ADHD Home > Dexedrine

Dexedrine is often prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. Although the medication is a stimulant, it can cause a calming effect when used in the proper doses to treat ADHD. It causes an awakening effect when used to treat narcolepsy. Dexedrine comes in two forms -- tablets and Spansules. Potential side effects include insomnia, weight loss, and changes in sex drive.

What Is Dexedrine?

Dexedrine® (dextroamphetamine sulfate) is a prescription medication that is used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also used to treat narcolepsy. The medication comes in two forms: tablets and Spansules®. Spansules are specially designed capsules that release the medication slowly over time. They can be taken just once a day, eliminating the need to take the medication at school or work.
Because Dexedrine is a stimulant and is commonly abused, there are special rules for prescribing it (see Dexedrine: A Controlled Substance). Also, it is illegal to buy the medication without a prescription (see Dexedrine Without a Prescription).
(Click Dexedrine Uses for more information on uses for the drug, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes It?

Dexedrine is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline Corporation. Generic versions are made by several manufacturers.

How Does Dexedrine Work?

Dexedrine is a stimulant, although it has effects that are opposite from what would be expected of a stimulant. While stimulants (like caffeine) can cause hyperactivity, Dexedrine has a calming effect when used in the doses to treat ADHD. While the exact way the medication produces a calming effect is not known, it is known to affect chemicals in the brain.
Dexedrine is also licensed for narcolepsy treatment. Narcolepsy is a condition that involves falling asleep uncontrollably and at unusual times. People who have narcolepsy symptoms often appear paralyzed while they are sleeping and have hallucinations when falling asleep. People with this condition often fall asleep several times during the day.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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