Desoxyn and Adderall are two medications that belong to the class of drugs called central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. CNS stimulants are mostly used to treat symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as narcolepsy. Common ADHD medications include Ritalin (methylphenidate), Concerta (methylphenidate extended-release), Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine), Focalin/ Focalin XR (dexmethylphenidate), Adderall (d-amphetamine and l-amphetamine salts), and Desoxyn (methamphetamine HCL). Today, our Delaware drug rehab is sharing a comparison guide on Desoxyn vs. Adderall to determine the differences in their uses, doses, effectiveness, and dangers.
What Is Desoxyn?
Desoxyn is the brand name for methamphetamine hydrochloride (HCL), which is a CNS stimulant that is used to treat ADHD. Desoxyn is also used to treat obesity after other diets or medications have not helped the person lose weight.
As a stimulant, Desoxyn works by elevating levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine to improve mood, motivation, concentration, focus, and impulsive behavior in people ages 6 and older with ADHD. Like other stimulants, Desoxyn can also suppress appetite, making it effective as a short-term weight loss treatment.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a well-known ADHD medication that’s also part of the stimulant drug class. It helps to increase attention and decrease impulsivity in individuals with ADHD and may also be used to treat a sleep disorder called narcolepsy.
Like Desoxyn, Adderall is classified as a Schedule II drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), meaning it has both a medical purpose and potential for dependence and addiction. The abuse of stimulants like Adderall and Desoxyn has become more common in the U.S., particularly among high school and college students as well as athletes.
Many people believe that prescription stimulants can improve their academic or physical performance, but this is not the case. Abusing prescription stimulants without a prescription increases the risk of developing a substance use disorder in addition to other issues, such as unemployment, legal problems, health problems, and more.
Differences Between Desoxyn vs. Adderall
The main difference between Desoxyn vs. Adderall is that there is no Desoxyn extended-release formula, Desoxyn’s active ingredient is methamphetamine, and Adderall can be prescribed starting at 3 years of age, while Desoxyn can only be prescribed starting at 6 years of age.
Additionally, Adderall is available in more strengths than Desoxyn, including 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg. Adderall is also available in an extended-release formulation – unlike Desoxyn – with strengths of 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, and 30 mg.
While methamphetamine HCL is the active ingredient in Desoxyn, Adderall is made of amphetamine/dextroamphetamine salts, all of which can produce similar side effects. Both drugs are Schedule II substances.
Both drugs are also used to treat similar conditions, except for using Adderall for obesity treatment. Adderall is not used as a weight-loss treatment, and Desoxyn use for narcolepsy is unapproved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), which is otherwise known as an off-label treatment.
Which One Is More Effective?
While Desoxyn can be used to treat ADHD, it is not the preferred treatment for the condition, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for managing ADHD.1 Based on several meta-analyses reviewed by the AAP to create these guidelines, Adderall is considered a highly effective medication for ADHD and is, therefore, the most preferred.
This also goes to show that Adderall is safer to use than Desoxyn in long-term cases. Desoxyn contains methamphetamine, which, although safer than the street version of the drug, can also lead to pulmonary arterial hypertension, among various other health problems.
Prescribers are encouraged to use extra precautions when selecting methamphetamine in treating ADHD and other disorders.
Help for Stimulant Abuse and Addiction
We have established that these medications have minor differences, but one similarity between Adderall vs. Desoxyn to keep in mind is that both drugs are addictive. As Schedule II substances, Desoxyn and Adderall are recognized for their medical uses as well as their potential for dependence and addiction.
The abuse of either drug – such as using them without prescriptions, taking higher doses than directed, or mixing them with other substances – can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Physical dependence occurs when a person needs to take a drug to prevent certain reactions, known as withdrawal symptoms.
Both Desoxyn and Adderall withdrawals can be highly uncomfortable and even dangerous if a person attempts to quit drug use without medically-assisted detox support. To avoid withdrawals, many people continue using these drugs, eventually getting to a point where they are addicted.
If you or someone you know is abusing stimulants, prescriptions, or illicit substances, do not wait to get help. Our Milford rehab center offers illegal and prescription drug addiction treatment that incorporates modalities like detox, individual and group therapy, and family counseling to help clients recover their sobriety in all areas of their lives.
- American Academy of Pediatrics - Clinical Practice Guideline: Treatment of the School-Aged Child With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder