Posted in Behavior, For Nurses, Health, Pediatric Nursing, School, Therapy, Uncategorized

The History of ADHD Medications (Adderall)


Amphetamine Salts 10mg Tablets ~ The pill in the photo above is manufactured by Barr Laboratories Inc, a division of Teva USA. The Pill identification is b972/10. *It is the most effective Generic Adderall Tablet.

Adderall is the Brand Name. Amphetamine Salts is the Generic Name. They are the same drug. The drug is a Psychostimulant.

ADHD Drugs Boost Levels of 2 neurotransmitters which help regulate attention & activity. They do this by either inhibiting their reabsorption (reuptake) into cells or by promoting the release of these chemicals from the brain. :

  1. Dopamine (Has a role in memory formatting, plays a role in the onset of addictive behaviors)
  2. Norepinephrine (Has a role in arousal & Attentiveness)


  1. Methylphenidate (Ritalin) based ADHD drugs inhibit the reuptake of Dopamine into cells.
  2. Amphetamine (Adderall) based ADHD drugs also inhibit dopamine reuptake BUT ALSO promotes its release into the brain.

When was Each of These Drugs introduced into the market?

  • Adderall XR (extended release capsule Generic) 2009
  • Adderall XR (extended release capsule) 2001
  • Concerta 2000 (Shire)
  • Adderall Tablet 1996 (Shire)
  • Ritalin 1954 (Ciba)
  • Adderall Tablet (Generic) 2002

Barr Laboratories Inc is a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer. In 2003 Barr & Shire Pharmaceuticals reached an ‘out of court’ settlement. Barr agreed not to introduce a generic version of Adderall XR until  April 2009.

ADHD was officially recognized as a disorder by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 1980. The Drug Ritalin (methylphenidate-HCL) was patented in 1954 by Ciba Pharmaceutical for the treatment of

  • Chronic Fatigue,
  • Depression,
  • Narcolepsy
  • to offset the side effects of sedating mediations.

The FDA approved Ritalin for the treatment of ‘Functional Behavior Problems in 1963. In 1966 Ritalin was recommended for kids with ‘Minimal Brain Dysfunction (MBD).’

The Drug Obetrol (which contains mixed dextro & levo amphetamine salts) was approved as an obesity drug in the 1960’s. The rights to the Obetrol formulation was sold to Rexar in 1994, which was acquired by Shire.

The FDA gave Shire approval in 1996 to market Amphetamine Salts (MAS) for the treatment of ADHD ~ The drug was marketed and sold under the Brand Name Adderall.

Significant Growth in the use of Psychostimulants started in the early 1990’s. This was soon after Policy makers in Washington D.C. included ADHD as a protected disability under the SSI (Supplemental Security Income) program & the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

In the 1990’s There was a BIG Boost in the use of Ritalin due to published studies showing an improvement in school performance for children with ADHD.

Also in the 1990’s Medicaid Programs ‘carved out’ their mental health benefits to specialty firms – this also led to demands for Psychotrophic drugs.

This explosion in the 1990’s in the market allowed several drug manufacturers to enter the ADHD market.

During the same time General Promotional Activities (such as Journal Advertising, Free samples etc.), Drug Advertisements, GREW SIGNIFICANTLY. Between 1996 and 2005 Total Spending on promotions grew at an average anual rate of 10.6%.

In September 2001 Pharmaceutical Companies that produced these drugs broke a 30 year agreement with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration): NOT to Advertise their Schedule II Controlled Substances Directly to Consumers. 

In 2003 as % of Sales, 3 Leading Brands: Adderall XR, Concerta & Stratterra (non-stimulant drug) Spent: 6.75%, 4.2% & 16.7% on Direct-To-Consumer Advertising.

Shire Pharmaceuticals holds the Patent for Adderall XR which is set to expire in 2018.

Some States require pharmacies to record & report each script filled for a psychostimulant (information on doctor and some demographic information on the patient). This is called a State DOJ.





Mother, Pediatric Nurse and a Trail Blazer for Positive Change.

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