Two stimulants which are widely used to help treat ADHD are Adderall and Desoxyn. If you're considering one of these two drugs to improve your symptoms, read through this guide to find out what these two medications have in common and what makes each one unique.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is one of the most commonly known medications used to treat ADHD. It is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. It's also categorized as a schedule II narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Administration. This means that it has a high potential for abuse, but when taken properly for ADHD, this is not a high-level concern. In fact, Adderall can be prescribed for patients as young as 3 years old.

Four different types of amphetamine salts (dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate) are combined to create this drug. Some of the most common side effects associated with Adderall include:

  • Restlessness
  • Sleep problems
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight changes

What Is Desoxyn?

Like Adderall, Desoxyn is a CNS stimulant and a schedule II drug. It can be prescribed for patients ages 6 and up.

The active ingredient in Desoxyn is methamphetamine hydrochloride. Some of the most common side effects include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sleep problems
  • Upset stomach
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Tremors

Key Differences Between Desoxyn and Adderall

There are a few minor differences which distinguish Adderall and Desoxyn, like the age at which the medications can first be prescribed and the potential side effects associated with each. There are also some similarities between the two drugs, like both being stimulant ADHD medications and schedule II narcotics.

Ultimately, there are two key factors which account for the most important differences between Desoxyn and Adderall: dosages and active ingredients.


The dosages available for Adderall and Desoxyn are very different. Desoxyn is available only as a 5 mg tablet. Meanwhile, Adderall is available in a wide range of dosages and in both immediate-release and extended-release formulas. Immediate-release Adderall tablets are available at 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg. Extended-release Adderall tablets (also known as Adderall XR) are available at 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, and 30 mg.

The difference in dosages available is an important factor to consider when comparing these two drugs. The many options available for Adderall make it easier to find the correct dosage for each patient.

Active ingredients

These two drugs have different active ingredients in their formulations. Adderall is composed of amphetamines, while Desoxyn features methamphetamine.

Some people are wary of the fact that Desoxyn contains the same ingredient as crystal meth. It's important to note that Desoxyn is an FDA-approved medication that is safe when taken as directed. However, there are concerns that long-term use of this drug could lead to pulmonary arterial hypertension. Overall, most clinicians prefer to prescribe Adderall since it is considered safer to use compared to Desoxyn in long-term cases.

Trial and Error with ADHD Meds

Getting ADHD medication isn't always a simple process. A medication which works well for one individual might not be as effective for another. In other cases, the right medication is found, but it takes a while to figure out what dosage works the best.

If you're new to taking ADHD medication, or you're interested in switching to a different drug treatment, it's important to keep in mind that there will likely be some trial and error involved in the process. It's rare to get the right fit for ADHD medication on the first try. Everyone's brain chemistry is unique, and as a result, it may take a few attempts to determine the best medication and dosage to meet your needs.

The good news is that figuring out the best ADHD medication for you is easy with Done. Our licensed and board-certified clinicians provide personalized recommendations for medication based on your unique needs. From there, you'll be able to easily share your progress with your provider. If you're not getting the results you hoped for, they'll be able adjust your dosage or medication type until you find the best fit.

Because our clinicians use a convenient telehealth platform, that means there are no long waits for follow-up appointments. In addition, Done makes it easy to stay in touch with your care team so you can get answers to your questions and concerns in a timely manner and work closely to find the correct dosage and medication type. If you're interested in getting ADHD treatment online, get started with Done by taking our simple one-minute online assessment.