Difference Between Concerta and Adderall

While Concerta and Adderall are both medications that are commonly prescribed to patients who are suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. When the areas of the brain that are responsible for focusing and paying attention properly are not functioning as they should, one of these two medications is often prescribed.


There are few similarities between the two medications, as each of them have been given brand names, but are actually generic medications. Methylphenidate is the generic drug that Concerta is considered equivalent to, while Adderall is actually the combination of two generic drugs: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.


To many, it may seem as if there are very few differences between the two drugs. However, there many subtle nuances when it comes to these two medications and it behooves patients to make themselves fully aware of all of them before making a decision about which one that they decide to begin taking.


The purpose of each drug is the same, but the method in which they treat the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder differs. Adderall is often prescribed to patients who cannot handle a Concerta dosage. Concerta pills can be tough to swallow for many, so doctors will prescribe Adderall, since a patient is able to open the capsule up and sprinkle it into a meal.


One of the most crucial differences between the two drugs is their associated risk groups. There are a number of patients who will not be able to take Adderall or Concerta, for a variety of reasons. For example, Concerta is not recommended to patients who are currently suffering from glaucoma, a hereditary history of Tourette’s syndrome, motor tics, easily agitated, dealing with an anxiety disorder or have a hypersensitivity to the drug itself.

Conversely, Adderall should not be prescribed to patients who are in a state of agitation, who are suffering from advanced arteriosclerosis or symptomatic cardiovascular disease. Those who have high blood pressure are advised against using Adderall and hyperthyroidism is also another disorder that does not mix well with the usage of Adderall.

Much like Concerta, Adderall is typically not prescribed to glaucoma patients. Hypersensitivity to the sympathomimetic amines is another reason why patients are not given Adderall prescriptions. If a person has a history of abusing drugs in the past or is currently taking MAOI antidepressants, they are not to be given Adderall under the majority of circumstances.


One of the most important factors when it comes to taking any sort of medication is its overall effectiveness. As with any other medication, a doctor will need to know the entirety of your medical history before prescribing it. Neither of these drugs have received the proper study to fully gauge their long term effect on the human psyche, which is why many physicians err on the side of caution when it comes to prescribing either of them.


The costs associated with each of these medications tend to exorbitant, as compared to those that are similar. In most cases, Adderall’s extended release medication costs more than Concerta. On the other hand, Concerta’s generic version is more expensive than Adderall.

Studies that have been performed with the objective of assessing methylphenidate (the generic drug from which Concerta is derived) effectiveness versus the effectiveness of amphetamine (the generic version of Adderall) have found that Adderall is more potent than Concerta and also has a much longer lasting effect on the patient to whom it is prescribed.

It should be noted that these differences tend to vary greatly, depending on the patient’s specific needs and are not always pronounced. Each patient’s medical history must be considered in full detail before Concerta or Adderall is prescribed to them.

When a patient is prescribed any form of psycho-stimulant medication, one of the more common side effects is a loss of appetite, which typically leads to weight loss. However, a patient who is prescribed Adderall is far more likely to experience these effects than a patient who is given Concerta instead, due to the presence of mixed amphetamine salts.

Side Effects

On the whole, Adderall side effects are considered to be much worse than those experienced by Concerta patients, due to its increased potency. However, neither medication has been in circulation long enough for there to be concrete evidence of its long term effects. While both medications are considered to be extremely addictive and are both categorized as Schedule II controlled substances, Adderall users tend to experience a far greater instance of addiction.

The age at which each medication can be prescribed also differs slightly. If a child is six years of age or younger, they are advised against the usage of Concerta, as it can adversely effect their health in a number of ways, including headaches, nausea, insomnia and dizziness.

Children are able to begin taking Adderall as soon as they reach the age of three. Many of the same side effects as Concerta still apply and any child who experiences dry mouth and high blood pressure, in addition to the aforementioned Concerta side effects should seek immediate medical attention.

While there are many similarities between these two medications and their objectives are the same, there are a number of crucial differences that must be considered when deciding upon the correct course of treatment for a patient who is suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A physician needs to consider the specific needs of the patient and prescribe accordingly. Otherwise, a patient could experience severe complications.