Parents Guide to ADHD Medications


Amphetamine Medications

Adderall, Evekeo, Zenzedi and Dexedrine are all short-acting forms of amphetamines, that take effect about 30-45 minutes after taking them and they are effective for 3-4 hours. Amphetamines tend to be slightly more potent than methylphenidate and last a little longer, but in general the effects are similar to methylphenidate.

As with methylphenidate, some preparations of amphetamines have been created to release the medication over a greater period of time, extending the duration of the effect of the medication. This is of great benefit when trying to provide a response that lasts through a school day (typically 6-8 hours). Some of these compounds take effect as quickly as the short-acting forms of these medications. These compounds include:

  • Adderall XR is the longer-lasting form of Adderall and was designed to be effective for 10-12 hours. Like Metadate CD and Ritalin LA, it is a capsule with beads and can be opened and mixed with food.
  • Vyvanse is amphetamine plus an extra compound called lysine, which attaches itself to the amphetamine, creating an extra step that the body has to go through to make it active. Vyvanse can last very long — up to 14 hours — but may take a little longer in the morning to start working.
  • Dexedrine Spansule is the long-acting form of Dexedrine and typically lasts about 6-8 hours.
  • Dynavel XR is a long-acting liquid form of amphetamine. It can have an effect that lasts as long as 10-12 hours.
  • Adzenys XR-ODT is a tablet that dissolves in your mouth and doesn’t need to be swallowed. It has a similar duration of response as Adderall XR.