Adderall vs Adderall XR: Difference and Comparison

A visit to the medical store can be very stressful. Various ailments come with many drugs to heal and comfort the patient. A visit to the medical store is amazingly different from visiting the grocery store.

Some medicines purchased over the counter need no prescription. Some drugs need a compulsory medical prescription from an authorized healthcare professional. The nature of the medication determines the need for a medical prescription.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) is one of the most common neuro disorders among children. Hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsiveness are a few symptoms of ADHD.

Adderall and Adderall XR contain a combination of amphetamine salts and are prescription medications helpful for the treatment of ADHD.

Key Takeaways

  1. Adderall is an immediate-release medication that lasts for several hours, while Adderall XR is an extended-release medication that lasts for up to 12 hours.
  2. Adderall XR is prescribed for people who require longer-lasting symptom control, while Adderall may be prescribed for more acute symptom relief.
  3. Both medications contain the same active ingredients, but the release method and duration differ.

Adderall vs Adderall XR

Adderall is a prescription medication used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. It is a stimulant which works by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain. Adderall XR is a long-acting formulation of Adderall, created to release the medication gradually over a long period of time.

Adderall vs Adderall XR

The outcome of Adderall stays up to four to six hours to reach the maximum level in the blood. Adderall is an oral tablet with different strengths, and based on the patient, the doctor prescribes the dosage.

Adderall is considered safe for adults and children aged three years.

Adderall XR is an extended-release drug. The substance is slowly released into the system. Taking the medication once during the day is sufficient. It takes up to seven hours for Adderall XR to reach the maximum level in the blood.

The effect of Adderall XR lasts up to 12 hours. Adderall XR is an oral capsule. Adderall XR is safe for adults and children aged six years and above.

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAdderallAdderall XR
TypeAdderall is an immediate release drug.Adderall XR is an extended-release drug.
DosageIt must be taken several times in a day.A single dosage is sufficient per day.
EffectThe effect of Adderall lasts for 4-6 hours.The effect of Adderall XR lasts for 12 hours.
FormAdderall is an oral tablet.Adderall XR is an oral capsule.
AgeAdderall is given to adults and children aged 3 and above.Adderall XR is given to adults and children aged 6 and above.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a stimulant and an immediate-release drug. It must be taken several times a day as the effects of the drug diminish quickly.

Adderall is a prescription medication, and it is a combination of two drugs, namely amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Adderall acts as a stimulant.

It is the first choice to treat ADHD(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Narcolepsy (A neurological condition causing fragmented sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness).

Studies conducted show Adderall improves attention focus and reduces impulsive behaviour. Adderall improves daytime wakefulness caused by Narcolepsy.

Adderall is a controlled substance, which implies it can cause psychological or physical dependency. It could lead to misuse and abuse of the drug, and the government regulates prescription and allocation.

A prescription is compulsory from the certified doctor to obtain the medication.

Adderall medication is a long-term drug. The doctor keeps checking during regular intervals to wean the patients from the drug and the symptoms related to it. The medication is re-prescribed if the symptoms relapse.

Side Effects of Adderall:

There could be light or significant side effects caused by taking Adderall. Some of the side effects are as follows:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Dryness in mouth
  • Headache or trouble sleeping
  • Constipation 
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss

The side effects are not permanent and last for a couple of weeks. If they are severe, a visit to the doctor is compulsory.


What is Adderall XR?

Adderall XR is a central nervous system(CNS) stimulant. It is an oral capsule taken to treat ADHD(Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The medication alters the norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain.

Due to this, the patient can concentrate, stay on task, and can manage behavioural issues.

Adderall XR is an extended-release drug, and the effect takes place after four hours. Adderall XR is an approved drug to treat ADHD and is prescribed to adults and children aged six and above.

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Adderall XR is not a solitary treatment for ADHD.

The combination of psychological, social, and educational interventions helps to cope with ADHD. The patients are switched from Adderall to Adderall XR at regular intervals. This switch is constantly regulated and reevaluated by the doctor.

Some doctors prescribe opening the Adderall XR capsule and consuming the beads with any soft food. Based on the prescription, Adderall XR is not affected by the consumption of food. The time and the dosage of the drug should remain constant.

Side Effects of Adderall XR:

Adderall XR does have a few side effects that the patient must be aware of:

  • The stimulant may impact the growth of the child
  • Patients with a history of seizures must avoid this medication.
  • Blurry vision may occur due to the drug.
  • It could lead to blood circulation issues.

Main Differences between Adderall and Adderall XR

  1. Adderall is an oral tablet. Adderall XR is an oral capsule.
  2. Adderall is an immediate-release drug. Adderall XR is an extended-release drug.
  3. Adderall takes about four hours to reach the maximum level in the blood. Adderall XR takes around seven hours to extend the highest level in the blood.
  4. Adderall needs to be taken several times during the day. A single capsule is sufficient for Adderall XR.
  5. Adderall applies to adults and children aged three and above. Adderall XR is relevant to adults and children aged six and above.

Last Updated : 27 August, 2023

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15 thoughts on “Adderall vs Adderall XR: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I appreciate the depth of information provided. It’s crucial for anyone using these medications to fully understand their differences and side effects.

    • Absolutely, being well-informed about medications like these is very important for anyone considering or already taking them.

  2. The detailed information provided here is quite beneficial for those looking to understand and differentiate between these medications.


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