Adderall is a highly in-demand medication that has experienced a shortage over the past year due to insufficient manufacturing and greater prescription rates. Its effects include improved memory, focus, energy, and mood, making it a drug that is at a high risk of being abused by those without a prescription.
Whether you dropped your pills and need to put them back in their place, found an old Adderall prescription that you’re using until your next refill (with doctor approval), or just have a pill that you’re uncertain of, it’s crucial that you know what Adderall looks like.
What Does Adderall Look Like?
Like many medications, Adderall looks different depending on the dosage contained in the pill, the specific type of Adderall you’re prescribed, and whether it’s generic or not. This variation is meant to make it easier for you to identify the dose or type of medication you’re taking.
Adderall, the fast-acting, instant-release stimulant, often comes in pressed tablets that vary in color and shape based on the dosage of the pill. They range from 5 mg to 30 mg, which are available in both Adderall and generic forms.
- 5 mg Adderall is a small, circular, and white pill with “AD” printed on the side and “5” printed on the other.
- 7.5 mg Adderall is an oval-shaped blue pill with “AD” printed on one side and “7.5” printed on the other.
- 10 mg Adderall is a circular blue pill with “AD” printed on one side and “10” printed on the other.
- 12.5 mg Adderall is a round peach-colored pill with “AD” printed on one side and “12.5” printed on the other.
- 15 mg Adderall is an oval-shaped orange pill with “AD” printed on one side and “15” printed on the other.
- 20 mg Adderall is a circular orange pill with “AD” printed on one side and “20” printed on the other.
- 30 mg Adderall is an oval-shaped light orange pill with “AD” printed on one side and “30” printed on the other.
Generic versions of Adderall will replace the “AD” imprint with “dp” while maintaining the dosage indicator on the other side of the tablet.
Extended Release (XR) Adderall Capsules
Unlike instant-release Adderall, Adderall XR comes in capsules that contain small balls or beads which may be visible if the specific dose or brand uses clear capsules.
- 5 mg Adderall XR is a blue and clear capsule with “Adderall XR” printed on the opaque part of the pill while “5 mg” is printed on the other half of the capsule.
- 10 mg Adderall XR is a blue capsule with one transparent blue half and one opaque blue half with “Adderall XR” printed on the opaque part while “10 mg” is printed on the other half of the capsule.
- 15 mg Adderall XR is a white and blue capsule with one transparent blue half and one opaque white half with “Adderall XR” printed on the opaque part while “15 mg” is printed on the other half of the capsule.
- 20 mg Adderall XR is an orange capsule with two opaque halves with “Adderall XR” printed on one half part while “20 mg” is printed on the other half of the capsule.
- 25 mg Adderall XR is a white and orange capsule with two opaque halves with “Adderall XR” printed on the white part while “25 mg” is printed on the orange half of the capsule.
- 30 mg Adderall XR is an orange and clear capsule with one transparent clear half and one opaque orange half with “Adderall XR” printed on the opaque part while “30 mg” is printed on the other half of the capsule.
Generic versions of Adderall XR will follow the same color scheme but will replace the “Adderall XR” with the manufacturer name, such as “SHIRE 381”.
The Dangers of Taking the Wrong Adderall
Like any medication, taking the wrong dose of Adderall can have consequences. If you take too little, you won’t be able to achieve the same level of therapeutic effect that the correct dosage provides. If you take too much, you risk dealing with uncomfortable side effects like heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, headaches, anxiety, and more - especially when combined with other stimulants like caffeine.
The biggest danger, however, is taking “fake” Adderall that you cannot verify the origin of. Generic medications can be just as effective as their clearly-labeled counterparts, but a “mystery pill” that you can’t identify could do more than cause unpleasant side effects - it could kill.
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), stimulants like Adderall that are popular on the street are at a risk of being mixed with drugs like fentanyl or methamphetamine. They may look very close to the authentic version of Adderall or its generic, but they’re much more dangerous. Considering the recent shortage of Adderall, there have been several bad actors that tried to take advantage of the situation by selling fake Adderall laced with dangerous chemicals.
For this reason, never take Adderall that is not directly prescribed for you by a doctor and dispensed from a licensed pharmacist who can verify their authenticity.
How to Spot Fake Adderall
Being able to spot fake Adderall can help to save you from a potentially fatal mistake. The biggest failsafe here is ensuring you are getting Adderall from a legitimate pharmacy.
How it’s packaged and how the pills look can also be a red flag. Both the packaging of the medication you receive and the pill itself can give you an idea of if your medication is authentic.
Look for misspellings, different text, alternative NDC codes, or varied fonts on the packaging that is provided with the medication - these are telltale signs of counterfeit medications. You may find imprints that are in a different position than usual, discoloration, or unusually-shaped pills. You’ll also want to avoid medication that comes in a blister pack because Adderall comes strictly in bottles - either dispensed by your pharmacist or in a 100-count bottle from the manufacturer.
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