Compare Ritalin vs. Dexedrine

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Helps you focus and stay alert.

Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD that comes in many different forms, but you need to take this medication more often than alternatives.

3.5/ 5 average rating with 526 reviewsforRitalin
Treats attention deficit disorder.

Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) is an effective medicine for treatment of ADHD, but often abused for recreational purposes.

4.3/ 5 average rating with 28 reviewsforDexedrine
Upsides
  • First-choice medication to treat ADHD because it is cheap and effective.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) is used with counseling and other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
  • Available as a generic medication.
  • Available in many different forms: extended-release and immediate-release tablets, chewable tablet, and liquid.
  • Preferred medicine for elderly with ADHD or narcolepsy because it is safer than alternatives for this population.
  • Recommended as a first-choice treatment of ADHD.
  • Available as generic version.
  • For more flexible dosing schedule, Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) is available in short and long formulations.
  • If you have difficulty swallowing pills, Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) is available as a liquid.
Downsides
  • Need to take Ritalin (methylphenidate) 2 or 3 times a day compared to other ADHD medications which you can take once daily.
  • Can raise your blood pressure and pulse, so its not safe for people with heart problems.
  • It's a controlled medication (CII), so you may need to get a new prescription each month from your doctor.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) may affect growth in children and teens in some cases.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) contains a mixture of active and inactive compounds (dexmethylphenidate and methylphenidate, respectively), which may not work as well for some people.
  • Taking Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) can decrease your appetite.
  • If taken late in the day, Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) can cause insomnia.
  • People who take high doses of Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) are more likely to have anxiety, restlessness, or irritability.
  • Requires a new prescription from your doctor every month.
  • Not a good option if you have a history of seizures.
  • Can be habit-forming so make sure you use it only as prescribed.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
Price
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Reviews
526 reviews so far
60%
saidit'sworth it
42%
saiditworked well
19%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Ritalin (methylphenidate)?

Leave a review
28 reviews so far
89%
saidit'sworth it
79%
saiditworked well
21%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine)?

Leave a review
Side effects
17possible side effects
  • Lowered appetite
    25%
  • Headache
    22%
  • Dry mouth
    14%
  • Nausea
    13%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    12%
  • Anxiety
    8%
  • Weight loss
    7%
  • Dizziness
    7%
  • Irritability
    6%
  • Fast heartbeat
    5%
  • Sweating
    5%
  • Depression
    4%
  • Stomach pain
    2%
  • Loss of appetite
    2%
  • Vomiting
    2%
  • Blurry vision
    2%
  • Aggressive behavior
    2%
See more detailed side effects
The Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Abuse and dependence
    • History of drug abuse
    • Alcoholism
  • Serious or life-threatening heart problems
    • History of heart problems
  • Aggressive behavior and psychiatric symptoms
    • History of psychotic episodes
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • History of Tourette's syndrome
  • Height and weight delay in children
    • Children
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
  • Circulation problems in the hands and feet
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Abuse and dependence
    • History of drug abuse
  • Serious or life-threatening heart problems
    • History of heart problems
  • Aggressive behavior and psychosis
    • History of psychotic episodes
    • History of bipolar disorder
  • Long-term growth suppression
    • Children
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
  • Serotonin Syndrome (rare, life-threatening)
    • Using other medicines that increase serotonin levels in the brain
See more detailed risks and warnings