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Adderall XR vs. Adderall IR help

Adderall XR vs. Adderall IR help2012-12-03T16:50:53+00:00

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  • #91209

    Post count: 8

    Hey all,

    I’m in a bit of a conundrum. So I started off taking 10mg XR which did nothing for me. My doctor bumped me up to 20mg xr and that worked fantastic but it would wear off in 6 to 7 hours. Then they prescribed me an additional 15mg IR to take in the afternoon for continued focus. That worked great for about a month, then the effects of the 20mg XR started to slowly become less and I wouldn’t really be able to focus until I took my 15mg IR in the afternoon. I went up to 30mg XR but that made me dizzy an hour after taking it, so after a week of use I went back down to the 20mg XR. The 20mg XR is still becoming less and less effective, but the 15 IR works great.

    Because of these effects, I did some of my own research and found that dextroamphetamine (i.e. adderall XR) is the right handed isomer of amphetamine salts (i.e. adderall IR). So the chemical is essentially the same, but the structure is different and is cleaved in a different manor. This is why dextroamphetamine salts are only available as extended release and amphetamine salts are only available as instant release. Isomers can have drastically different effects chemically, and some have been known to cause disease while the opposite isomer (same chemical) can be used as a drug to help cure people.

    My question is, is because the structure of a chemical can have alter its effect drastically, could it be that I process IR much better than XR since the IR doesn’t seem to have diminished but the XR has? Or could it be that the amount released in the morning is not enough to get me going?

    Here’s another kicker. My doctor said I could experiment slightly with my medication on my own. Not doing anything stupid like taking the entire bottle or anything, but things like taking half of my 15mg IR in the morning and the other in the afternoon, taking half of a 15mg IR in the morning and whole in the afternoon along with my 20mg XR, etc ( I fully discussed all options with my doctor before experimenting). What I found is that even when taking an extra half pill of the 15mg IR I get great results with no dizzyness no matter when I take it.

    I’m going to wait until after my holiday break as stress might be a huge factor as well (I’m a master’s student) to change anything medication wise. I just wanted some insight on this if anyone knows more about the effects and the influence of the chemical structure on a person.

    I think that either the IR is more effective for me in a chemical manor or the extra boost of dopamine is needed for more concentration. I have no idea why the XR makes me dizzy but the IR doesn’t even at higher doses or in combination with the XR…..

    Any thoughts?

    On a side note, never have I had an increase in heart rate from taking the medication. I have checked at the doctors and various other places and even got an EKG just to make sure I didn’t have any underlying heart conditions (doctor wanted me to be checked out on that just to safe on the medication, but neither of us thought there was a problem). Also, I work out 4 times a week and see no increase in heart rate outside of what normal exercise would induce.


    Post count: 116

    hi kristya! i also take a combo of the xr and the ir adderall. i think i started sometime in september? i have had similar experiences, though only one incidence of dizziness…and that had happened to me before – way before taking any meds. overall my experience is that it is helpful, sometimes more sometimes less. if i haven’t had adequate sleep or am very stressed(more than usual) it can feel like it’s not working at all.

    had an experience last month that really shook me. had been feeling more groggy than usual for a few days, also more scattered and all, and then one morning i was so tired that when i got home after dropping my son to school i konked out on the couch i think as soon as i hit it. didn’t take my morning med at the ususal time so i could sleep in, and didn’t have alarms set because i wasn’t working that day. i woke a few hours later, still super tired, but took my med hoping it would help me function. i promptly fell back asleep…..and didn’t wake again until 5 pm! and only then because husband had just returned with our 2 boisterous kids. i took my ir then, even though it was late, hoping to be alert and together enough to help my son with his homework. i had a bite to eat, made sure his homework was complete, got him ready for bed…..and went back to sleep! the next day , though i didn’t pass out all day again, i still felt tired and “out of it” all day and night, despite taking my meds. the following day i took extra med(more ir) because i needed to be alert (didn’t trust that the other parents would be adequately vigilent about monitoring the kids in the pool) and i was ok. actually by the evening i felt better than i had in days.

    and then i began to really worry – had i developed a tolerance to the med already? is that even possible in so short a period of time?

    well, i told my psych about what happened. he said definitely not a tolerance issue, but sounded more like a prodrome of a bad flu. sure enough, days later – after caring for my son who was sick with some sort of upper respiratory bug, it hit me, and hit me hard. and while it was quite uncomfortable at times, i was relieved that it wasn’t an issue with the med.

    the point being, the med can only do so much, and it’s effects are very much affected by your circumstances – sleep/health/stress/diet/…

    also, from what i know, the active chemical components-including the isomers- are the same for the xr and ir, it’s just the xr is coated for different time release in order to achieve longer and more level blood levels. just the same, i also feel i do better with the ir, i’m guessing probably for some period the blood levels go higher than with the xr that i’m taking, and think other factors may influence this too….which may mean i’m not on an ideal dose of the xr, but don’t really want to go higher with the xr if i can avoid it, and also don’t really want to have to worry about remembering to take meds even more often than i do now if i switch to all ir :)

    i don’t know if this helps, but at least you know you’re not alone ;)


    Post count: 8

    Oh! I read the label on my medication wrong and that’s was why I was confused. I think. I have the generic versions and the XR says dextroamp-amp and the IR says amphetamine salts which I’m now thinking are two different ways to say the same thing. I asked my doctor about it and she said the difference maybe in the way the molecules are cleaved.

    She either didn’t understand the chemical make-up behind the two (I don’t expect every doctor to know every medication off hand) or it was the way I asked the question. She also said it could be that my system handles a large dose all at once really well but not over an extended period? I’m not quite sure.

    At any rate, I’ve continued to go down hill in the past two days, doing things that I haven’t done in two months. For instance, I got a locker at my library to store my stuff in during the day when I’m running in between lab, class, and working out and proceeded to lose the key to it in about an hour. I then spent two hours trying to find it in my backpack only to discover it was in my pocket :/. It was a waste and I really needed to work on things. That was very common place for me two months ago (pretty much every 30mins-give or take-I would be looking for something). Focus, among other things, has also gotten worse. Granted it’s still way better than not using adderall, but it has definitely been getting harder. I never want to go back to having to deal with all the anxiety associated with losing everything, forgetting important lab work and school stuff, and not being able to “hear” in or “read” for classes!!!!

    I hoping that after I make it through these last two weeks and when I’m less stressed my medication will start working better.

    Do you have any suggestions or tricks? Is there anything that worked for you?


    Post count: 116

    wish i had a great answer for you, but here goes…

    when i go through rougher spurts, i use more alarms/reminder timers, try to write more notes – and stick them in my pocket so i don’t lose them (and at some point i’ll find them hehe), try to get adequate sleep, try to avoid adding on any additional responsibilities(if possiible)……you can also try taking a walk/doing yoga/pmr to help calm the mind.

    and when all else fails, take a deep breath and remember, “this too shall pass” :)


    Post count: 2

    IR is often more intense and feels more strong.  Extended release is smoother and lasts longer.  Neither is better.  That said, many people do better, at least according to my research, on long lasting, because it’s easier and smoother.


    Good luck!


    Post count: 430

    I take straight adderall. Amph salts. 5mg  twice a day. The stuff was tailor made for my brain. The Isomer of adderall, did NOT work. I got all the side-affects and none of the benefit.

    Experimentation: I cut a 10mg pill in half and if it cuts one side bigger than the other, I take the larger of the two in the morning and the smaller in the afternoon.

    I had to experiment with timing. 6 – 8 hours apart, seems to help me, without cutting into sleep and relaxation.

    I had to experiment with dosage. The doc started me off with 20mg, twice a day, and it felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I did not wait for her to give me the OK to cut that dose in half. I was still dizzy and dealing with a VERY fast heart beat, so cut the dose in half again. DING!!! Got the concentration, got rid of the monkey chatter, got rid of the side effects, and my other symptoms eased as well.

    My doctor and I had to experiment with different medication: NOTHING worked as well as my little blue pills, so I went back to them and refused to move. That was 2 or more years ago. WOW what a difference!!!

    Remember: Individual results WILL vary. Why? Each of our brains and brain chemistry is different. Our bodies metabolize medication differently. Even though we are all in that “Normal” range.


    Hope this helps.


    Post count: 43

    Please check out our “Read This First” post for a full explanation of this medication. http://totallyaddconnect.com/forums/topic/read-first-for-information-on-adderall-xr/

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