Choice can be a great thing. At the same time though, it can be difficult to choose between two very similar items. This is especially true for anything related to medicine. Pharmacology is such a complex topic that many people find themselves unable to come to an informed decision. One of the best examples of this can be found when considering the issue of Concerta vs Adderall. However, while it’s a difficult issue it’s far from an impossible one.
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To begin, one should first examine the chemical composition of the medications. Adderall is a mixture of multiple amphetamine variants. The idea behind this mixture is to gain both rapid and long acting effects. One medication within it will have a rapid onset that also fades away fairly quickly. The other medication takes longer to fully affect the patient, but will also last longer. By the time the first medication is wearing off, the longer lasting medication will have begun to take effect. It’s a powerful combination which has proven invaluable to many people.
The next step to understanding the Concerta vs Adderall discussion is to focus on Concerta. Concerta consists of only a single active component, methylphenidate. It becomes active within a person’s system fairly quickly, though it doesn’t last quite as long as Adderall. Like Adderall, it works by modifying dopamine and Noreprinephrine levels within the brain. These two neurotransmitters are responsible for a number of different things. In particular, they’re involved with focus, energy levels and a feeling of wellbeing. As one would expect from medications which work on the same system, they have similar effects. Both will tend to make people more awake and alert. And both are useful for treating ADHD.
What really makes them different is how they modify dopamine and Noreprinephrine levels within the brain. It’s useful to consider an analogy in order to understand their differences. Imagine that the brain is like a house. This house has a front door and a back door. In some houses, the front and back door work perfectly. In other houses, the front door’s lock is jammed. In yet other houses, the back door’s lock is jammed. The two medications can be thought of as keys to the house. The end effect is the same, but they get there through two different methods. And like a key to potentially jammed locks, it’s less about the item as what the item is acting on.
For better or for worse, the two medications are fairly equal when working properly. Whether it will work properly for any particular person is highly dependent on a person’s basic neurology. Concerta will work better for about 30% of the people out there, Adderall for about 30%, and around 40% of people will have comparable results with both.