Adderall is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. As many as 30 percent of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) also have problems with ADHD. Adderall can help improve symptoms of ADHD in autistic children. Adderall contains Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine. Adderall is also available in an extended-release formulation as Adderall XR. Adderall is not recommended for children under the age of three years.
Adderall is not appropriate for people with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, drug abuse, glaucoma, arteriosclerosis, or hyperthyroidism. Adderall may not be appropriate for people who are in an agitated state. Adderall should be used with caution in people with a history of seizures and psychotic disorders.
Adderall is a stimulant. Adderall is believed to work by changing the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain.
How do I take it?
Your doctor will likely begin your child on a low dose of Adderall and increase the dosage gradually in order to avoid side effects. Your doctor should monitor your child’s growth periodically while they are taking Adderall to ensure that the medication is not interfering with normal growth rates.
Adderall is taken orally one to three times a day.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Adderall.
A study published in 2008 followed 124 children and adolescents under age 21 who met criteria for autism spectrum disorders. Of the 398 episodes of stimulant treatment, 69.4 percent were associated with favorable responses. Researchers concluded that stimulants were effective for treating hyperactivity, impulsivity, disinhibition, and inattention.
A study published in 2006 confirmed the finding of previous small studies that stimulants are equally beneficial for children with both autism and ADHD as they are for children with ADHD only.
Stimulants have caused sudden death in children and adolescents with heart defects and other cardiovascular problems. Adderall may interfere with growth in children. Adderall can cause psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and mania in children and adolescents. Stimulants have caused heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure in adults.
Common side effects of Adderall can include dizziness, dry mouth, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain or upset, fever, headache, diarrhea, nervousness, and insomnia.
Contact your doctor if you experience pain or difficulty during urination, fast or irregular heartbeat, fainting spells, numbness or tingling in the skin, or priapism (painful or prolonged erection) in boys or men while taking Adderall.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions that, in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips, or tongue.