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Concerta vs Adderall

Drug facts and comparison

Concerta

methylphenidate

Adderall

dextroamphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate monohydrate, amphetamine sulfate

Uses

  • To treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children aged six to 18
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To treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children 6 years of age or older

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Summary

Brand name: Concerta
Brand name: Adderall
Manufacturer: Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Manufacturer: Shire US Inc.
Active ingredient: methylphenidate
Active ingredient: dextroamphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate monohydrate, amphetamine sulfate
Indication: To treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children aged six to 18
Indication: To treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children 6 years of age or older

Side Effects

Most common

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling nervous
  • Mood changes
  • Irregular heartbeat

More serious

  • Allergic reactions
  • Seizures
  • Muscle spasms
  • Paranoia
  • Suicidal thoughts

Most common:

  • Headache, dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Weight loss, loss of appetite
  • Feeling anxious, fast heartrate, changes in mood
  • Trouble sleeping

More serious:

  • Chest pain, difficulty breathing, feeling faint
  • Hallucinations, paranoia, aggression
  • Feeling numb, pain, changes in skin color, unexplained wounds
  • Seizures
  • Changes in vision

Drug Interactions

Severe interactions
  • Opiates – tramadol
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) – selegiline, phenelzine
Serious interactions
  • Diuretics – bendroflumethiazide
  • ACE inhibitors – captopril, enalapril, ramipril
  • Calcium channel blockers – amlodipine, felodipine, nifedipine
  • Beta-blockers – atenolol, bisoprolol, propranolol, sotalol
  • Antidepressants – citalopram, fluoxetine, sertraline
Moderate interactions
  • Immunosuppressants – cyclosporine
  • Anticoagulants – warfarin
Severe interactions
  • Antidepressants – citalopram, fluoxetine, sertraline, venlafaxine
Serious interactions
  • NSAIDs – celecoxib
  • Antipsychotics – haloperidol
  • Proton pump inhibitors – esomeprazole, omeprazole
  • Antiarrhythmics – amiodarone, dronedarone
Moderate interactions
  • Anticonvulsants – carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin

Warnings

You should not use Concerta if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient methylphenidate
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Concerta
  • Are under six years of age
  • Have thyroid problems
  • Have glaucoma
  • Have a heart condition
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have problems with the blood vessels in your brain
  • Have mental health conditions like schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, mania, severe depression, or an eating disorder

You should talk to your doctor before using Concerta if you:

  • Have a liver or kidney condition
  • Have a narrowing or blockage in your food pipe or gut
  • Have ever had seizures or an abnormal brain scan (ECG)
  • Are female and have started your periods
  • Have a mental health problem where you experience mood swings, hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety, or depression
  • Are about to have an operation
  • Are intolerant to some sugars
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed

You should not take Adderall if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient methylphenidate
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Concerta
  • Have used a MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days, such as isocarboxazid, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine
  • Are younger than 3 years old
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed

You should talk to your doctor before using Adderall if you:

  • Have had problems with drug or alcohol abuse
  • Have a history of depression, mental illness, bipolar disorder, or suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Have glaucoma
  • Have an overactive thyroid
  • Have severe agitation
  • Have high blood pressure, heart disease or coronary artery disease
  • Have vascular disease
  • Have motor tics or Tourette’s syndrome
  • Suffer from seizures
  • Have liver or kidney disease
  • Blood circulation problems in your hands or feet
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant

Dosage

Once daily

Once daily

Cost

30 Concerta tablets, 45 mg will cost around $370

 

100 Adderall tablets, 5 mg will cost around $950

FAQs

Concerta contains methylphenidate whereas Adderall contains a mixture of amphetamine salts. Concerta and Adderall are brand names for prescription drugs both classed as CNS (central nervous system) stimulant drugs thought to work by increasing the concentration of two neurotransmitters (dopamine and norepinephrine) in the brain. Brand-name drugs tend to cost more than their generic versions.

Adderall and Concerta are both Schedule II controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II substances have a high potential for abuse, which can lead to dependence both psychologically and physically.

Here we will explain how they work, their similarities and differences, their side effects, and more. This should provide you with the basics to better understand your options.

What is Concerta?

Concerta is an FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved ADHD medication manufactured by Janssen. It is a prescription drug used for the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in children aged 6 to 18, and sometimes in adults too. The medication is taken orally as a tablet. Your physician will decide how often you take it and at what dose.

ADHD is a condition that causes differences in brain development and activity. The most common effects of this are inattention, impulsive behavior, excess energy, and difficulties with controlling your emotions. It usually emerges and is diagnosed in childhood, often between the ages of 6 and 12. It can be diagnosed later in life though. ADHD can be very disruptive to your life, affecting performance at school and in the workplace, as well as interfering in your home and social life.

Concerta helps with ADHD by affecting your brain activity. The medication increases activity in certain regions of your brain, improving your attention, helping you focus, making you less impulsive, and easing other symptoms of ADHD. Concerta is often used alongside other treatments, like counseling and behavioral therapy.

The active ingredient in Concerta is called methylphenidate. This helps with brain activity by increasing the amount of norepinephrine and dopamine in your brain. These two substances are naturally produced in your brain and they help to send signals between your neurons.

Usually, excess norepinephrine and dopamine are reabsorbed by the neurons that make it. Methylphenidate blocks this from happening though, allowing levels of these substances to increase. Higher levels of norepinephrine and dopamine enhance communication between your neurons, increasing brain activity. This is associated with improvements in thinking and behavior, like increased attention and reduced impulsivity.

Concerta dosage

Concerta is available in extended-release tablet form, in the following doses: 18, 27, 36, and 54 mg.

Concerta should be taken in the morning once daily, with or without food. It should be swallowed whole with water. It should not be chewed or crushed. The recommended starting dose is 18 mg once daily for children and adolescents new to methylphenidate, and 18 to 36 mg/day in adults. The dose may be increased at weekly intervals to a maximum of 54 mg/day in children and 72 mg/day in adolescents and adults.

For additional safety information, read the full prescribing information and medication guide. Always speak with a healthcare professional for medical advice about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is an FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved medication manufactured by Shire US Inc. Adderall is a prescription stimulant medication, also used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children (ages 6-12), adolescents (ages 13-17), and adults. It is also approved to treat narcolepsy, a sleep disorder with excessive daytime sleepiness and episodes of sleep attacks.

The active ingredients in Adderall are amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Adderall can become physically addictive and cause withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped, whereas these problems aren’t typically reported with Concerta.

Adderall dosage

Adderall is available as an immediate release tablet formulation, in the following doses: 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, and 30 mg. It is also available in the extended-release form of a capsule in the following doses: 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, and 30 mg.

Your dose will be based on your age:

  • Children aged 6-17 years of age – 10 mg once daily in the morning
  • Adults – 20 mg once daily in the morning

Common side effects of Concerta and Adderall

The most common side effects of Concerta in clinical trials include:

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling nervous
  • Mood changes
  • Irregular heartbeat

More serious side effects of Concerta include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Seizures
  • Muscle spasms
  • Priapism (prolonged, painful erection)
  • Potential for gastrointestinal obstruction
  • Psychological issues like paranoia and suicidal thoughts

The most common side effects of Adderall in clinical trials include:

  • Loss of appetite, weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Changes in mood
  • Vomiting, nausea, and fever
  • Anxiety
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache, dizziness
  • Fast heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Asthenia
  • Urinary tract infections

More serious side effects of Adderall include

  • Serious cardiovascular events
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Psychiatric adverse events – may cause treatment-emergent psychotic or manic symptoms in patients with no prior history, or worsening of symptoms in patients already suffering with psychosis
  • Long-term suppression of growth
  • Seizures
  • Peripheral vasculopathy, including Raynaud’s phenomenon
  • Visual disturbance
  • May exacerbate tics

These aren’t all the adverse effects Concerta or Adderall can cause. You can find more details in the patient leaflet that comes with your medication. If you have any concerns about side effects, talk to your physician or pharmacist.

Concerta and Adderall drug interactions

Concerta can interact with other medications. These include:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) antidepressants
  • Medicines for Parkinson’s disease, like levodopa
  • Medicines for epilepsy
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Blood-thinning medications
  • Cough or cold remedies that can affect blood pressure

Adderall can interact with other medications. These include:

  • MAOI antidepressants
  • Alkalinizing agents (GI antacids and urinary)
  • Acidifying agents (GI and urinary)
  • Adrenergic blockers
  • Antihistamines
  • Antihypertensives
  • Tricyclic antidepressants – norepinephrine, and meperidine

Concerta and Adderall can interact with other medications. This can change how Concerta and Adderall and other medications work and can make side effects more likely. Tell your prescribing physician about all your drugs, including vitamins and dietary supplements.

Concerta and Adderall contraindications

You should not use Concerta if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient methylphenidate
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Concerta
  • Are under six years of age
  • Have thyroid problems
  • Have glaucoma
  • Have a heart condition
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have problems with the blood vessels in your brain
  • Have tics or Tourette’s syndrome
  • Have mental health conditions like schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, mania, severe depression, or an eating disorder

Talk to your doctor before using Concerta if you:

  • Have a liver or kidney condition
  • Have a narrowing or blockage in your food pipe or gut
  • Have ever had seizures or an abnormal brain scan (ECG)
  • Are female and have started your periods
  • Have a mental health problem where you experience mood swings, hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety, or depression
  • Are about to have an operation
  • Are intolerant to some sugars
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed

You should not use Adderall if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient methylphenidate
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Concerta
  • Have known structural cardiac abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, serious heart rhythm abnormalities, coronary artery disease, or other serious heart problems
  • Have used a MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days, such as isocarboxazid, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine
  • Are younger than 3 years old
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed

Talk to your doctor before using Adderall if you:

  • Have had problems with drug or alcohol abuse
  • Have a history of depression, mental illness, bipolar disorder, or suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Have glaucoma
  • Have an overactive thyroid
  • Have severe agitation
  • Have high blood pressure, heart disease, or coronary artery disease
  • Have vascular disease
  • Have motor tics or Tourette’s syndrome
  • Suffer from seizures
  • Have liver or kidney disease
  • Blood circulation problems in your hands or feet
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant

Other ADHD drugs

Discuss your treatment options with your healthcare provider. If you have any concerns about Concerta or Adderall side effects, talk to your physician, or pharmacist for medical advice. Also inform your healthcare provider about any medical conditions, supplements, and over-the-counter meds you are taking. You are also encouraged to report side effects to the FDA: visit http://www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.
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