View Full Version : Alternatives to Adderall that don't cause headaches?


Sujugraffiti
01-31-17, 08:31 PM
I [21F] have been taking Adderall XR for about 4 years now. I currently take 25mg of XR every morning. I've been getting bad headaches on and off since I started adderall and lately I've been getting them nearly every day and they're taking a toll on my quality of life. Usually ibuprofen helps but I try not to take it too much because I don't think it's good to take it every day (my doctor said not to). I've read that people often get headaches from dehydration on Adderall so I drink water almost constantly throughout the day but it doesn't seem to help. Lately I've been getting a mild headache when the adderall kicks in and then it gets much worse when it wears off and I'll have a bad headache for the rest of the evening. Sometimes I'll have bad headaches that last for 3 days or more. Rarely (about once every couple months) I will have weird visual disturbances like flashing lights blocking my vision. The only explanation I could find is an ocular migraine or aura. I usually end up getting a headache after the flashing lights go away but ibuprofen helps. I think skipping a meal, stress, or lack of sleep tend to trigger these but I'm still not fully sure what causes them.

I've always had anxiety (long before ever taking adderall), but when I take the adderall I get this weird anxious feeling in my chest almost like a tightness or on edge feeling but I'm usually able to ignore it. I also have a high heart rate around 100bpm when I'm on it but my blood pressure is normal.

I tried 30mg vyvanse for about 6 months and it worked well with focus but made my anxiety far worse than it ever was on adderall (I would be freaking out every day and was constantly stressed). I tried lowering the dose and all it did was make me sleepy with no added focus.

I also tried concerta but I hated it. I took 18mg the first day and it didn't seem to help me at all, in fact if anything it made me focus on the wrong things. My doctor said to try taking two of the 18mg's and it gave me a horrible headache with blurred vision and high blood pressure that lasted all day. After that experience I don't even want to touch that med again.

I am about at my wits end with these meds! I don't know what else to do because the adderall has helped me tremendously when it comes to school and work. I really don't think I would've graduated college without it as before I got on my meds I would just party and barely pass my classes. Now I feel like I can finally live up to my true potential. I am very low energy without my meds (my doctor was actually concerned about me by how tired and "dead" I seemed before I started on adderall, though that may have been due to my terrible sleep schedule at the time).

Is there anything else I could try that might not cause headaches? I need to find something that works because I'm still in college and I'm starting pharmacy school next fall so I have another 4 years of schooling to get through! (I can't wait until we learn about ADHD and anxiety!) I am open to trying other stimulants or non-stimulant options if there's anything else that can help with focus too.

Thanks!! This is my first post; sorry if it's too long I just thought I should give some background!

sarahsweets
02-01-17, 05:57 AM
Some people get headaches from the levoamphetamine that is in adderall. Dexedrine is like adderall only without the levo.

Little Nut
02-01-17, 12:11 PM
These are just ideas from some guy on a forum. Review them with your Doc because they may be inappropriate for you. Off the top of my head;

You'll need to try other meds to control symptoms.
Since amphetamines treat your symptoms currently, I would try another amphetamine first.
You did try Vyvanse. It breaks down to dextroamphetamine. 3/4 of Adderall breaks down to dextroamphetamine. AFAIK a 30mg dose of Vyvanse is kinda on the low side compared to 25mg Adderall. Talk to Doc about letting you try higher doses. Not sure about anxiety thing. Not sure why 30mg of Vyvanse would be a problem and 25mg Adderall wouldn't be. Talk to Doc.
Try Dexedrine. Maybe slightly lower dose and titrate up.
If still problems, maybe MPH or Focalin.


HTH, -LN

BlackWarrior
02-01-17, 01:04 PM
Your best bet is dexedrine spansules/tablets.

Postulate
02-02-17, 08:48 PM
What worked for my migraines was knowledge and Clonidine. We understand that Adderall increases central adrenaline, but what most of us don't realize is by how much. A ton actually, a lot more than you need to treat your ADHD and if raising adrenaline was the cure, might as well take epinephrine, and we all know these sports supplements don't treat ADHD very well. What you're looking for is a dopamine increase while keeping adrenaline within normal boundaries.

There's another thing: Before taking medication, you had a certain body regime, composed of blood pressure, bpm, vasoconstriction, metabolism etc. I call this a regime for the purpose of the discussion. Your body grew around that regime when you were a child, then when medication followed that regime changed completely.

If your body was a chemical plant and its operating parameters changed drastically overnight, it would blow up. The human body however is very tough and adapts to most situations. Keep in mind that adapting to your medication may take many years, during which, according to me, some things have to break inside of you and be rebuilt in a different shape in order to adapt to the new regime imposed by Adderall. This process is painful.

The ways in which this adaptation process occurs is unknown even to doctors and specialists. All we know is that blood vessels that used to receive 1 unit of blood now receive 1.5 or 2 units, so many of them can burst and so they are rebuilt automatically so that they no longer burst. Especially if you're not using Clonidine. How it happens exactly I have no clue, no one does, all I know is I had the same side effects as you for 5 years and now I have zero side effects.

I also noticed after 10 years of using medication, that my blood pressure off medication changed from 12.9/6.2 to 11.2/7. So I know my body underwent changes to the cellular level and blood vessels, that would put to shame 100 PhD theses, so it's pointless to even try to understand what's going on, I just call it adaptation.

You have the option to adapt and take the pain, or discontinue the medication.

Sujugraffiti
02-05-17, 02:24 PM
Thanks for the responses! I have an appointment with my doctor next week and I'm planning to ask him about dexedrine. Has anyone had any difficulty getting it prescribed as an adult? Most of the information I found online says it is recommended for children

Postulate
02-06-17, 11:50 PM
Thanks for the responses! I have an appointment with my doctor next week and I'm planning to ask him about dexedrine. Has anyone had any difficulty getting it prescribed as an adult? Most of the information I found online says it is recommended for children

If you need it your doctor will know. What happens is, you didn't go to your doctor because your ADD self was lacking adrenaline, your adrenaline was just fine. You went to your doctor because you were lacking dopamine. And by prescribing you Dexedrine, your doctor gives you a medication whose main function is to increase adrenaline, even if it's a bit more selective towards dopamine than Adderall. Is it just me that sees a problem there?

Dexedrine can only partially solve your problem according to me. You see, pure d-amphetamine has a binding affinity (Ki) of 100nM for dopamine D2 and as much as 40-50nM for norepinephrine, so it increases central adrenaline way more than dopamine(the lower the number the greater the affinity). L-amphetamine is even less selective than d-amphetamine towards increasing dopamine, but it's not far behind and it's not the main ingredient of Adderall. So you're looking at a small improvement at best.

I would have a mature discussion with my doctor saying:

Look, you're treating my ADD by raising dopamine, but you're also raising my adrenaline even more without my adrenaline needing an increase. This much adrenaline gives me migraines, it's a terrible side effect. How about you add some Clonidine to reverse this effect. It will help my ADD and reverse some or all of Dexedrine's adrenergic effect.

And see what your doctor says. If you can afford a drop in blood pressure, you're good to go. I'm on 15mg Dex + 0.1 Clonidine daily, I take them combined and according to the FDA, no one died taking them together. I'm giving you a tip that can salvage this medication. Many people complain how amphetamines gives them headaches and migraines and they end up quitting it, without knowing that the damn thing increases adrenaline! That thing increases adrenaline like there's no tomorrow! Without you needing it and without you asking for it! Be aware of that effect and speak about it with your doctor!

Protazoid
02-07-17, 04:05 AM
Just ask your dr. Nothing to be scared of.

Sujugraffiti
02-07-17, 07:59 PM
I would have a mature discussion with my doctor saying:

[I]Look, you're treating my ADD by raising dopamine, but you're also raising my adrenaline even more without my adrenaline needing an increase. This much adrenaline gives me migraines, it's a terrible side effect. How about you add some Clonidine to reverse this effect. It will help my ADD and reverse some or all of Dexedrine's adrenergic effect.


Hm yeah that makes sense about the adrenaline. I'm not sure if clonidine would be good for me though since it causes drowsiness. When I first got on Adderall, my doctor prescribed clonidine to take at bedtime to help with sleep. I tried taking clonidine before bed once and I got so drowsy I slept until 3pm and never tried it again after that. Now I just take melatonin if I'm ever having trouble sleeping. I get tired really easily though so it could be just me or maybe it was a fluke since I only tried it once? I might just try the dexedrine by itself first and hope for the best

sarahsweets
02-08-17, 04:56 AM
If you need it your doctor will know. What happens is, you didn't go to your doctor because your ADD self was lacking adrenaline, your adrenaline was just fine. You went to your doctor because you were lacking dopamine. And by prescribing you Dexedrine, your doctor gives you a medication whose main function is to increase adrenaline, even if it's a bit more selective towards dopamine than Adderall. Is it just me that sees a problem there?

Dexedrine can only partially solve your problem according to me. You see, pure d-amphetamine has a binding affinity (Ki) of 100nM for dopamine D2 and as much as 40-50nM for norepinephrine, so it increases central adrenaline way more than dopamine(the lower the number the greater the affinity). L-amphetamine is even less selective than d-amphetamine towards increasing dopamine, but it's not far behind and it's not the main ingredient of Adderall. So you're looking at a small improvement at best.

I would have a mature discussion with my doctor saying:

Look, you're treating my ADD by raising dopamine, but you're also raising my adrenaline even more without my adrenaline needing an increase. This much adrenaline gives me migraines, it's a terrible side effect. How about you add some Clonidine to reverse this effect. It will help my ADD and reverse some or all of Dexedrine's adrenergic effect.

And see what your doctor says. If you can afford a drop in blood pressure, you're good to go. I'm on 15mg Dex + 0.1 Clonidine daily, I take them combined and according to the FDA, no one died taking them together. I'm giving you a tip that can salvage this medication. Many people complain how amphetamines gives them headaches and migraines and they end up quitting it, without knowing that the damn thing increases adrenaline! That thing increases adrenaline like there's no tomorrow! Without you needing it and without you asking for it! Be aware of that effect and speak about it with your doctor!

Can you share some sources about dex and adrenaline? A quick search did not yield anything specific enough for me to read about it, unless I am asking Ms. Google the wrong questions.

Little Missy
02-08-17, 09:11 AM
Take a couple of aspirin and a Tylenol and have a good strong cup of coffee. Headache be gone! :)