Amphetamine (By mouth)


Treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (sudden attacks of uncontrollable sleepiness). Amphetamines belong to a class of drugs called stimulants.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Didrex, Dexedrine Spansules, Dexedrine, Dexedrine Spansule, Desoxyn, Vyvanse

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to amphetamines or other stimulants. You should not use this medicine if you have glaucoma, overactive thyroid, high blood pressure, active heart disease, or clogged or hardened arteries. You should not use this medicine if you have used an MAO Inhibitor such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate®) in the past 14 days. Do not use this medicine if you have a history of drug abuse, or if you are in an agitated mental state. Do not give this medicine to a child under 3 years of age.

How to Use This Medicine

Long Acting Tablet, Capsule, Long Acting Capsule, Tablet
  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • You may take this medicine with or without food.
  • It is best to take the extended-release form of this medicine when you first wake up.
  • If you use the short-acting tablet or capsule form of this medicine, take your last daily dose about 6 hours before bedtime (unless your doctor tells you otherwise).
  • Swallow the extended-release tablet or extended-release capsule whole. Do not break, chew, or crush it.
  • If you cannot swallow the extended-release capsule, you may open it and pour the medicine into a small amount of soft food such as pudding, yogurt, or applesauce. Stir this mixture well and swallow it without chewing.
  • This medicine is only part of an ADHD treatment program that may also include counseling or special education. Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about all treatment measures.
If a dose is missed:
  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • If it is less than 6 hours before bedtime (or 10 hours if you use the extended-release capsule), skip your missed dose and wait until the next morning to take your medicine.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
  • There are many other drugs that can interact with this medicine. Make sure your doctor knows about all other medicines you are using.
  • Tell your doctor if you are also using acetazolamide (Diamox®), chlorpromazine (Thorazine®), antacids, heart rhythm or blood pressure medicine, pain medicine, or diuretics ("water pills"). Your doctor should also know if you use medicine to treat asthma, depression, chest pain (angina), ulcers, or seizures.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using any other medicines to treat ADHD, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin®) or pemoline (Cylert®).
  • Avoid also using caffeine, cold or allergy medicine, diet pills, or street drugs such as cocaine or "speed" while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Tell your doctor if you have heart disease or if you were born with a heart defect.
  • Tell your doctor if you have Tourette's syndrome, anxiety or nervousness, high blood pressure, a heart rhythm disorder, or a history of drug abuse.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.
  • This medicine may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions. Using too much of this medicine can cause serious medical problems or even death.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.
  • This medicine may slow the normal growth of a child who uses it. Talk with your doctor if you feel your child is not growing properly.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
  • Be careful not to let your heart rate get too fast when you exercise or play sports.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Change in behavior, unusual or disturbing thoughts.
  • Chest pain.
  • Confusion, rapid breathing, panic, hallucinations, lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat.
  • Seizure.
  • Severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain.
  • Sudden or severe headache, problems with vision, speech, or walking.
  • Uncontrolled body or facial movements, uncontrolled vocal noises.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
  • Dry mouth, bad taste in your mouth.
  • Feeling tired, irritable, nervous, anxious, or depressed.
  • Headache.
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss.
  • Restlessness, dizziness, trembling, or nervousness
  • Stomach pain, diarrhea or constipation.
  • Sweating, nausea, or vomiting
  • Trouble sleeping.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
Adam Data Copyright The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only--they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

For information 410.787.4000

© 2015 UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center.  All rights reserved.

301 Hospital Drive, Glen Burnie, MD 21061 | 410-787-4000 | TTY 410-787-4498