Concerta vs Adderall

In a world of increasing distractions, one can find themselves quite helpless without the proper help from a medical professional. Do you have difficulty maintaining your attention on daily tasks? Do you lack motivation to perform even the simplest household chores? You may have a form of attention deficit disorder, and you should seek medical attention right away. Have no fear, however, because your doctor has a vast number of options at his or her disposal when diagnosing and treating the spectrum of attention deficit disorders. Today, let's talk about two of the most efficacious medicines prescribed by doctors when it comes to attention deficit disorders. These medicines are Adderall and Concerta.


Concerta is the brand name for an extended release formulation of the drug known as methylphenidate. The medicine is classified as a member of both the phenethylamine and piperidine classes. Simply put, it stimulates the human central nervous system. Adderall is listed only in the phenethylamine class, but we'll get back to that later. The point is that both drugs do just about the same thing, and they're by no means the only two options when it comes to proper treatment of attention deficit disorder. Concerta is encased in a proprietary capsule delivery system that allows about 22% of the drug to enter the blood stream instantly, while the remaining amount is slowly titrated into one's system over the next ten to twelve hours. Concerta is what is known as a “racemic” mixture of two enantiomers: d-methylphenidate and l-methylphenidate. In other words, there is a “right handed” and a “left handed” version of methylphenidate in each capsule of Concerta. Both molecules have been measured to have different effects on certain aspects of brain chemistry. On a related note, doctors have even developed a pill containing only d-methyphenidate. It is known by the brand name “Focalin.” This is because every patient is different and will have different needs. Concerta is prescribed in 18 mg, 27 mg, 36 mg, and 54 mg quantities. There is no proof that Concerta or methylphenidate is a harmful drug when used as prescribed. The same is true for the multitude of amphetamine based medicines prescribed by doctors for those suffering from some form of attention deficit disorder. This brings me to one drug in particular: Adderall.


The amphetamine class, part of the larger phenethylamine class, is arguably a more effective treatment for attention deficit disorder. However, due to human selfishness and greed, amphetamines have become more and more stigmatized over time. This is because those who abuse amphetamine give the moderate, doctor mediated amphetamine users a bad reputation. Amphetamines were historically derived from the Ephedra bush, which naturally contains ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. These two compounds are malleable enough to modify chemically such that any number of molecules could be engineered. Let's now look back at Adderall. It's an equal mixture of four slightly differing amphetamine compounds. Each tablet of Adderall contains 25% of each of the following: amphetamine aspartate monohydrate, amphetamine sulfate, d-amphetamine saccharate, and d-amphetamine sulfate. This racemic mixture is touted as the most efficient, least addictive medicine available for those suffering from some form of attention deficit disorder. This is because the mixture of both l-amphetamine and d-amphetamine is a trademarked blend. Research led doctors and scientists alike to the same conclusions when developing Adderall. What's more is that there are both instant release and extended release formulations of Adderall, and only a doctor can help someone decide what works best for them. Adderall is listed under the DEA controlled substance act as a “Schedule 2” medicine. Methylphenidate, the active ingredient in Concerta, is also a “Schedule 2” medicine. This means that Drug addiction is a grave risk when a person abuses Adderall or Concerta. However, those taking their medicine as prescribed under doctor supervision rarely experience any of the negative side effects that go along with stimulant addiction. Very high doses of any psychotropic stimulant drug (like Concerta or Adderall) can cause a myriad of terrible side effects, such as psychosis, paranoia, delusions, mania, and depression. The best method is to listen to your doctor, take their advice seriously, and never give up on improving your overall quality of life.