The is the only insurance I can get because I am un-insureable. My husband is having a cow over the cost of meds. saying they I don’t need them, can do without them, just using them to get high on (past cocaine use) absolutely not true evidenced by past and present GPA and I am getting addicted to them, I just don’t know what to do. He is such an condescending ass.

  26. PS. The Ritalin is in short supply in this area and very hard to get but reasonable 120 tabs @ 20mg was $38 from Target. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t do the job for me.

  27. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 4 yrs old. I kinda remember taking all the meds but my mom ended up dumping them down the toilet because of the side effects. I am now 26 and have been struggling to find the right medication that benefits me with my ADHD. I have tried straterra but that had no affect what so ever, then switched to adderall and it made my life so much easier I can not explain, then there was a back order and my doc had to put me on Ritalin never again will I take that. It made me mean and have outburst and just full of rage by the end of the day. I would not switch back everrr

  28. i’m a 48 yr old female with MS, multiple sclerosis, i was diagnosed 17 yrs ago. ms causes fatique and i find myself so tired that i can’t function. since then i used amandine with no success, ritalin with some success, provigil no success, nuvigil with some success. adderall is the only presp. drug that works for me, i take 40 mg in am and 40 mg in pm. however my insurance only pays for the fda requirement and i pay the difference….yes, the price has skyrocketed and hard to come by, i have to call my pharmist a week ahead of time so he can make sure it is available and of course since it is a controlled substance the hassle of getting the presp………

  29. The shortage is still a mystery. I have asked my Dr and many pharmacists and no one has given a definintive answer for the shortage. My Dr disagreed the FDA limits how much they allow to be manufacturered per year. He said they could care less about that. The pharmesists could only say that they had no reason other than it was on back order and was not given any date for being Available again. The good news is, the pharmecys have started to get them back in stock and is no longer problem to get in my area at least.  So who knows. unless the calendar year is earlier than jan 1 for the FDA, then that theory is not true obviously. 

  30. Right now I am on 10 mg adderall 5x a day, that dose was perfect for the first month but now I can take a 20 mg and lay down and sleep for 3-4 ;hrs, I called and left a message for my doc asking her to up my dose but all she did was write a brand new script for the same thing so I cant get it filled. Grrrrrr !!! I cannot keep my eyes open no matter how much sleep I get, the adderal is a godsend and keeps me positve and in a good mood, I actually want to due something in my life!!

  31. Regarding the Adderall shortage question – yes, there is a shortage. Yes, it is due to government regulations. And the reason it’s not available one week and then it is has to do with the annual allotment. Specific amounts are being released on a month-to-month basis.  It has been an issue all year, so if you only just started experiencing it, then you’ve either been really lucky or you only recently started taking it. The active ingredient in Adderall is completely different than that in Ritalin, therefore there should be no issue with obtaining Ritalin. it’s extremely difficult to obtain any info on this subject, but the rumor is the annual amount of the problem ingredient in Adderall has been increased for 2012, so by February it should be easier to fill your scripts.

  32. I am 55 and have been using Adderall about five years – it has been very effective. Due to the Adderall shortage and cost concerns (XR and brand are more expensive) my doctor switched me to Ritalin. I have given Ritalin a chance (about two months) but it is not the same. Ritalin does provide some concentration and focus – but my thinking is not as clear and I do not feel or as motivated. I am concerned as I feel I have regressed.

  33. My 7 yr old son has just been prescribed Ritalin 10 @ 1 a day. Due to his behaviour problems at school & at home. As these were getting worse as he got older i was advised by his teacher to see about it.

    As someone had noticed his behaviour not being normal i became more aware of his forgetfulness of walking into a room to get something & coming out without it. He does things wihout realiising the outcome of his actions and being unable to sit without talking to himself & constent moving in the most noticable way. Even whilst waiting in the Dr’s he was up & down.. sitting on the floor & sliding down his chair & became very impatient.. I was prepared to give the Ritalin a go to see if it helped him with his concentration, but on telling his father, he was quiet Negative & made me feel disappointed that i had come to this. So if anyone could give me any advise on if Ritalin is a positive alternative.

  34. I have Bi-polar II disorder. Been on many many drugs over the years. none of them worked. (anti-depressants should not be given to bi-polar patients.) Finally found a great combination: lamotrigine, Abilify, and Adderall.
    It’s like someone turned the light on inside my brain! doctors are very hesitant to prescribe the adderall, but I’m bi-polar II. I don’t ever get manic. just severely depressed with no motivation or energy at all. The Adderall works wonders. I’m never “high” on it. It gives me enough energy to function, and I’m grateful for that. Does anyone else with Bi-polar II take adderall mixed with other drugs?

  35. Darrin,
    I know this is quite a while after your posting, but I am curious about your dosage of Provigil. I, too, have been diagnosed with Narcolepsy and started with Provigil. I was started with 100 mg and titrated up to 400 (200 am/200pm). I was eventually moved over to Nuvigil and no longer have the headaches I had before while on Provigil. It would only make sense to me that if you are only taking 10-30 mg that you would not see any results. I would be interested in knowing why they prescribed such a low dosage.

  36. I found this all natural pill invented by a man in New England named Sawyer. It raises Nor epinephrin and dopamine levels in the brain like Adderall does. It also has other pleasant effects. It even helps you breath a little better though it’s not the same kind of stimulant you’d find in nasal decongestants. He called it “Adaboy” as in “That a boy” often pronounced “Ad a boy”. But I could only get a few pills from a friend of mine that met this Sawyer guy when he was in Mass. I think he might actually be from Maine though. Rumor has it that this Sawyer guy is sitting on it as a secret until he can get a patent or figure out how to sell his pills. Does anyone know if Adaboy is on the market yet? I would NOT have believed it myself unless I tried it. This stuff is fantastic and it makes a great anti hang over pill. I know that he didn’t invent the pill as a “Party Pill” but rather to help him study and focus but we used it before we went out clubbing and felt fantastic. Best of all I didn’t have any of my usual bed spins or throwing up before bed either. And the next morning I wasn’t as hung over. I was also still able to sleep. So does anyone know where I can but this “Adaboy” stuff? Or at least tell me what the ingredient list is so I can make my own? Supposedly it’s all natural 100% legal herbal stuff but it’s not like other crap I’ve tried. Like I said I would not have believed it unless I tried it myself and I want MORE! Seriously anyone know who the inventor is? Does he have a website? Please post back here and let me know. Thanks. Oh he was going to call his new pill “Brains” as a joke because it not only helps you think better but it helps with the aches and pains of fatigue & stress. Plus as I found out it’s a great hang over cure. He got the Brains idea from the Return of the living dead when they said that “Brains makes the pain go away” ha ha ha But he thought Adaboy sounded better. So if it is out on the market he might be calling it “Brains” if not “Adaboy”. Adaboy is a cool name because it sounds a bit like Adderall and it also makes you feel great like you’ve succeeded at something aka Ad a boy! : ) Anyway let me know if anyone knows something. Thanks.

  37. Mike Calloway

    This is in response to JASIA’s post regarding the different effect she had switching name brands on Adderall.

    The Barr brand (although I am not aware of it being the BRAND name fo r Adderall) is MOST DEFINITELY different than other generics. I have both Core Pharma and Barr brands of Adderall. The Barr are darker blue, oval shaped and will stain your tongue and teeth if you use it sublingually (melt it under the tongue), which I do sometimes to get a more immediate effect and not have to wait for it to digest and pass through the liver etc etc then start affecting me… say 25-30 minutes later. The Core Pharma generics are lighter blue and perfectly round.
    I noticed a HUGE difference between the 2 brands. And because I had both at the same time because my dose was changed and a new script was written prior to running out of the Core Pharma pills. The Barr were far stronger than the Core’s. I am not exaggerating to make a point here. I could not believe how much more jittery and unfocused I became using the Barr brand pills. I found myself unfocused in the sense of remembering what I needed to accomplish for the day; would never get 1/3 of the things written down done, but I would hyper focus on one task. Always an irrelevant task to the day’s important and required ones…a tangent, if you will, ie; I would have to make a couple changes to an ad for my business, like change the dates and update pricing on an existing ad and save it to shoot it out to clients. Instead of doing this (which normally would take about 10-15 minutes) I’d find myself re-creating the entire ad, the pictures I’d send to Photoshop and sit there for more than an hour meddling with the smallest unimportant details of some picture over and over, changing the lighting, the hue, the clarity, the …. You get the idea. Then I’d realize 2+hours had passed and I had a PICTURE in my hands only, when the objective was to change the date and price and move on to other work!
    This happened EVERY time I took a Barr branded IR Adderall. My dose, although irrelevant because it’s not about my dosage being too high or too low, it’s about the differences in BRANDS, was 10-15mgs, 2-3 times/day. So be it too much or too little is of no concern – BECAUSE:
    As soon as I would switch up to the Core Pharma brand, I would have a totally noticeable and much calmer disposition inside the same time frame as the other brand. I would know what tasks where at hand and on the agenda for the day, and would nearly complete them all. I would catch myself right away if I started to hyper focus on things, such as the ad with the picture (that was doctored up for hours, lol….sorry I’m laughing at myself because looking at the before and after pics, there’s hardly a difference….certainly not one that would affect my business monetarily in any way nor one that anyone would care to notice, lol). But again, I would catch myself before that would happen. So the urge may have still been there but not enough to get me flying off in left field in the corner of the ballpark picking blades of grass with a pair of scissors in a 1×1’ area till the sun set, so to speak.
    Now with this information, regarding 2 different generic brands of Adderall, one may conclude that one brand might be stronger than the other, ie; Barr being stronger than Core Pharma in mgs. (There is room for error on mgs on almost all medications to a % +/-. However, I do NOT believe this to be the case, at least with these 2 brands as I have taken at least 1.5 x’s the dosage with the Core Pharma to see if that was the reason for the difference. Instead of finding myself more close to feeling like the Barr brand after increasing the Core Pharma dose, I felt just more energy and a little jittery, (an amount that was too high for myself to “feel normal” if you will) rather than experiencing anything remotely like what the Barr brand created. Very non-scientific, non double blind study, with absolutely no control group type of test to come to this conclusion, lol but I neither had the time to research this nor the power to have a university or clinic confirm my suspicions.
    However – At the pharmacy counter, I asked the (non-pharmacist) gal serving me what brand she had on the Adderall last time as I preferred Core Pharma and did NOT like Barr at all. Without hesitation she said “Sir they are the same thing, there is no difference….The government regulates these controlled substances. It’s all in your head”…. Unquote. To my surprise, the Registered Pharmacist, who happened to be standing next to her and serving the guy on the right of me interjected, (and you could tell he was disturbed by what she said, and I believe also because she had said it to me with a definite condescending tone) and explained to me that there are DEFINITE differences in brands regarding that medication. He did not make a blanket statement about all medication I noticed but rather he specifically addressed Adderall. The explanation for the differences as I understood them were: First, the inert ingredients used in different brands are different substances and that can change the effect it has on certain individuals with perceptively noticeable variables. 2nd, that there are a combination of salts (amphetamines) in the drug and that mixture varies depending on the manufacturer and the availability of each, and 3rd, there is an allowance for marginal error on total mgs for these drugs, though he was not able to tell me the % of error tolerated by our FDA. The strangest thing to me was that he said the factor contributing mostly to the perceived difference of effects from brand to brand is governed more so by the binders or inert ingredients more so than the other reasons mentioned. (I would have never thought so). (The lady that snapped at me about my question about what brand they carried was fuming and stomped off to the back of the room murmuring something inaudible under her breath during my education free of charge from the Reg Pharmacist). Yeah I had to laugh inside out of sheer, “take that you b****, and stop advising people of things you’re not qualified to advise on as this could be dangerous in other situations. She also works inside the store that houses this pharmacy at the front register, and is not a pharm tech etc….just a helper. Way out of line telling me ANYTHING of such nature less the things she’s been told to say.
    So, too late to make a long story short, but there you have it regarding Adderall and different brands from my experience. Could I be wrong, there’s always a possibility of course. Like I said, I don’t know of any controlled, double blind university or clinical trials of that nature, but I bet there are some somewhere. My opinion is strong in the sense that YES, there ARE differences between brands of Adderall and ones that can be drastic for some people who are hypersensitive to small changes, and for others…nothing perceived. I cannot stand Barr’s generic blend of salts in the 10mg darker blue oval shaped pills. I’d rather go without than take them again. I’ve given them a shot on 3 different occasions, with each time producing the same undesirable effects.
    Ask your pharmacist (not your doctor) what brand he/she carries and if there are differences. If you’re not having a good response from what you’re currently on, try a difference manufacturer. What’s it going to hurt? (the “not your doctor) comes from a long record of knowing doc’s personally (I have several friends that are both MD’s and a D.O. and an acquaintance who is an endocrinologist. My great Uncle was head of the Pharmacology department at Cambridge University. I’ve had many times to burn his ear off when he visits the states and stays here with me for a few of the days. Doctor’s get sooooo many spiffs from pharmaceutical reps selling/pushing their drugs. My friend’s wife is a sales rep for a large pharmaceutical company that produces the top SSRI out there right now and she literally gets reprimanded if she doesn’t spend all of her allotted budget for spiffs on the doctors quarterly. This is not chump change, it’s Hawaiian vacations in their 5 star resort timeshares, Bondurant race track driving for the doc and family etc. They are heavily persuaded to push a product on you over another and throw out the door, what’s best for the patient. Not all cave in, but enough do, and I know enough behind the scene stuff to scare anyone out of asking Doc what drug is right for them so to speak. Again, NOT ALL docs.

    Different company, different effect, same medication – Final Answer.

  38. In Response to Amy: I too have Bipolar ll. I am on Zoloft, Lamictal, and now recently Adderall XR. I was taking Ritalin, but my doc suggested I try Adderall because the Ritalin wasn’t working enough for me. I thought I had ADD, but my doc tested me for it, and found I don’t have it. I was having trouble concentrating, foggy head, and worst of all, my memory was terrible. I felt like I was going crazy! I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but my doc told me that Bipolar has that effect on the brain. So it’s my third day on Adderall and so far I feel a little more focused, but sometimes jittery and a little more talkitive. My hubby doesn’t understand and I keep telling him it’s my meds! I don’t want to get high, I just want my memory and concentration back. Hopefully it will help. I certainly don’t want to feel like I’m on speed. I just want a normal life, if there’s any such thing when you’re Bipolar! But I’ve learned to accept my illness and have embraced it as this is who I am. If people can’t accept the real me, as I am my illness, then to hell with them. Hopefully this will work out for you and take care of yourself!

  39. Hi Darren,  I’m two years too late with my answer, but I have  been battling the problems of depression, my worst problem, circadian sleep rhythm disorder (advancing time of sleep),chronic PTSD,another “worst”  problem linked with depression,  bipolar 2 mild, and for years tried many many meds, always ritalin on and off (but also cylert, dextrostat, vyvanse (I take Vyvanse every day for depression with Nuvigil to make it last 12 hours) adderall ( next best to ritalin but neither compare to Vyvanse ) and found that I get the same reaction you do from ritalin if I do not take the BRAND  name or I just get a racing heart.  Two of the youngsters in my family finally clued me to this.  This is one of many meds that many folks tend to need in brand only, and no one seems to  spread the word on this, grrrr…… and it also has a slight anti-depressant action especially on older adults, I am now 72 and just discovered Vyvanse and Nuvigil two years ago after years of nothing working to  stop my depression, because I am a dopamine dependent  depressive.  Only Wellbutrin was made for folks who need more
    dopamine in their system, and it made me  rageful, that is it’s worst side effect for many and I am not a rageful person.  I acquired Fibromyalgia a year after discovering the Vyvanse/Nuvigil combo and had a whole year, ONE, in my life free of depression and then got this wicked fibromyalgia, but most of the time  even it’s terrible symptoms cannot allow the depression to break through very often.  Good luck, remember BRAND NAME RITALIN.  Susan

  40. Jasia, It’s because Shire (the original manufacturer of Adderall) was acquired partly by a division of Barr who had then gained the rights to manufacture the generic tablet version of Adderall, then Teva came and acquired or joined with Barr (can’t remember which of the 2) & bought out Shire’s rights to make/distribute the name brand Adderall (ER version, I believe) as well as the rights (from Barr) to now manufacture the generic version Adderall as well. Adderall made by Shire is nonexistent nowadays. Shire instead makes Vyvanse.  But in regards to your commenting about the Barr brand of generic adderall being better than other brand(s), you are definitely right about that. Barr/Teva brand generic tablet Adderall is IMO the BEST of the generic brand Adderall and there is a big leap down in efficiency when trying other brand(s) of generic tablet Adderall. 

  41. Hi, 
    My doc put me on Ritalin, and I find I am taking quite a bit. I have read better things about Adderall as far as it lasting longer during the day? My doc has placed me on the med because I am having great difficulty staying awake during the day. I do suffer from bi-polar so I am familiar with the effects meds can have on you and having to try this and that to get the right match. I have been doing a lot of research because I have never been put on Ritalin before, (he put me on Provigil previously with no luck). After doing a little research here and there it seems people seem to have better luck and less issues with  Adderall and staying awake during the day. Can anyone give me some advice? These types of meds are new to me, and it would be great to hear from people who have experience and not just what the doc says. Especially after I seem to be taking so much of the Ritalin….  That can’t be good. Thank you for any help and advice I can get. I don’t want to continue on a med that I feel I have to more of than I should, especially after reading how addicting they can be. But I also need to function during the day. 

  42. What is the difference/similarities between Ritalin, Adderall, and Provigil?

  43. littleloveboat

    I looked up this due to my sons father keeps asking why I don’t change from ritalin to adderall.He seems to Work well with ritalin it does wear off by time School is out but he eats well sleep normal for an 8 year old. I belive he thinks its gonna do something with his health in the long run. Anyone got anything for this.

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