Generic Adderall XR in the US

As of April 3, 2009, generic Adderall XR is available in the United States. It is being made by Teva Pharmaceuticals. (You can review a news report about this here.)

What Does ‘Generic’ Mean?

When a medicine is first released – it is patented by the company that invested in the research to develop it. They have a certain number of years to market the medicine exclusively. After the patent runs out – the medicine can be created by other drug manufacturers – the ‘generic’ companies – generally at a significant discount.

The analogy here is ‘Kleenex’ vs. tissue.

Kleenex is a brand of tissue. It is only made by one company. However, tissue is made by many companies.
Using this analogy – Adderall XR is the ‘Kleenex’, and generic adderall XR is the ’tissue’.

Will it work the same?

The short answer is yes. Generic drug manufacturers are able to have a minor variation in how much of the medicine will be absorbed, but for most people, this will not have an impact. In my clinical experience, a small percentage of people are sensitive to the differences and may need to have the ‘brand name’ medicine only. If that is the case, the doctor needs to write a prescription for Adderall XR NO SUBSTITUTION. When the words ‘no substitution’ are there, it tells the pharmacist that only the original Adderall XR will do.

For further information on generic medicines in ADHD, please visit this article that I’ve written previously on this topic.

What Does This Mean for You?

If you have wanted to take a newer, long acting medication like Adderall XR – it just got cheaper.
If you have insurance to pay for your medication, then this is unlikely to matter much to you. If you have to pay for your medication yourself, then it may make a difference to you.
Please remember – this news just applies to the US, as Adderall XR has not gone generic in other countries – such as Canada.

Does this impact you? Share your thoughts and comments below.

Best,

Dr. Kenny

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Comments

  1. I’m totally confused and wondering if anyone knows the answer to this: we just recently switched my 7 year old son from Concerta to Adderall XR, and I was shocked when I filled the rx at Walgreens that it was $60 (brand price under TotalScript, my rx plan, wherein generics are only $10). I asked if there was a generic and was told that this was it, so I called TotalScript when I got home and they say there there is no generic of Adderall XR and something about a pending lawsuit? The confusing thing is that the bottle says “generic” and no where on the bottle or paperwork does it mention the brand name. Instead, it says “D-Amphetamine Salt Com XR 5mg caps” and they are 1/2 blue and 1/2 clear capsules with the little bead of med inside. So is this the brand or the generic that I have?? Should I be concerned that I don’t have a safe, quality product? I can see where it says who the manufacturer is…

    • Hi, there’s not really a generic (as we normally think of a generic) for Adderall XR. There are two companies selling “Authorized generics”, which is very different from a true generic. Essentially, other companies challenged the validity of Shire’s patent, and this dispute was resolved with the following agreement: The companies challenging Shire’s patent agreed to recognize the validity of the patent; in return, Shire agreed to provide them the right to market the medication (which, last I heard, was still being manufactured by Shire). So, essentially we have the main company holding the only patent (Shire), and two additional companies acting as distributors for the medication. As you can see, the competition (and lower prices) that result with a true generic (as a result of the expiration of a patent) does not exist here; as a result, we won’t see a huge price difference between brand and “generic” (which is actually an authorized generic). See Wikipedia listing for more on authorized generics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorized_generics . Hope this helps…

  2. The important difference is the “XR”. This is the extended-release type, and I believe there is no generic. All other Adderall comes in pill form or regular release. For these there are many generics. I insist on the Teva/Barr brand. The brand is sometimes called Sandoz. The prices can vary greatly, even from one pharmacy to the other. I’ve found Walmart or Sam’s Club to be the cheapest by far. Good luck.

  3. My mother went to pick up her prescription of 10 mg generic adderall (amphetamine salts). She had been paying 19.00 for 60 of the 10 mg. The pharmacist explained to her that this drug was being discontinued. He did have enough left in stock to fill the prescription but the price was 74.00. Does anyone understand this? What is going on?

  4. Just wanted to add here that yes, there is a generic for Adderall XR. My son has had the 10 mg, 20 mg and now the 25 mg in generic form. The 20 mg is considered the “average” dose most who use the drug are on, so lately getting the generic 20 mg is more difficult because pharmacies tell us there is a shortage because of this. My son has been mostly on the generic form, but last month since we didn’t have a choice due to the shortage, we filled the prescription with the name brand. It is the orange pill. We believe the name brand worked better on him. Just some more info to consider. The prices of both have skyrocketed and since we have to meet a high deductible first, our out of pocket is unbelievable for the price of both drug types. Schnucks price – $202.19 for generic and $300.39 for name brand. Walmart price – $166.72 for generic and $239.62. Thankfully, our local small town pharmacy is about $15 dollars cheaper for the generic and $30 cheaper for name brand. Hope this helps.

  5. What lies about the cost and the effectiveness of the generic Adderal! First, my insurance charged me the same price as if I were using a “non-listed” brand medication. And as I was being switched from Vyvanse to this medication–as I was complaining about losing focus and drowsiness, of all symptoms–I’d hoped for something better. Almost immediately, I lost all hope in this medication as I experienced panic attacks and heart palpitations.
    Being that I work in the health care industry, when several nurses took my pulse, they stated a high number and irregularity. In addition, I had heart palpitations. My doctor switched me back to Vyvanse, explaining that perhaps the generic Adderal acted in “spurts.” Well, perhaps one of those spurts could have sent me to the ER, or worse!

  6. I just want to say that yes, there are many many generic forms of Adderall. I’m a pharmacy technician and we fill Rx’s for generic Adderall all the time. I’ve personally been prescribed to it since 8th grade (now in college) and have rarely had to buy the name brand. I am currently taking Adderall 25 mg XR, which I get at my Kroger pharmacy for only $8.00 per 30 day prescription. There are usually shortages, however, but that depends on the strength. My sister, who takes the 20 mg XR, usually has to try many different pharmacies to see who has her’s. My prescription, however, usually is in stock.

    • Do you have insurance or is that a discounted price? My son lost his insurance and the best price I can find for 2 30mg/day XR Adderall is $154 at Walgreens. Any suggestions?

  7. I have been taking adderall for 3 and a half years now. I have always taken the generic version Amphetamine Salts ER 25 mg. Recently I have changed insurance and they only cover the name brand which I picked up called Adderall XR 25 mg. Most websites have stated that there is no difference in effectiveness and side effects between the two. I just want to make sure of this because I have midterms this week and haven’t tried the Adderall XR yet. I do not want it to cause a change an affect my school work. Is there for sure no differences? Also does XR stand for extended release?

    Thank You

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