Dexedrine: Dosage, Side Effects & Treatment

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Dexedrine is a branded formulation of dextroamphetamine. This prescription stimulant is used primarily to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and narcolepsy. 

Although Dexedrine can be highly effective when used as prescribed this Schedule II controlled substance also carries a strong risk of abuse and addiction.

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What is Dexedrine?

Dexedrine is a stimulant of the CNS (central nervous system) that is also available in generic form (dextroamphetamine).

Although chiefly prescribed to treat ADHD, Dexedrine pills can sometimes be effective for the treatment of narcolepsy.

When taken by individuals diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Dexedrine’s stimulant effects promote focus and calm. When taken by those with the chronic sleep disorder narcolepsy, Dexedrine triggers wakefulness and heightened energy levels.

Like all Schedule II controlled substances, there are some medical applications for Dexedrine, but the substance is also likely to bring about abuse and addiction. Studies show that 1% of people prescribed stimulant medications reported abusing the medication. This compares favorably to the 10% abuse rate of prescription opioids.

Common Dexedrine side effects include:

  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia 

Once these initial side effects subside, you may experience:

  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness
  • Tremors

Less common side effects of Dexedrine include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Altered libido
  • Decreased sexual function
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Headaches
  • Increased perspiration
  • Stomach cramps
  • Weight loss 

You should consult your prescribing physician if you experience any of these adverse Dexedrine effects:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Hives or skin rash
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Mood changes
  • Pounding heartbeat 

Dexedrine Dosage

Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) is normally taken in tablet form once daily. Depending on how an individual responds to the medication, tablets may be taken twice or three times daily.

A typical starting dose of Dexedrine is from 2.5mg to 5mg daily. Children are prescribed Dexedrine doses of 2.5mg to 40mg daily. Adults are prescribed Dexedrine doses of 5mg to 60mg daily.

With several different strengths available – Dexedrine 10mg and Dexedrine 20mg – as well as an extended-release formulation, dose can be personalized.

How long does Dexedrine last, then?

How Long Dexedrine Last?

Dexedrine comes in both short-acting and long-acting formulations.

The short-acting Dexedrine tablet is available in 5mg dosages. A single dose lasts for around 2 hours.

The longer-acting Dexedrine spansule is available in 5 mg, 10 mg, and 15 mg doses. Dexedrine in extended-release form is usually effective for 8 to 10 hours.

Dexedrine vs. Adderall

Dexedrine and Adderall are CNS stimulants. Both medications are FDA-approved for treating ADHD and narcolepsy.

Dexedrine contains dextroamphetamine, while Adderall is a combination medication that contains both dextroamphetamine and amphetamine.

Both Dexedrine and Adderall stimulate the CNS more vigorously than Ritalin (methylphenidate). Ritalin is often a first-line treatment for ADHD. 

While these two forms of amphetamine differ in their chemical makeup, both medications have been successfully used to treat ADHD since 1970. 

Currently, the immediate-release forms of Dexedrine and Adderall are approved by the FDA for treating ADHD in children aged 3+. The extended-release forms (Dexedrine Spansule and Adderall XR) are approved for treating children aged 6+.

Is Dexedrine Stronger Than Adderall?

Dexedrine is stronger than Adderall. Dexedrine only contains dextroamphetamine, the more potent type of amphetamine. Adderall, by contrast, also contains amphetamine. This substance is a milder stimulant than dextroamphetamine.

Dexedrine Withdrawal & Symptoms

If you stop using Dexedrine after a period of sustained use, you are liekly to experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that start manifesting within one day of discontinuing use. These are the most common symptoms of Dexedrine withdrawal:

  • Oversleeping
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Confusion
  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Hunger
  • Cravings for Dexedrine
  • Seizure

The Dexedrine withdrawal timeline is shorter than the opioid withdrawal timeline, although slightly more protracted than meth withdrawal. The detox process, while uncomfortable, is also usually less life-threatening. The bulk of Dexedrine withdrawal symptoms will subside within a week.

While there are no medications currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of stimulant use disorder, a supervised clinical detox provides you with the safest and most comfortable pathway to recovery.

Dexedrine Addiction

The chronic abuse of Dexedrine is highly likely to trigger addiction in the form of stimulant use disorder, one of ten substance use disorders (addictions) recognized by American Psychiatric Association. Stimulant use disorder is diagnosed as mild, moderate, or severe, based on the number of the following symptoms that present from DSM-5-TR:

  1. Using Dexedrine in dangerous situations.
  2. Problems in interpersonal relationships due to Dexedrine abuse.
  3. Failing to fulfill obligations at home, work, or school.
  4. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop using Dexedrine or reduce Dexedrine dosage.
  5. Tolerance forming so you no longer feel the same effects from your previous dosage.
  6. Using larger amounts of Dexedrine and spending longer periods of time abusing the medication.
  7. Trying and failing to stop using Dexedrine or to moderate use.
  8. Dexedrine abuse causing or inflaming physical or mental health problems.
  9. Spending less time doing things you once enjoyed due to Dexedrine abuse.
  10. Cravings for Dexedrine manifesting.
  11. Continuing to use Dexedrine despite substance abuse causing problems in all areas of your life.

Dexedrine Addiction Treatment at California Detox

If you have been abusing prescription medications like Dexedrine, we can help you reclaim control over your life. 

Before engaging with treatment at California Detox in Orange County, you may want to take advantage of supervised detoxification at our licensed medical detox center. Detox will address the physical component of Dexedrine dependence, preparing you for ongoing treatment. 

Choose from the following programs:

  • Residential rehab (inpatient program)
  • Outpatient program
  • IOP (intensive outpatient program)
  • Virtual IOP (remote rehab program)
  • PHP (partial hospitalization program)
  • Dual diagnosis (for treating addictions with co-occurring mental health conditions) 

All of our treatment programs provide you with access to the following evidence-based interventions:

  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy (talk therapy like CBT and DBT)
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapy 

For a whole-body approach to recovery from Dexedrine addiction, reach out to California Detox today by calling 949.390.5377.

FAQs

Yes. Dexedrine is a Schedule II controlled substance with a high potential for addiction, according to NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse).

Yes, physicians in the United States still prescribe Dexedrine. That said, it is now considered to be older-generation ADHD medication. Modern stimulant medications like Adderall, Mydayis, and Vyvanse are more commonly prescribed today.

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