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How Fast Does Adderral XR Work?

Expert Q&A


Updated January 08, 2005

Q. Is it possible for Adderall XR to work on the first day or was it all in my boy's head? I could not believe the difference it seemed to make at school the first day. I stayed at school to make sure he wouldn't be sleepy with the med. He was paying attention, raising his hand, studying at recess and lunch on his music book on notes. He knew he was behind and he was trying to learn so he could keep up with everyone else. He did say he felt a little dizzy and he wasn't hungry much at lunch, but I gave him a good breakfast. For the first time this year he was able to go to the game room (free time) instead of study hall. Isaac is in the 5th grade. I was beaming with pride and so proud of him the whole day. Is it possible one day could make a difference? Kim, Columbus, Ohio

A. Unlike many other medicines, Adderall XR doesn't need to build up in your body over several days or weeks to get to a steady level at which it begins working. Instead, it can work as soon as you begin taking it, as you have seen.

There are many reasons why some parents might not see such a quick and dramatic improvement though, including that:

  • they started at too low a dose and it needs to be increased
  • their child is having side effects, like being irritable or moody, and they have to wait for the child to 'get used to' the Adderall XR before seeing the beneficial effects
  • they aren't going to see the benefit, no matter what dosage they get to or how long they take it, and need to either try another medicine or get their diagnosis of ADHD reevaluated
Very often, the effects are quickly noticeable though. And sometimes the improvement is so dramatic that parents feel guilty that they didn't get their child evaluated and treated for ADHD at an earlier age.

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