Adderall and Concerta are both brand name medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. They have different main ingredients, but act on the central nervous system in similar ways.
Both Adderall and Concerta are controlled substances. They are prescribed as oral tablets, and both have high potential for drug abuse. Abusing Adderall and Concerta can cause serious side effects in the short-term and long-term.
Similarities Between Adderall & Concerta
Adderall and Concerta are both classified as central nervous system (CNS) stimulant drugs.
They can both be prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD. ADHD is a chronic condition that may include hyperactivity, motor tics, inattention, and impulsiveness.
Adderall and Concerta act similarly on the brain in treating ADHD. They can both increase the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine in the CNS. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls motivation and reward, while norepinephrine can activate the body’s “fight or flight” response.
Both ADHD medications can also treat narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. Both have generic versions that may cost less than their brand name counterparts.
Controlled Substance Status
Adderall and Concerta are both schedule II controlled substances, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
They have a high potential for drug abuse and long-term substance use disorders.
Adderall and Concerta may share several common side effects, including:
- high blood pressure
- changes in appetite
Serious Side Effects
Many serious side effects of Concerta and Adderall also overlap, such as sleep problems, withdrawal symptoms, weight loss, and worsening mental health conditions. Both substances can cause dangerous cardiovascular effects when taken with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
Both substances also have a risk of drug overdose. Drug overdoses on stimulant medications can be fatal, due to the potential for heart problems, psychosis, and seizures.
Differences Between Adderall & Concerta
Adderall and Concerta have different active ingredients. Adderall’s main ingredients are dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, while Concerta’s main ingredient is methylphenidate. Adderall belongs to a specific class of stimulants known as amphetamines.
Adderall is available in both extended-release (Adderall XR) and immediate-release formulations. Concerta is only available as an extended-release tablet.
Adderall is approved for the treatment of ADHD in children, adolescents, and adult ADHD patients. The safety and effectiveness of Concerta on children for symptoms of ADHD has not been studied.
Treatment Options For Prescription Stimulant Abuse
Adderall and Concerta are both potent substances that can treat several chronic conditions. They also see widespread drug abuse. Despite their potential risks, it can be difficult to quit abusing prescription stimulants and amphetamines.
A professional drug addiction treatment program can help patients manage their substance use disorder while slowly decreasing their dose over time. Treatment options may include behavioral therapy, peer support, and other options.
To learn how we address prescription drug abuse in an outpatient setting, please contact us today.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.