Concerta Vs. Adderall: Differences, Side Effects, and FAQs

July 29, 2021
Conncerta Vs Adderall


Concerta and Adderall are some of the most effective ADHD medications today. These two medications work similarly in treating ADHD, and they also help in reducing ADHD symptoms. Moreover, these two medications have varied effects among persons with ADHD. 

Nonetheless, both Concerta and Adderall have distinctive profiles. These drugs also have different effects among individuals with ADHD. Hence, the question lies; Concerta vs.Adderall: which drug is better?

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Let’s dive into the specifics of these two ADHD medications in this article.


1. ADHD 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental, mental disorder common among kids that can proceed to adulthood years. Symptoms of this mental disorder include difficulty paying attention and being hyperactive or both at the same time. 


2. ADHD Medication

Medication remains the best treatment option for ADHD. Doctors have been prescribing a variety of drugs to persons with ADHD. The symptoms of ADHD can be challenging to manage in the absence of ADHD medications. Thus, your doctor will have to check you before deciding which medication suits you. 

It may take some time before figuring out which ADHD medication best suits you. Your doctor might even subject you to trial treatments before prescribing an effective ADHD medication for you. ADHD medications aren’t one-size-fits-all. Many drugs are effective in treating ADHD, but the most widely used are stimulants.


Common Stimulants for ADHD Treatment


3. Similarities between Concerta and Adderall

Both Concerta and Adderall are among the most popular ADHD medications. Methylphenidate is the main ingredient in Concerta. Adderall contains two main components, namely levoamphetamine and dextroamphetamine. 

What Precisely Is Concerta?

Concerta is one of the most popular medications for ADHD. Concerta comes in tablets that you can take orally, depending on the prescription from your doctor. 

Mechanism of How Concerta Works? 

Concerta is a drug that works by raising the level of neurotransmitters in your brain. The neurotransmitters that Concerta helps with raising include norepinephrine and dopamine. An increase of these two neurotransmitters in your brain can help you combat some of the most common ADHD symptoms. 

What Feeling Does Concerta Give You?

Concerta helps with relieving some of the most common ADHD symptoms. Concerta also has a profound effect on other bodily systems. Therefore, anyone taking Concerta should consume this drug with caution. 

Let’s move on to Adderall.

What Precisely Is Adderall?

Adderall is one of the most popular medications for ADHD. This medication is widely used in the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. Adderall is a stimulant drug, and it has similar effects to Concerta. Both Concerta and Adderall have a lot in common. Adderall is available in two forms. These two forms include: 

  1. Extended-Release Capsules  
  2. Oral Tablets

Both Concerta and Adderall are classified as controlled medications. These two drugs have a high possibility of developing dependence, misuse, and withdrawal effects. Adderall can be effective in helping persons with ADHD managing their ADHD symptoms

Nonetheless, Adderall has a powerful impact on the body. The medication has more substantial side effects that are likely to affect your CNS (central nervous system).

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The following are the effects of using Concerta and Adderall.

Effects on CNS 

Stimulant drugs such as Concerta and Adderall can directly affect your nervous system. These two drugs can raise the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain. The drugs also make these two brain chemicals have a long-lasting effect on your brain. 

Concerta and Adderall will help you focus more since they help increase your brain’s attention. These drugs also boost the feeling of pleasure in your body. Like other ADHD medications, Concerta and Adderall have several side effects on your brain. Some of the side effects of these two ADHD medications include:

  • Anxiety 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia 

Effects on the Cardiovascular System

Stimulants often have adverse effects on the circulatory system. Poor circulation is a significant concern. The ends of digits turn blue or red due to compromised circulation. The fingers become extra sensitive to touch and temperature. 

Another significant effect of Concerta and Adderall on blood circulation is high blood pressure and increased heart rate. This may also increase the possibility of stroke and cardiac accidents. 

Effects of Concerta and Adderall on the Digestive System 

One of the main side effects of Concerta and Adderall is loss of appetite. These ADHD medications can make you eat less. The loss of appetite can lead to substantive loss of weight over time. Hence, you should consume nutritious foods if you are taking these drugs to treat your ADHD issues

Some people even develop malnutrition due to Concerta and Adderall. Therefore, you need to use dietary supplements to accomplish your nutritional needs if you take Concerta and Adderall to cure your ADHD problems. Some people with ADHD develop digestive problems after taking either Adderall or Concerta.


Concerta Dosage Forms and Strengths


Effects of Concerta and Adderall on the Reproductive System 

Concerta causes a serious reproductive issue called ‘Priapism’ among men taking this drug to treat their ADHD problems. In this condition, men experience long-lasting, painful erections. Such erections can lead to permanent damage to the reproductive organs. There is ongoing research on the effect of Adderall on the reproductive system, but no conclusive evidence is yet to be found. 

What Are Some of the Common Side Effects of Concerta and Adderall?

Like other ADHD stimulants, both Concerta and Adderall have several side effects which may persist for two weeks. Some of the side effects of these two drugs include: 

  • Nausea 
  • Feeling tired 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability  
  • Dizziness 
  • Headache
  • Anxiety

There are also more severe side effects of Concerta and Adderall. These side effects include:

  • Seizures 
  • Hypertension 
  • Stunted growth among kids 
  • Heart problems

Effects of Concerta and Adderall on the Skin

People who take Concerta and Adderall can end up experiencing skin problems. Some of the skin problems you are likely to suffer from if you are taking either Concerta or Adderall include blistering, itching, and hives.

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4. Differences between Concerta and Adderall

The significant difference between Concerta and Adderall is the salt composition. Adderall has amphetamine salts. On the other side, Concerta has methylphenidate salt as its main ingredient. However, you could be wondering why doctors prescribe Concerta over Adderall to people with ADHD

The answer to this question lies in the dosage of Concerta and Adderall.

The effects of Concerta are more long-lasting than Adderall’s effects. Hence why, due to its prolonged action, Concerta is only taken once a day, while Adderall has to be taken multiple times to bring the same effect.

Concerta is available in the advanced formula. The advanced version of Concerta takes effect within an hour. On the other hand, Adderall can take up to three hours to produce desirable results.

What Conditions Can Concerta and Adderall Treat?

Concerta is an effective prescription drug. The drug is especially effective in kids below six years. The medication is also effective in treating ADHD in younger adults and adolescents. Nonetheless, Concerta isn’t suitable for adults aged 65 years and above. 

Adderall is highly effective in treating ADHD. Adderall is also suitable for people with narcolepsy. Both Concerta and Adderall also treat several other psychiatric issues, including anxiety, depression, and bipolar mental disorder. Nonetheless, the off-label use of these two medications remains controversial up to date. 

Concerta Vs. Adderall – Which Medication Is More Effective?

Going by the meta-analysis, there is evidence that long-lasting stimulants such as Concerta and Adderall are more effective than other stimulant drugs when treating ADHD. You can take such long-acting stimulants once a day rather than taking these medications in repeated dosages. 

The same study also focused on assessing the effectiveness of stimulants and non-stimulant drugs in treating ADHD and demonstrated that stimulants are more effective in treating ADHD than most non-stimulant drugs. 


Symptoms Treated by Concerta


Price Comparison of Adderall Vs. Concerta

Concerta comes in the form of an extended-release medication. Nearly every health insurance plan, such as Medicare covers this medication. The cost of Concerta is around $ 300 per 30 tablets. Since the prevalence of ADHD is relatively high in the US, most people with ADHD want to save their money on prescription ADHD drugs such as Concerta.  

Tip: You can end up saving a significant amount of your money by purchasing ADHD medications using your SingleCare discount card. Moreover, you can still use your discount card even if you have health insurance coverage. Using your SingleCare discount card will help you save plenty of money on your ADHD medications in the long run. 

Most health insurance policies also cover Adderall. Medicare and other insurance plans cover Adderall, mainly when doctors prescribe this medication as a generic drug. The average cost of Adderall is about $150 and above. However, you can lower the cost of this drug to $33 if you use your SingleCare discount card. 

Drug Interactions of Concerta and Adderall

Both Concerta and Adderall have similar properties. Hence, you shouldn’t take these two medications with other drugs. For instance, you should never take these two drugs with antidepressant medications such as MAO inhibitors. The main issue with taking Concerta and Adderall is that these drugs can raise your blood pressure. Thus, these medications shouldn’t be taken with any antidepressant medications, especially within the first 15 days of using MAOIs or other antidepressant medications. 

Persons with cardiac problems should also avoid using stimulant drugs such as Concerta and Adderall since these two drugs can lower the efficiency of antihypertensives in these two drugs. 

Medications such as Concerta and Adderall can increase your heart rate. These drugs can also lead to serious drug interactions if taken along with antiarrhythmic and antihypertensive drugs. Doses of stimulant drugs such as Concerta and Adderall should be administered moderately among persons with cardiac diseases. 

Adderall mainly shows severe drug reactions with other drugs such as Ritonavir and Quinidine. These two drugs block the activity of the enzyme CYP2DC in your liver. These two drugs can disrupt the activity of Adderall and further increase the level of the drug in your blood.

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Risks Associated with Concerta and Adderall

Both Concerta and Adderall are schedule II drugs according to the famous DAE system. The findings from DAE show that these two drugs have a high potential for abuse and misuse. Ceasing to take these drugs suddenly can lead to severe withdrawal effects. It explains why doctors taper these drugs gradually to avoid severe withdrawal effects among persons with ADHD. 

Concerta and Adderall are CNS stimulants. These two drugs have a possibility of developing secondary chronic issues. Some of the long-term effects of these drugs include stroke, abnormal heart rhythms, and cardiomyopathies. Like other stimulant drugs, both Concerta and Adderall can increase your blood pressure levels if you use them in the long term. The increase in blood pressure can lead to permanent hypertension in persons using either Adderall or Concerta. 

Thus, strict monitoring is essential among ADHD persons who are using Concerta and Adderall. Another concern with using these two ADHD medications is that they can lead to stunted growth among kids. 


5. A Review of Concerta Vs. Adderall: Comparison Table

Below is a comparison table between Concerta and Adderall.

Concerta  Adderall 
Drug class type CNS stimulant CNS stimulant
Availability of brand and generic versions? Both versions are available Both versions are available
Generic name Methylphenidate  Dextroamphetamine 
Available drug forms Oral, extended-release Oral only
Standard dosage *18-35mg once daily

Dosage can range from 18mg weekly which should not be increased by 54mg in children and 72mg in adults.

*5 mg to 40mg once in the morning

Dosage will further be preceded by taking after every four to six hours as directed by a physician.

Dosage can be increased by 5mg intervals but should never exceed 40mg.

Duration of treatment  The duration is purely based on the doctor’s recommendation but is usually long-term for this drug. The duration is purely based on the doctor’s recommendation but is usually long-term for this drug.
What age group uses these drugs? Older adults of age up to 65 years and children from an age of six years Adults and children from an age of three years and older.

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6. Concerta Vs. Adderall FAQs 

Many questions arise from the use of Concerta and Adderall in treating ADHD. This section of this article will look into the most commonly asked questions about Concerta and Adderall. 

Why Do Doctors Recommend Concerta over Adderall?

Both Concerta and Adderall are effective in treating ADHD. Nonetheless, most doctors recommend the use of Concerta in treating ADHD over Adderall. Doctors give Concerta a lot of emphasis over Adderall because the former offers longer-lasting effects.

Do Concerta and Adderall Give You Energy?

These two stimulant drugs help with stimulating the brain. Both Concerta and Adderall can provide you with high alertness and concentration. Nonetheless, these properties of these two drugs make them more vulnerable to abuse. Young college students are more likely to be addicted to Concerta and Adderall.  

Who Should Avoid Taking Concerta and Adderall?

Like other drugs, Concerta and Adderall aren’t the best choices of medications for everyone. Some health conditions can change the way these two drugs work. Therefore, you need to avoid these two drugs, especially if you have any existing health conditions. Kindly avoid taking Adderall or Concerta if you have these health conditions below:

  • Anxiety 
  • Stress 
  • Tension 
  • Glaucoma 
  • Hypertension problems after taking Concerta or Adderall 
  • Avoid taking Concerta if you have these health conditions
  • Tourette’s syndrome 
  • If you exhibit a family history of Tourette’s syndrome 
  • If you have tics 

Avoid taking Adderall especially if you have any of these conditions listed below:

  • Drug addiction and drug abuse 
  • Hyperthyroidism 
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Hypertension 
  • Cardiovascular diseases


Conditions Treated by Adderall


What Will Happen if You Take Adderall When You Don’t Have ADHD?

Long-term use of Adderall can increase the levels of dopamine in your brain. Thus, persons taking Adderall without ADHD diagnosis can experience conditions such as high energy levels and euphoria. 


7. Verdict on Comparison between Concerta and Adderall

The use of Concerta and Adderall has been an issue of debate among health experts. These two drugs have been proven to effectively treat ADHD and all the symptoms linked with this mental disorder

We all understand that all drugs aren’t made equal. The case isn’t different for either Concerta or Adderall. Thus, it would help you seek professional advice from a health specialist before starting using Adderall or Concerta.

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Don’t forget to talk to your doctor about your personal and medical history. Your doctor will likely prescribe the best medication once the doctors understand your ADHD problems. Nonetheless, Concerta and Adderall remain some of the best treatment options for ADHD. These two drugs can help you overcome your ADHD problems provided you use them responsibly. Furthermore, use Concerta and Adderall according to your doctor’s prescription.

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