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How to Determine the Right Dosage & Schedule of Adderall

right dose of adderall

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Adderall is a stimulant prescribed to increase the alertness and focus of an individual. However, there is no typical average dosage and it varies from user to user since what works for one individual might not work for another.
While Adderall is typically well tolerated, most patients will need a change in dosage after a week or so while determining their reaction to the drug. The right dosage will also depend on which drug the individual is taking as Extended Release Adderall lasts longer than ordinary Adderall. A doctor typically prescribes the lowest recommended dose and slowly increases it over time as a tolerance develops.
The purpose of this article is to help the reader understand how to take this drug and determine the right dosage.

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Table of Contents

Variables Affecting Prescription

Adderall dosages vary according to the unique physical and health conditions of every patient. Nevertheless, a dosage should only be increased over the limit of 30mg if the current dosage is not working at all. Some of the variables that affect prescriptions include:

Burn Rate

Burn rate simply refers to how slow or fast your metabolism works. Bowel problems due to allergies and food sensitivities have been found to affect the efficacy of Adderall. How long Adderall stays in one’s system will be significantly affected by your body’s burn rate. Therefore, your doctor may ask you questions related to you bowel movements and bowel health in order to determine the proper dosage.


Age is also an important factor in determining Adderall dosages. Children aged 3-5 should not be prescribed dosages higher than 2.5 mg. Children above 6 years of age are safe to start with with 5mg doses.


The individual needs of a patient is the main factor in determining the appropriate Adderall dosage. Thos who find it extremely difficult to focus on tasks for even a short period of time typically need a higher dose.


The health professionals may prescribe a low quantity in the beginning,orange bottle with Adderall pills but may slowly increase it due to the presence of the enzyme, CYP2D6 which causes the body to eliminate amphetamines much quicker.
A doctor will also make sure that the patient has not taken any monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) two weeks before their first dose.
Adderall is not the only drug in its class and many other drugs are used for the same purpose. The Ritalin vs Adderall debate has been going on for years, and medical professionals disagree about the effectiveness of each drug. The main difference between the two is the duration their effects. Both drugs are considered to be effective, however Adderall has been proven to be longer lasting. The other way of enhancing its effects is smoking Adderall IR, however, this method is very dangerous.

Relevant Adderall Dosage Charts

The information shown in the Adderall dosage chart expresses the instructions shared by the FDA Adderall Medical Guide.
Adderall 10mg is considered to be a safe beginning dosage. Moreover, it is important to understand that taking Adderall XR 20 mg or Adderall XR 30 mg might be more effective than their IR counterparts. However, the dosage of each medicine varies according to the condition being treated. The following table reveals dosage instructions for the two conditions most commonly treated by Adderall:

Age GroupNarcolepsyADHD
3-5 N/A2.5mg

Adderall Usage Instructions: How Not To Take Too Much

Following the schedule as prescribed by your doctor is essential. Excess amounts of Adderall can have serious negative health consequences. Therefore, before we discuss instructions for taking the drug, we will highlight some important points.
Adderall has not been proven to cause adverse side effects in all pregnant patients. However, Adderall and pregnancy is generally considered a to be a potentially unsafe combination; so expecting and breastfeeding mothers are not advised to use Adderall.
Adderall pills come in the form of tablets and capsules. Patients are advised against chewing or crushing the capsules. If one has difficulty swallowing the capsule, they are advised to sprinkle the contents over food. Adderall can be taken in the morning or in the early afternoon with or without food.
Combination and Interaction
Adderall pills and glass with alcohol on the table
Adderall and alcohol is considered to be another potentially unsafe combination.
Many patients report experiencing adverse mental and physical side effects after the drug’s effects start to wear off. In this case it’s best to speak with your doctor about a suitable Adderall comedown cure.

What to Do If One Misses a Dose?

Whether one takes 20 mg Adderall once a day or 15 mg Adderall twice a day, they can take a missed dose once they remember, but only before the late afternoon. Taking the medication late in the afternoon or the evening can lead to insomnia. There is no need to to alter the next day’s dose in an attempt to compensate.

How Much Adderall is Lethal?

Just as the average dosage of Adderall is not absolute, neither is the lethal dosage. Therefore, an individual should take extreme precaution while taking this medication and not change their dosage or schedule without consulting a health professional. Generally a lethal dose of Adderall is considered to be 20 to 25 mg per kg of weight.

Getting Help

Adderall has been proven effective in treating attention disorders in both children and adults. However, there are many factors to consider before determining the right usage of this medication. It is the responsibility of health professionals and the patients to educate themselves about the drug and its proper usage. Adderall withdrawal supplements may be necessary when a patient is experiencing withdrawal, but severe cases of addiction will require professional help.
There are drug addiction treatment options available for those with Adderall addictions. In the case of a user committing a criminal offense while taking the drug, that person might have to attend a court-ordered rehab for recovery.

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Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Isaak Stotts

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


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