The Cost of ADD/ADHD Medication

Although many people are recommended to take medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), the costs of the medication can be too high for some people to take advantage of their benefits.

I found a resource online which shows you the US costs for all of the ADHD medication.

In general, the older ADHD medications are much cheaper. These include: Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Dexedrine, Dexedrine Spansule, and any medication which is old enough to be a generic ADHD medication.

In general, the newer ADHD medications are more expensive: These include: Concerta, Metadate CD, Biphentin, Adderall, Adderall XR, Focalin, Focalin XR, Methylin, Daytrana.

You can find the chart listing the costs of ADHD medication here. This chart is updated as of November 2006.

At the time of writing this report, Vyvanse is not yet released, and thus its cost is not listed.

I have taken some images of the chart, just to preview it for you here:

costofmeds1 The Cost of ADD/ADHD Medicationcostofmeds2 The Cost of ADD/ADHD Medicationcostofmeds3 The Cost of ADD/ADHD Medication


  1. Hi,
    I am sorry to hear that you may have trouble paying for Vyvanse.
    I do not know how to find a program which will help you to fund this medicine.
    You will need to ask your doctor about which programs may be available when Vyvanse is released.
    All the best,
    Dr. Kenny

  2. I tried to click on the cost comparison chart but it is saying that page is no longer available. I am very interested in this information and was wondering if you still have it. THank you

  3. Hi,
    What is the normal dose of adderall xr for adults? I was taking 54 mg of concerta but it was not so effective I have just switched to 40 mg of adderall xr which is better but I still think there is room for improvement.

  4. I just turned 46 a few months back. About then I had no choice but to switch from Blue Cross PPO after my COBRA insurance coverage ended. I was accepted by the indiv plan division at United Healthcare, (called Golden Rule)

    I have been taking prescription Adderall since September 2005 and it has literally transformed my life, eliminated all of my “depression” which was really untreated anxiety coping and hiding my ADD. I am a fully functioning adult who now has 3 degrees and owns a very successful business (all done thru the miracle of medication and a damn good doctor!)

    Anyway, for the last 2 years my monthly prescription has been: Up to four 30 mg. tablets per day, as needed. Some days I take less. I have medicine left over every month. I have days when I don’t want to focus and I take a holiday, but if I need it I need it period. My career demands that I work 7 days per week and I have to focus mny times from about 9 in the morning until midnight with few breaks.

    In my system, I have always required large amounts of caffeine to focus (two 6-packs of Red Bull and a pot of coffee was one nights study tools for me pre- diagnosis.)
    OK so I go to get this script refilled at a Walgreens and Insurance is denied. Why: the insur co said that only 2 tablets per day are recommended by the manufacturer so my doctor must be contacted to state outright for the pharmacist to then relay back to the insurance company that the Doc IS aware that her prescription for me exceeds the manufacturer’s recommended dosage. This is really juvenile don’t you think? What is the real purpose of this? To have an insurance company try to regulate how my system processes adderall and how many hours I have to work to be able to afford th epremiums for the coverage that denies me the means to get through my day.

    That old song called, “There’s a Hole In the Bucket” comes to mind.

    Anyway, it two days to fill, and seemed kind of embarrassing somehow. Like my Doctor had the nose rubbed in the carpet stain. She had to call the pharmacy and verbally admit she was giving me too much, essentially. I resented it because its enough of a stigma to even bring the controlled substance paper in every 30 days as it is. Now every month this is the way it is going to be??

    Does anyone else ever get the idea that the pharmacy staff is either jealous of us and bitter about how much coffee they need to last 10 hours or they think we are one step up from a needle addicted junkie. Except some of us are Judges, Doctors, Government Officials and soccer Moms with 3 kids and a million dollar home to manage. oh well.

    I ignore them but they do seem quite holier than thou sometimes, or perhaps so freaked out by the thought of themselves in jail for errors with the Level II dispensing?? My Doc thinks they are over dramatic babies, but she is a brave tough soldier figting for patients rights.

    FYI gang, Walgreen’s by the way, charges $144.00 for 120 generic 30 mg. Adderall tablets (Not time release), $431 for brand and $15 for 120 generic thru Golden Rule.

    Would someone tell me if there are less intrusive and judgmental prescription programs in the Chicago area? Or does anyone know of a cheaper pharmacy or service I could use each month. Lastly, I need to find which providers on the new plan manage ADD adults and prescribe. Is there any clearinghouse of names that understand people like me per state?

    Thank you in advance for your help, acceptance and compassion. I wish each of you the finest in the coming year.

    —– Rathbone

    • Hi Rathbone,
      Thanks for sharing your experiences. I think that will be very helpful to many people.
      Regarding a place to find professionals – I think the best place to start is the CHADD directory:
      I don’t know much about the insurance plans etc (I’m Canadian, Eh :-)). Maybe another reader can share some resources.
      With respect to ‘pharmacy horror stories’, I’ve heard a few awful ones as well.
      One of the worst was a 9 year old boy who had severe ADHD, Bipolar Disorder and Tourette’s. He required 4 medications per day so that he could get to school and not assuault the teachers/pricipal/kids – and even the police if they were called.
      He had had second opinions, the medicines were monitored closely, and it took 2 years to find the right combination of medicines so he could function.
      When the mother took the prescription to the pharmacy – what did the pharmacist do?
      She cried that such a ‘cute boy’ would have to take these medicines.
      Thankfully, this mother was quite resourceful and educated, but still, how does that contribute to the stigma of psychiatric disorders?
      Anyway, enough of my rant for the day.
      Dr. Kenny

  5. To Rathbone – Get the prescription filled at Costco. Note that you do *not* have to be a member to use the pharmacy. (as a non-member, they do require payment for prescriptions in cash only – no checks or credit cards) I’ve had adderall scripts filled at a number of different Costco pharmacies and find their folks to be professional.

    Costco charges around $30 for 60 generic 30 mg Adderall Immediate Release tablets. Again, you do NOT need to be a member to purchase prescription drugs at the Costco pharmacy.

    I thought it was a state requirement for the pharmacy to double-check with the doctor about going over the dosage that was recommended when the manufacturer got the government approval for a Schedule II drug such as Adderall.

    And, no, I don’t work at Costco, don’t know anyone who works there, etc. etc. I’ve just experienced the same thing as you from other places. Once I changed *my* attitude, it got a lot easier. Who cares what they think anyway? I act professional and business-like and expect the same from the pharmacy employees. If you’re being treated poorly, TELL THEM. You can always go up front and speak to the store manager and tell them you will be taking your business someplace more friendly. If no-one ever says anything to management and let’s them know that the pharmacy is driving away customers – then nothing will change.

    Best of luck.

  6. Good afternoon Dr. Kenny. I am a 48 year old male that is the poster child of ADHD. Although I have been a very sucessful business man I did poorly in school and hated it. I have been taking Adderall for 20 years. I take two 30 mg tabs daily but as soon as I take one in the morning or afternoon it makes me very sleepy within about 10 minutes. I have to lay down and take a 10-15 minute nap and when I wake up I’m good to go. Is this normal? Thanks, Walter

      • The medication itself I’ve noticed to take about 25-40 minutes to take effect after taking. Your body is most likely just waiting for the adderall to give you that stimulant boost and your just getting sleepy sitting there without it. Basically, your body is tired and you still need more sleep. You might not think you need the rest because of the stimulant your taking but just because your not tired doesn’t mean your body isn’t, so try getting a little more rest here and there and you should be fine.

  7. Hi Dr. Handleman, I am 19 years old and currently in school and about to start a new job. I’ve noticed that over the last 5 or 6 years it has become increasing difficult for me to accomplish tasks that are of any interest to me. If it doesn’t involve computers or cars I don’t want to have anything to do with it.

    Anyways, whenever I sit down to do homework I notice an almost fuzzy feeling inside my head when I try to concentrate on work. And it actually takes effort to keep my eyes focused on my screen or paper. Most of the time I think, “if I do this I’ll be able to focus and get my work done.” Very rarely does that work. Some nights I will enter a random span of time where I can really hammer out homework, and then out of nowhere that attention span will disappear. None of my family members want to believe I have some sort of condition, for whatever reason. I’ve come to multiple family members since I started college with real concerns and every time they give me the same response. “You’re just lazy,” or, “You can concentrate on video games all day.”

    What should I do? Should I go to some sort of specialist and have some official document to prove to my family that something is wrong? I can’t afford a visit to the doctor or a prescription even if I do go to the doctor.

    Thank you, Scotty

    • Sotty,

      I’ve sort of had that same problem, and it’s even worse when family members don’t want anything to do with it. Fortunately your of age to get yourself checked, and with that job of your’s, get your medicines. I, on the other hand, am “under the age” and can’t do diddly about damn near anything without parental consent..

  8. Hi Dr. Handelman,

    I am 37 years old. I was diagnosed severe ADHD (the most severe in NM at the time) back when I was about 11 years old. I was on medication for almost 10 years. I was taken off the meds cold turkey. I decided at one point that I would try to regulate myself and my ADHD. I think I have done fairly well for a long time. Two years ago I had a couple seisures and ended up in the hospital. It was determined that I was epileptic. I am now on Trileptal (? spelling) and have been since this incident in 2007. Since I have been placed on this medicine my family has noticed that I have not been able to control my ADHD nearly as well. I was wondering since it has been over 25 years since my diagnosis, would I have to go through the testing all over again to be re-disgnosed? (all I can remember is I went through several weeks of testing, probably 6-8wks) I am not sure where to start to find out how to handle this situtation. I am going to a neurologist for the seisures, can they handle this, or should I go to my (NEW) Family Dr. I just don’t know where to start or who to talk to first.
    Can you offer me any advice?

    Thank you,
    Karen S.

  9. I just moved here and was diagnosed in 2007 with adult adhd(no surprise there)anyways I finally got a job making 8 dollars an hour,after child support and my bills I have no money to see a doctor here to get back on my meds.Is there any places that will help with this cost just to see a doctor? I cant afford a doctor,but I cant afford not to see one either.I’m going crazy trying to figure this out.

  10. I was diagnosed add, the overfocused variety,and have tried different meds, provigal, nuvigil, adderal, vyvanse, and find them pretty much the same. As I am disabled, I found myself going in the donut hole from the cost of some of these meds, like 10-12 a pill and soon realized I couldn’t afford the luxury of the brand name medications. A gentlemen was asking about cheaper alternatives and my doctor who is well aware of the financial drain these medications can put on you, switched me to a generic adderal, which I can get at walgreens 60 pills @ 30 mg. , WalMart, Costco and Sam’s Club ranging from 7 to 30 dollars, depending on copays etc. Many are very inexpensive to buy outrightl, skipping the insurance. I find them s effective as the branded new ones that my doc has given me samples to try, they just have to be taken 2x rather than once. For 300 dollars, I find that a minor inconvenience and I know there are many others in the same boat as I and wanted to share the best deals i have found to date. Good Luck, I no longer fall asleep when I get up and spill hot coffee in my lap, a regular occurence. They have drawbacks, sleeplessness, routine scheduling, and loquaciously talking the ear off your mate. My focus is ameliorated enough so i am not consumed by whatever task is at hand, an inherited trait in my family. Thanx for letting me share and I prefer to abbreviate my name if possible as there is a stigma about these medications, as someone else so eloquently pointed out.

    • Jing – this really depends on where you live (country), and which medication you are talking about. In Canada, a newer medicine (like Concerta, Vyvanse, Adderall XR) could be in the range of $120 – $150 per month, whereas the older medicines (ritalin, dexedrine) can be $30-$40 per month.

  11. Never have been fan of BigPharma yet am grateful for rx medications… until they become unavailable.
    Without insurance coverage, I’ve been getting generic adderall 30 mg tablets #90 for $35 – $38. At Costco. Until today. This past year, it has often been out of stock & unavailable. Fortunately, most of the local pharmacies will price-match.
    Today, not only is it out of stock, the price is up 200%. This stuff is dirt cheap to produce. Time to price-check the old dexedrine from 40 yrs ago. This may just be the time to stop taking these medications. Meditation works just as well at no cost.

  12. Hello Dr. Kenny Handelman,

    I’m 16, 2 months away from being 17, and I think I might have a slight form of ADD. I remember my mother told me once that she had me tested for it when I was younger, I was borderline, but they made the conclusion that my fluxuating grades and personality was a result of my age. I’ve been a low grade student and recently have lost the interest to further my academic success. I’ve been living with my girlfriend’s family for about a year due to family issues between my step-father and I. I think I might be currently un-enrolled from Primavera Online High School as of today, but I have to call and make sure. Most likely because I could’nt keep up with the daily routine, and failed to catch up at the very end. I’m tired of having to catch up, fail, and hear about the consequences afterwords. I’ve been through it all before, over and over. When I was going though Mesa High I had the same problems. I know it’s bad to except pills from people, but my friend who’s gone though the same thing felt that I might need it, so I took some adderall. Extended release I think. Throughout the day I focused on my work.. everything. I finished my classwork and homework for the day, at school! The following day, I was back to trying to focus and catch up on what I needed to learn. That single day when I took adderall, I got all above average grades on everything. I didn’t think to tell anyone because I always get the response, “It’s only your age, your a smart kid, you just need to focus more. It’s pretty much up to you, and if you fail, it’s your fault.” So, I said screw it. I remember talking to my mom about trying to see if I actually have ADD or some form of it, and she didn’t want to go further into it. Seeing as she has no money, and it’s just because I’m not trying. I don’t really know what to do here. I’ve tried calling some clinics but it’s about 120 dollars to get checked. What should I do? I’m tired of going through school failing. I’m tired of being sad a lot of the time. What can I do to get checked? What can I do to get adderall again? Please help?

    • Hi Shawn,
      It would likely be very helpful for you to get assessed for ADHD, and get a prescription for ADHD medication. While I can’t diagnose you based on what you’ve written here, it seems likely that you have it.
      As a Canadian doctor, I can’t say that I fully understand the process of seeing a doctor if you don’t have insurance. Could you be assessed through medicare insurance? or a public clinic?
      I hope you can find an assessment and treatment to help you with your focus and functioning.

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