Adderall is a compound amphetamine prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder causing people to fall asleep unexpectedly during the day.
Adderall stimulates the central nervous system by forcing the brain to release extra norepinephrine, dopamine and adrenaline, three neurotransmitters implicated in the “fight or flight” response humans rely on to survive stressful situations.
- College students and athletes take Adderall for its ability to increase both physical and mental alertness.
How Long Adderall Lasts
There are 2 basic types of Adderall available at the pharmacy today.
- Immediate release Adderall IR, some users may not need to take more Adderall IR for 6 to 8 hours while others may need to take another dose of Adderall after 12 hours.
- Extended release Adderall XR should last 24 hours and only taken once per day.
- The length of time a user feels these effects depends on individual variables such as level of physical activity, metabolism, dietary intake and body chemistry.
- Following administration of a single dose 10 or 30 mg of ADDERALL® to healthy volunteers under fasted conditions, peak plasma concentrations occurred approximately 3 hours post-dose for both d-amphetamine and l-amphetamine.
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Adderall XR is intended to be a once-a-day oral medication providing relief from ADHD or narcolepsy symptoms for 24 hours. This form of Adderall contains ingredients that allow beads in capsules to release amphetamines in “pulses”. Parents of children with ADHD find extended release Adderall more convenient than twice or three times a day Adderall.
Half-Life & Bioavailability
Adderall’s half-life (the time it takes for Adderall to lose 50 percent of its strength) rate will be dependent on urine pH. When urine has a normal or slightly lower than normal pH. The more acidic someone’s urine is, the lower Adderall’s half-life. Nearly 40 percent of Adderall is eliminated primarily by the kidneys. Abnormal urine pH levels could expand recovery ranges of Adderall in the urine by as much as one to 75 percent.
- Adderall has a half-life is about 10 hours
According to the FDA “The mean elimination half-life (t1/2) for d-amphetamine was shorter than the t1/2 of the l-isomer (9.77-11 hours vs. 11.5-13.8 hours)”
The rate at which Adderall (and other drugs) is absorbed by the body and made accessible to specific brain receptors is called bioavailability. The main factor influencing the bioavailability of Adderall is the pH level of the gastrointestinal system. The more acidic the system, the less Adderall is absorbed by the gut. Following ingestion of Adderall, between 15 to 40 percent of the drug circulates in the bloodstream where it binds to plasma proteins. At peak bioavailability, Adderall is distributed into most of the body’s soft tissues, with higher concentrations found in brain tissue and cerebrospinal fluid.
Adderall’s Side Effects
The effects generally start within one hour of taking a standard dose. Most people taking Adderall will feel its effects that include:
- increased energy
- better focus
- improved mood
- control behavior
- pay attention
Euphoria and a sense of omnipotence are other side effects of Adderall that contributes to addiction if the drug is abused for extended periods. Withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, insomnia, panic attacks, heart palpitations, depression and suicidal thoughts will impact those who are addicted to Adderall and have developed a high tolerance for the drug. When Adderall stops increasing neurotransmitter levels in the brain, users may experience the rapid onset of;
- extreme fatigue
- inability to concentrate
If Adderall is not taken to relieve withdrawal symptoms, these side effects may worsen for several days and then slowly decrease over a period of two to three weeks. Depending on how long an Adderall abuser has been taking the drug and how much they take daily, withdrawing from Adderall can require professional intervention to avoid relapsing. Severe withdrawal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dehydration, muscle tremors and panic attacks. Although there is no medication to help with Adderall withdrawal, medical and psychological support is indicated to help abusers avoid relapse.