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Adderall Side Effects

Medically Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on February 18, 2020

If you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you may get relief from the prescription drug Adderall. It can improve focus, decrease restlessness, and help control impulsive behavior (including the hard-to-stop habit of interrupting people). But, like other medications, it comes with possible side effects.

Some Adderall side effects, like dry mouth, don’t need medical treatment. You should tell your doctor right away about others, such as pain when you pee.

Whether Adderall side effects are annoying or alarming to you, be sure you tell your doctor, who can help you find ways to feel better while the medication does its job.

Adderall is the trade name for a combination of two drugs: dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. If you take a generic version of Adderall, those two drug names will be on your medicine bottle.

The generic type costs less, but that’s about the only difference you’ll notice. Generic dextroamphetamine/amphetamine has the same risk of side effects as brand-name Adderall. It provides the same benefits, too.

Common Side Effects

Many common side effects will get better or go away as your body gets used to the medicine. They might include:

If you have any of these side effects, ask your doctor how long they are likely to last, as well as what to do if they don’t get better.

Rare Side Effects

Rarely, Adderall causes more serious side effects. Tell your doctor at once if you have any of these:

Adderall and Your Heart

In the short term, Adderall can raise your blood pressure and heart rate, and cause you to breathe harder. If you take too much of it, you could put your heart and your health at risk.

To be on the safe side, doctors usually don’t prescribe Adderall to people with:

But more research is needed. One large study found no link between ADHD medications -- including stimulants like Adderall -- and a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Even without a perfect heart, you may still be able to take Adderall for ADHD. Expect to see a heart doctor (cardiologist) first. You'll need to get your heart rate and blood pressure checked at follow-up doctor visits.

Tips to Manage Side Effects

You can take steps to reduce some side effects of Adderall. Ask your doctor what might work for you. Some things you can try:

Have good sleep habits. Many people with ADHD have insomnia, or trouble sleeping. Stimulant medicines like Adderall can add to the problem. To get better sleep, limit caffeine and screen time (phone, TV, or video games) close to bedtime.

Don’t take Adderall after 5 p.m. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember -- up to a point. The later you take this drug, the more likely it is to keep you awake at night. Try not to take any Adderall after 5 p.m. If you use an extended-release (XR) version, try not to take it after 2 p.m.

Limit or avoid alcohol. Alcohol affects the way your body processes Adderall. That could result in unusual side effects, including sleepiness.

Ask your doctor if you should switch antidepressants. A few antidepressants can increase Adderall’s side effects. These drugs include:

Reduce dry mouth. You can’t stop Adderall from causing dry mouth, but you can take steps to put moisture back in.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

National Alliance on Mental Illness: “Amphetamine (Adderall).”

Mayo Clinic: “Dextroamphetamine And Amphetamine (Oral Route),” “Dry mouth treatment: Tips for controlling dry mouth.”

National Institute on Drug Abuse:Prescription Stimulants.”

JAMA: “ADHD Medications and Risk of Serious Cardiovascular Events in Young and Middle-aged Adults.”

Pediatrics Child Health: “Adderall and cardiovascular risk: A therapeutic dilemma.”

FDA: “Generic Drugs: Questions & Answers.”

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD): “ADHD and Sleep Disorders.”

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