Difference Between Adderall and Adderall XR (With Table)

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is one of the most common chronic neuro-disorders among children that showcases symptoms like hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and being impulsive. It is diagnosed in childhood and lasts till adulthood. Stimulant is a predominant term that covers many drugs including those that increase the activity of the central nervous system and the body and is a hit method to oversee ADHD.

Adderall and Adderall XR

The main difference between Adderall and Adderall XR is that Adderall is an immediate-release drug and Adderall XR is an extended-release drug showcasing that the two salts used in their manufacturing i.e., dextroamphetamine and amphetamine are more slowly released over time from Adderall XR compared to Adderall and hence Adderall needs to be taken multiple times per day whereas Adderall XR can be taken once daily.

Difference Between Adderall and Adderall XR

IR stands for Instant-Release whereas XR stands for Extended-release. This is what majorly marks the difference between these two drugs. Affected individuals can take both the IR and XR variation daily.

Adderall, commonly called Adderall IR, ensures instant release and absorption of the ingredients of the drug at the same time. In this medication, the effects are felt 30minutes after the dosage and last up to nearly 4 to 6 hours.

Adderall XR ensures the release of the drug into the body over a longer period. In this medication, the effects are felt an hour after the dosage and last up to 8 to 12 hours.

Comparison Table Between Adderall and Adderall XR

ParameterAdderallAdderall XR
ConstituentsDextroamphetamine and Amphetamine saltsDextroamphetamine and amphetamine salts extended-release
Drug FormatAdderall comes in an oral tablet form.Adderall XR comes in an oral capsule form.
Dosage It can be taken several times a day.A single dose is a sufficient daily.
First Invented19962001
Release FormatImmediate-release of the entire drugBalanced immediate-release and delayed-release
Duration of effectShorter-actingLonger-acting
Dose Variations5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, 30 mg

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that is widely used in the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. It is also utilized as an aphrodisiac and euphoriant, as well as an athletic performance booster, cognitive enhancer, and hunger reducer.

This mixture consists of equal parts Racemic and Dextro variations of amphetamine, producing a ratio of 3:1 between dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine, two enantiomers of amphetamine.

In therapeutic doses, Adderall causes emotional and cognitive effects such as euphoria, altered libido, increased alertness, and improved cognitive control and also includes physical effects such as faster reaction times, fatigue resistance, and increased muscle strength. Conversely, much larger doses of Adderall can impair cognitive control, cause rapid muscle breakdown, trigger panic attacks, or induce psychosis.

The side effects of Adderall are temporary and wear off in a couple of weeks and they include

  • insomnia,
  • dry mouth,
  • loss of appetite,
  • and weight loss.

When Adderall is used as prescribed at relatively low daily doses, such as those used to treat ADHD, the risk of developing an addiction or dependence is negligible; however, using Adderall as recreational dosages poses a significant risk of addiction. The benefits of using Adderall include the fact that it acts rapidly and may have a bigger impact, but there is a considerable risk of a crash when the prescription wears off.

What is Adderall XR?

Adderall XR is an upgraded variant of Adderall with similar constituents as Adderall but with a better and faster reaction rate. This medication alters the norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain resulting in better concentration and managing behavioral issues. The advantage Adderall XR has over Adderall is that it is a once-daily dose and lasts throughout the day.

People with heart and high blood pressure problems have good tolerability to Adderall XR and produce fewer adverse effects and it was found to have considerably long-term safety and effectiveness for treating ADHD.

Adderall XR prescribed patients do not face serious side effects but the common side effects include-

  • Loss of appetite,
  • weight loss,
  • dry mouth,
  • stomach upset/pain,
  • nausea/vomiting,
  • dizziness,
  • headache,
  • diarrhea,
  • fever,
  • nervousness,
  • and trouble sleeping.

As far as the medications are being taken at the same time and in the same dose every time in a constant manner it is not influenced by meal consumption. Some doctors recommend removing the beads from the Adderall XR pill and eating them with any soft meal.

Main Difference Between Adderall and Adderall XR

  1. The frequent or intermittent usage of Adderall helps in less severe Adderall Withdrawal Symptom. Adderall XR users being medicated throughout the day have an increasingly difficult time discontinuing the drug.
  2. Adderall takes up to 3 to 4 hours to reach its maximum level in the blood whereas Adderall XR takes up to 8 to 12 hours to reach its peak and hence Adderall users may experience the effects faster than Adderall XR users.
  3. Adderall IR was invented in 1996 but Adderall XR did not come into use until 2001.
  4. One of the most convenient advantages of Adderall and Adderall XR is that Adderall can be absorbed more easily than the latter.
  5. Adderall IR and Adderall XR both cause crashes but the latter one has an increased severity and duration of the crashes.
  6. There is also a major difference in the cost of the two variations. While the IR variant costs around $158 to $170 the XR variant costs $225 to $240.
  7. From the perspective of drug abuse Adderall has a higher rate of the propensity of abuse as it is easier to crush a tablet than to crush beads present in Adderall XR.


Your doctor may prescribe Adderall or Adderall XR depending on your situation. Both types of Adderall have the same active ingredients and work in a similar manner. However, they range in terms of formulations, as well as the speed with which you’ll notice their benefits and how long they’ll last.

According to circumstantial reports on the internet, Adderall XR is better than Adderall IR — and vice versa. This might be a placebo effect, but it could also be due to variances in absorption. Apart from the fact that they belong to the same class of drugs they also have various similarities like-

  • They both act as dopamine reuptake inhibitors.
  • They both work in curing ADHD and narcolepsy.
  • They both have 75% dextroamphetamine and 25% levoamphetamine.

It is determined whether you will be administered Adderall or Adderall XR based on your overall health and symptoms. These medications’ dosages are very customized and, in some situations, must be changed over time. Tics can be exacerbated by using Adderall or Adderall XR. An alternate medicine may be advised if you or your kid suffers from tics or Tourette’s syndrome. In certain youngsters, long-term Adderall usage has been proven to inhibit development.


  1. https://www.publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article-split/110/2/258/64390/A-Randomized-Double-Blind-Placebo-Controlled
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890856709616282
  3. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1087054712468486