Description: Amphetamine, commonly known as Adderall, Dyanavel XR and Evekeo, is a stimulant drug used in the treatment in a number of disorders. These include ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), narcolepsy, depression and obesity. Amphetamine is usually a well-tolerated medication with few side effects. However, a small portion of individuals will suffer multiple severe adverse reactions. This interpatient variation is partially accounted for by the genetic differences between individuals.
Black Box Warning for Adderall
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration details serious and potentially life-threatening Adderall side effects, including cardiac arrest, psychosis, and irregular heartbeat which can result in sudden death. Additionally, the FDA cautions that Adderall carries a high risk of dependence and addiction due to its tendency to produce a feeling of euphoria and energy. (Adderall label as reported by the FDA, Mar 2007).
Common Side Effects of Adderall
A number of side effects have been reported when taking Adderall, according to the Adderall drug label as reported by the FDA (November 2011). These include:
- Dyskinesia (involuntary movement)
- Dry mouth
- Frequent erections
- Increase and decreased libido
- Weight loss
Less Common Side Effects of Adderall
According to the Adderall drug label (November 2011), rare side effects include:
- Epistaxis (nose bleeds)
- Allergic rhinitis (stuffy nose)
- Upper abdominal pain
Understand Your Risks with the Rxight® Genetic Test
Individual differences in genes that code for receptors and liver enzymes that interact with amphetamines could increase the probability of developing side effects when taking the drug.
Studies reported in Frontline Genetics “MDMA, methamphetamine, and CYP2D6 pharmacogenetics: what is clinically relevant?” (March 2012), have suggested that individual genetic variation in certain important genes that encode for the metabolism of amphetamine could increase the probability of developing side effects or addiction when taking amphetamine.
The Rxight® pharmacogenetics test (genetic analysis of how the individual metabolizes drugs based on their genes) analyzes 18 genes which control the body’s processing of over 180 and clinically relevant medications, thus allowing the patient and prescriber the ability to see how the medication affects their body and whether it is suitable for them, obviating potentially severe adverse reactions or inefficacy. If not, a more appropriate medicine will be offered. The prescriber may lower the dose or not prescribe Adderall at all.
Contributors to this Article:
Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry
Read more about Rxight® genetic testing for medication