Adderall Vs. Ritalin: An ADHD Medication Comparison

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  • Author Jeff Hardy
  • Published September 10, 2020
  • Word count 1,053

Generally, the people who take medication for treating ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are on a regular intake of stimulants. Ritalin and Adderall, they both fall under the same category of drugs that helps in treating ADHD and its symptoms. The work of Ritalin and Adderall is to assist in balancing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. Eventually, it will lay its positive impact on your concentration level.

As per the reports, around 80% of the people who take a stimulant, they get treated from the issue of ADHD. In the same way, Adderall and Ritalin will have a similar effect on a person’s health. However, it may not be the case for every other person. That’s the reason why your doctor may prescribe you for Ritalin or Adderall dosage as per your health condition. The effect of the drug and its side effects can be different for different people. If in case one medication does not give you enough effect, your doctor may prescribe you for the other one.

Difference Between Ritalin and Adderall –

Although Ritalin and Adderall are similar in effect, each drug contains different active ingredients. Ritalin is comprised of Methylphenidate Hydrochloride, whereas Adderall is composed of Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine. As per a recent report, due to the presence of Methylphenidate in Ritalin, the drug will be suitable for children with ADHD problems. Some researchers have found out that Amphetamine in Adderall will be best for adults with an issue of ADHD.

Side Effects –

Many researchers have said that Ritalin and Adderall are safe drugs, but only if you take them in the right proportion and as per the doctor’s advice. It is essential to follow the prescription of the medication so that no side effects occur. Most of the time, both Ritalin and Adderall can have a significant side effect on a person’s body.

The following side effects may occur with the use of Ritalin or Adderall –

• Low appetite

• Difficulty in sleeping

• Involuntary body movements

• Sudden tics and repetitive

• Stomach aches

• Change in personality

• Feeling anxious and irritable

• Headaches

A person who experiences any such side effect can refer to the doctor then and there. It is essential to report it with the doctor and get immediate help. Apart from the health issues mentioned above issues, a person may also face – heart problems, seizures, blurry vision, mental issues, and blood circulation problems in finger and toes.

Dosage –

The dosage of Ritalin and Adderall may vary as per the need of the patient. There can be different reasons that will define the dosage of Ritalin and Adderall as per a person’s health. Note that every individual will be given a different dose as per the health conditions. People who take a lower dose of Ritalin or Adderall will see the effect of the drug for the lowest time.

It is seen that a doctor will determine the correct dosage after doing a trial with the lowest dose. If the drug suits with the patient’s health and condition, the tablets of the right dosage amount are prescribed. It can also be steadily increased to give the maximum effect of the drug for the proper treatment.

Cost of The Drug –

The price of a drug may vary according to the platform from where you are purchasing it. At some places, the costing of Ritalin may be higher and at some Adderall. It generally depends upon the type of drug that you are purchasing. The longer-acting drug will have a higher cost as compared with the short-acting drugs. As we know, both Adderall and Ritalin are brand medications and will cost more than the generic versions.

Are Adderall and Ritalin the same?

Ritalin and Adderall both stimulants, but they contain different ingredients. Adderall contains dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, and Ritalin contains methylphenidate hydrochloride. Doctors prescribe both of these medicines for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies show that between 70 to 80% of children with ADHD have shown improvement after getting treatment from fast-acting stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin.

Both of these drugs have various side effects and long term effects. Though doctors prescribe both these medicines to people with ADHD regardless of their age, the assumption is that Adderall is more effective for treating the symptoms in adults, and Ritalin is more suitable for children.

Drug Interactions

Both Ritalin and Adderall interact with other drugs. You should tell inform your doctor about all the prescription or non-prescription medicines you are taking before starting the treatment with either of these medications. Some drugs can have severe effects if you use them Ritalin or Adderall, so it is always good to make your doctor aware of them and avoid harmful interactions.

Below are the different drugs that interact with Ritalin and Adderall.

Ritalin Interaction

• Coumarin anticoagulants

• Antidepressants

• High blood pressure drugs

• Anticonvulsants


• Antipsychotics

• Imipramine

• Haloperidol

• Bupropion

• Guanethidine

• Clomipramine

• Clonidine

• Warfarin

• phenytoin

Adderall Interaction

• Sodium bicarbonate

• Acidifying agents

• Monoamine oxidase inhibitors

• Antihistamines

• High blood pressure drugs

• Antidepressants

• Lithium

• Antihypertensive

• Quinidine

• Ritonavir

• Propoxyphene

• Hydrochlorothiazide

• Fentanyl

• Ethosuximide

• Tramadol

How long Ritalin and Adderall stay in your body?

Both Adderall and Ritalin are available in the immediate-release as well as extended-release formulations. Ritalin is a marketing name for methylphenidate, and Adderall is the trade name of amphetamine-dextroamphetamine, and both are stimulant drugs. The short-acting form is available in tablet form, while you can get the extended-release usually in the form of a capsule.

The effects The immediate-release form of both drugs usually lasts for 4 hours. The extended-release formula can stay in your body upto 10 to 12 hours in case of Adderall, and Ritalin’s long-acting version can have effects that last for 6 to 12 hours.

Ritalin and Adderall Addiction

Adderall and Ritalin are both Schedule II controlled substances, which means if you take them for an extended period, then you may develop a dependence on them, which can turn into an addiction. The risk of dependence is higher if you are using the short-acting or immediate-release formula, as it can help you focus on a task in a relatively short time. The risk is low while using the long-acting form, as it releases the medicine slowly.

Both of these drugs can be addictive, so you should take caution and don’t use these medicines for a more extended period than your doctor has prescribed.

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