Adderall vs. Concerta comparison
- Both Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) and Concerta (methylphenidate) are stimulants used for treatment of narcolepsy and adult and childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD or ADHD).
- Adderall contains amphetamines that stimulate the brain and central nervous system, producing a calming effect in adults and children with ADHD. Concerta is a stimulant that acts in a similar manner, but the effect is milder than that of amphetamines.
- Both Adderall and Concerta (which has the same active ingredient as Ritalin) have abuse potential, but only Adderall is physically addictive. The side effects of these drugs can be serious, a few of which include:
- heart problems, and
- increased blood pressure.
- Both Adderall and Concerta can interact badly with MAO inhibitors and medication for high blood pressure treatment, among other drugs. People taking either Adderall or Concerta should also avoid caffeine.
What are Adderall and Concerta?
Amphetamines like those in Adderall stimulate the brain by increasing the level of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Nerves produce neurotransmitter chemicals, which then release and attach to other nearby nerves as a means of communication among nerves. The exact way Adderall works to alleviate ADHD symptoms is unknown.
Methylphenidate, the active ingredient in Concerta and Ritalin, is a medication that stimulates the central nervous system (CNS or brain) with effects similar to the amphetamines in Adderall; however, its effect is milder than those of the amphetamines. An additional difference is that methylphenidate produces more noticeable effects on mental activities of those with ADHD than on motor activities.
- Adderall vs. Concerta comparison
- What are Adderall and Concerta?
- What are the uses for Adderall and Concerta?
- What are the side effects of Adderall and Concerta?
- Can I become addicted to these drugs?
- Which drugs interact with Adderall and Concerta?
- Are Adderall and Concerta safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
What are the uses for Adderall and Concerta?
Both Adderall and Concerta are used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.
What are the side effects of Adderall and Concerta?
Both drugs can worsen or cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.
Concerta users have reported involuntary movements and tics, which aren't a side effect of Adderall. Both drugs can cause mental problems and psychosis, however. Adderall users have reported depression, manic episodes, unusual aggression or hostility, hallucinations and even seizures. The mental and neurological side effects with Concerta tend to be less severe.
People with severe anxiety, depression, emotional instability, or motor tics shouldn't take either Adderall or Concerta.
Other less common but serious side effects with these medications are possible. Consult your doctor before taking either.
Can I become addicted to these drugs?
Adderall can become physically addictive and cause withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped, whereas these problems aren't typically reported with Concerta or Ritalin. Methylphenidate, however, can be habit-forming and should be tapered off rather than stopped abruptly.Adderall usually is taken once or twice a day with 4-6 hours between doses. The recommended dose is 2.5 to 60 mg daily, depending on the patient's age and condition. Adderall XR (the extended-release version of the drug) is taken once daily in doses of 5 to 40 mg. The entire contents of the Adderall XR capsules can be mixed with food. Avoid late evening doses for both Adderall and Adderall XR to prevent insomnia.
Methylphenidate may be given once, twice, or three times daily, depending on formulation, at dose levels of 18-72 mg total in the day.
Which drugs interact with Adderall and Concerta?
Don't take either Adderall or Concerta with monamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The danger of an extreme high blood pressure reaction to combining MAOIs and either medication is so great, people should avoid taking Adderall or Concerta until two weeks have passed since the last MAOI dose.
Antacids can also increase the effect of Adderall by allowing the body to absorb more of the amphetamine combination, so avoid antacids while taking Adderall.
Are Adderall and Concerta safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Pregnant or breastfeeding women with ADHD should not take Adderall. Babies born to mothers taking this amphetamine and dextroamphetamine combination could have health problems including low birth weight and withdrawal symptoms after birth. Adderall is also passed on in breastmilk.
Conversely, there isn't enough existing information to say whether or not methyphenidate can affect the health of developing fetus. Neither is enough evidence available to say whether or not Concerta is passed on to an infant through breast milk.
Mental Health Resources
Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine (Adderall, Adderall XR) and Concerta (methylphenidate) are drugs prescribed for the treatment of ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and narcolepsy. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and patient safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Childhood ADHD Quiz: Test, Symptoms & Medication
Find out causes, symptoms, and treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a widespread behavioral condition...
Adult ADHD Quiz: Symptoms & Test
What are the symptoms of adult ADHD? Take this quiz to learn what it means for an adult to suffer from ADHD and what can be done...
ADHD Symptoms in Children
What is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)? Learn to recognize ADHD symptoms in children....
ADHD/ADD in Adults: Symptoms & Treatments in Pictures
Most people don't associate adults with the term ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) but it is a common disorder in...
ADHD in Children: Better Parenting
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder seen in children. Parents can learn tips and techniques to...
ADHD: Top Concentration-Killers in Pictures
Learn the truth about multitasking, email overload, nagging thoughts, hunger, and other brain drains of modern life. See what's...
Adult ADHD: Organization and Time-Management Tips in Pictures
Learn daily living tips for adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). If you have ADHD or you just need to get...
Related Disease Conditions
Second Source article from WebMD...
Childhood ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) causes the following symptoms in children: excessive activity, problems...
Narcolepsy (Definition, Symptoms, Treatment, Medication)
Causes of narcolepsy, a chronic disease of the central nervous system, have not been fully determined. Some theories include...
Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
About 2%-6% of adults have ADHD, a common behavioral problem. Symptoms include impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention....
Parenting a Child With ADHD
ADHD is a behavioral condition with characteristics that include hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. Parenting a child...
13 Tips for Parenting a Teen With ADHD
Parenting a teenager who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be challenging. Parents can use specific...
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Teens
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in teens is a disruption of neurocognitive functioning. Genetics contribute to...
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.