Skip to Content

What is the generic version of Adderall?

Adderall is a stimulant medication that is commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It contains a combination of amphetamine salts that help increase focus and attention. Adderall works by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which are neurotransmitters that play an important role in concentration and attention.

Overview of Adderall

Adderall was first approved by the FDA in 1996. It is available in two formulations – Adderall IR (immediate release) and Adderall XR (extended release):

  • Adderall IR lasts for 4-6 hours and requires multiple doses throughout the day.
  • Adderall XR lasts for approximately 12 hours and only requires once or twice daily dosing.

Both versions contain a 3:1 ratio of dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine salts. The extended release capsules have a delivery system that releases the active ingredients in stages over the day.

Adderall is available in multiple strengths, ranging from 5mg to 30mg. The dosage prescribed depends on the individual needs and response of the patient. It is a schedule II controlled substance due to its high potential for abuse and dependence.

Generic versions of Adderall

Since the active drug patent for Adderall has expired, there are several generic versions available. A generic drug contains the same active ingredients as the brand name version. The FDA requires generics to be bioequivalent to their brand name counterparts, meaning they deliver the same levels of the active drug over the same period of time.

Some of the most common generic versions of Adderall include:

Generic Name Manufacturers
Amphetamine salt combo Teva, CorePharma, Sandoz
Dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, amphetamine sulfate Actavis, Impax Labs
Dextroamphetamine sulfate, amphetamine sulfate Mallinckrodt, Aurobindo

These generic versions are available in the same strengths as brand name Adderall. The amphetamine salt combo generic mimics the 3:1 ratio of salts found in brand name Adderall. The other generic versions contain only dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine.

Cost differences between brand and generic

One of the biggest differences between brand name and generic Adderall is the cost. Brand name medications are priced higher because of the research and development costs incurred by the original manufacturer. When the patent expires, generic versions enter the market at a fraction of the brand name cost.

Here is a comparison of estimated retail prices for a month’s supply (30 tablets) of 20mg Adderall:

Version Average Retail Price
Brand name (Adderall XR) $270 – $300
Generic amphetamine salt combo $50 – $75

As you can see, the generic can cost 80-90% less than the branded version. For patients with insurance, the generic may be available at the lowest copay cost tier, making it highly affordable.

Efficacy and safety comparison

According to the FDA, generic Adderall contains the same active ingredients and should provide the equivalent clinical effect and safety profile as brand name Adderall. However, some people believe the generic versions may feel slightly different.

Small differences between generic and brand could include:

  • Inactive fillers or binders used in the tablets
  • Slight variability in the time release of extended release products
  • Different salt combinations in amphetamine salt combo products

These small variations won’t significantly change the clinical efficacy but some people report perceiving slight differences in how smooth or strong the effect feels. It can take some trial and error to find the specific generic that works best for each individual.

In terms of safety, the side effect profile should be clinically equal between brand name and generic Adderall. Potential side effects can include:

  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Weight loss
  • Mood changes

Some people may experience slightly different side effects between the brand and various generics. But overall, there are no clinically significant safety differences.

Considerations when switching to generic

Here are some things to consider when switching from brand name Adderall to a generic version:

  • Check with your pharmacist or doctor – they may have a specific manufacturer recommendation based on local availability and feedback.
  • The dose may need slight adjustment – a small increase or decrease may help maintain the desired response.
  • Give it 1-2 weeks for your body to adjust – it takes some time for the change to feel seamless.
  • Track any side effects – notify your doctor if you experience bothersome side effects when switching.
  • Watch out for shortages – sometimes generics can go through short supply constraints.

Overall, the generic versions provide the most cost-effective option for obtaining Adderall. With a little trial and error, most people can find a generic that offers equal efficacy and tolerability compared to the branded version.


Adderall is available in affordable generic versions that contain the same active amphetamine salts as the brand name drug. These generics offer similar clinical efficacy and safety at a fraction of the cost. While some minor differences in smoothness or side effects are possible, most people can switch to a generic effectively. Considering the significant cost savings, it is worth trying the generic, monitoring effectiveness and side effects, and consulting your doctor if any issues arise after switching.