Can You Take Adderall With Adderall XR?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not Adderall (immediate release amphetamine salts) can be taken with Adderall XR.

Question

Hello, I was prescribed Adderall XR and it works, but I feel that part way through the day it doesn't work well enough. Can I take immediate release Adderall with it? Thanks!

Asked by Jim On Aug 12, 2022

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Aug 12, 2022
Last updated Aug 12, 2022

Key points

  • Adderall XR capsules contain two different types of drug-containing beads, which are released in two phases (immediately and delayed),
  • Adderall XR lasts around 8 to 12 hours per dose.
  • Adderall (immediate-release) and Adderall XR are sometimes prescribed together if Adderall XR wears off too soon.

Answer

Hello and thank you for your question!

Adderall XR and Adderall are both used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and contain the same active ingredient, a mixture of amphetamine salts.

Most individuals can be treated adequately with either Adderall or Adderall XR alone, but, it's certainly not uncommon to see them prescribed in conjunction for certain people. If they are used together, most often, Adderall XR (which is extended-release) is taken in the morning, and Adderall (immediate-release) is taken in the afternoon.

Adderall XR Is Designed To Mimic Twice Daily Dosing Of Adderall

Adderall XR is an extended-release version of Adderall and is generally dosed once a day in the morning when you first wake up.

The reason I say that Adderall XR is typically adequate to be used alone (not with Adderall immediate-release) is because Adderall XR is designed to be, for the most part, equivalent to taking an immediate-release Adderall two times a day.

Adderall XR delivers medication in two different phases. Some of the drug-containing beads are released immediately upon taking a dose, and the rest of the medication is delivered later to prolong the overall duration of action. The prescribing information for Adderall XR states the following:

The ADDERALL XR capsule contains two types of drug-containing beads designed to give a double-pulsed delivery of amphetamines, which prolongs the release of amphetamine from ADDERALL XR compared to the conventional ADDERALL (immediate-release) tablet formulation
Adderall XR Prescribing Information

According to clinical studies and the prescribing information for Adderall XR, one daily dose of Adderall XR produces similar blood levels to two doses of immediate-release Adderall, dosed 4 hours apart.

  • For example, one dose of Adderall XR 20 mg in the morning produces similar blood levels of Adderall 10 mg, dosed 4 hours apart. Below is a graph illustrating this.
Taking Adderall With Adderall XR

Source: Prescribing Information For Adderall XR

Peak concentrations of Adderall XR in the blood occur around 8 hours after dosing.

If the effects of Adderall XR are wearing off too fast, or you are not getting the desired effect, your dose of the Adderall XR might be too low or, if you have been taking Adderall XR for a length of time, you may have developed a tolerance. Talk to your doctor about increasing the dose of your medication or switching to an alternative.

When Adderall (Immediate-Release) Can Be Added On

Even though Adderall XR is designed to be long-acting, and mimic the dosing of immediate-release Adderall (given twice a day), it's fairly common to see certain individuals take Adderall (immediate-release) later in the day, as a "booster" dose. This is typically at least 8 to 12 hours after taking Adderall XR if it is wearing off too quickly.

This is generally preferable to dosing Adderall XR twice daily, since it may increase the risk of certain side effects, like insomnia. Adderall (immediate-release) only lasts around 4 hours, so as long as it is dosed far enough before bed, you can avoid sleep issues due to the drug.

If you are in a situation where your Adderall XR dose is not providing the effects you need, it is important to speak with your doctor about your situation so they can determine whether or not adding immediate release Adderall is an option for you.

Final Words

Thanks again for your question!

Remember to never crush, chew, or break Adderall XR. This medication can be taken with or without food, but taking it with a high-fat meal could delay the time it takes to reach peak concentrations in the body.

References

  • Adderall XR Prescribing Information, AccessFDA
  • Adderall XR: long-acting stimulant for single daily dosing, PubMed

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 13 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical, program development, and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Dr. Brian Staiger also has herbalist training and educational certificates in the field of medical ethnobotany. Feel free to send him an email at Hello@HelloPharmacist.com! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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