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Adderall Side Effects

Common Adderall side effects may include loss of appetite, nausea and insomnia. Rare but severe side effects of Adderall can include emotional instability, psychiatric disorders and cardiovascular events. Adderall misuse can lead to seizures and death.

Last Modified: December 6, 2022
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Common Side Effects of Adderall

Loss of appetite, stomachache, dizziness and nervousness are the most common side effects of immediate-release Adderall. Research indicates that the overall incidence of side effects is low and similar to that of other stimulants.

Common side effects of Adderall include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Stomachache

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that factors such as age, body weight, hormonal cycles and pre-existing conditions can impact your risk of experiencing side effects.

Some Adderall side effects may clear up as the body adjusts to the medication. Side effects typically stop after Adderall treatment ends. If side effects persist, speak with your doctor.

In October 2022, FDA announced a shortage of immediate release amphetamine salts, the active ingredient in Adderall. The agency recommended talking to your medical provider about Adderall alternatives, including Adderall XR which uses extended-release amphetamine salts. The side effects of Adderall and Adderall XR are similar.

Adderall Side Effects in Children

The most common side effects in children are similar to those for adults. Your child’s doctor can typically manage most Adderall side effects with careful adjustments to the dosage and schedule.

As they age, many children also face increased expectations in school and a higher demand for concentration. Some clinicians have found tolerance increases until late adolescence.

For children with ADHD, taking stimulant medication as prescribed neither increases nor decreases the risk of addictive behaviors. Studies indicate that a substance abuse risk may be linked to ADHD itself, rather than its treatments.

When taken in doses and ways other than those prescribed, however, there may be an increased risk of addiction.

Side Effects of Adderall XR

Common side effects of Adderall XR, the extended-release version of the drug, include those reported for Adderall. Some additional symptoms have also been reported when taking Adderall XR.

Common Adderall XR side effects, in addition to those listed for immediate-release Adderall, include:
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia

Your physician can monitor any side effects and may advise that you stop taking Adderall XR if they persist or worsen. Do not stop taking your prescribed medication without speaking to your doctor first.



Warnings and Serious Adderall Side Effects

Serious side effects have been reported, but are rare. Adverse reactions have included dizziness, lack of energy (asthenia), urinary tract infections, irregular heartbeat and elevated blood pressure. In children, rapid, exaggerated mood changes – sometimes called the “rebound effect” – vomiting and nervousness have been reported.

Rare Adderall XR side effects can range from mild, such as hives, to severe skin rashes including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis. Skin picking (dermatillomania), hair loss, heart palpitations, depression, movement disorders (dyskinesia), tics and tremors have also been documented. Frequent, prolonged and painful erections, as well as impotence, have occurred.

Stimulants can carry risks for people with pre-existing mental health conditions and conditions such as cardiac disease. Before starting Adderall XR, your doctor will discuss your medical history and conduct a physical exam.

Adderall Overdose

When taken as prescribed, Adderall is generally considered safe. Taking it without a prescription or in doses that exceed what was recommended for you, however, can lead to overdose. Treating an overdose immediately is essential to increasing the chances of a full recovery.

Adderall overdose is associated with rhabdomyolysis, also called rhabdo. Muscle breaks down and cell contents are released into the blood. Dark red or brown urine can be a symptom of this potentially fatal condition.

Uncontrollable anxiety, panic or aggression with rapid breathing, an elevated heart rate and uncontrollable shaking can be signs of Adderall overdose. If you experience hallucinations, tremors, seizures or loss of consciousness, seek immediate medical attention.

Serious Cardiovascular Effects

Cardiovascular events such as strokes, heart attacks and sudden death have been reported with stimulants, including Adderall. Adderall can increase blood pressure and heart rate.

The risk of adverse side effects is higher for individuals with pre-existing heart issues, high blood pressure (hypertension) or a history of heart attack. Adults are at greater risk of cardiovascular events than children, and the risk increases with each passing decade of life.

If you develop chest pain or other symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Psychiatric Side Effects Linked to Adderall Use

Some researchers have linked Adderall with mental health conditions such as psychosis and schizophrenia. If you have a history of mental illness, you may be more likely to develop psychosis or even suicidal thoughts while taking Adderall.

When people who do not have ADHD take Adderall, they put themselves at risk for amphetamine-related psychiatric disorders.

While rare, longer-term use of Adderall or other stimulants has caused paranoid delusions. Mood and behavioral disturbances, such as anxiety, depression and uncontrollable crying, have also been reported.

Suppression of Growth in Children

Several studies have attempted to determine whether stimulants such as Adderall might suppress or stall a child’s growth. The results have not been conclusive.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that Adderall does not appear to play a role in the eventual adult height of children. According to researchers, other factors, such as nutrition or maturity differences because of ADHD, may play a more significant role in height.

Adderall and Seizures

Some studies have suggested a connection between stimulants and seizures. Those with a history of seizures are suspected to be at particular risk.

Other recent studies, however, have found no evidence of increased risk of seizures with those taking ADHD medication according to prescribed directions. No increased risk was detected in those with a history of seizures or even in those with epilepsy.

Peripheral Vasculopathy and Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Raynaud’s phenomenon, an exaggerated response of the blood vessels to the cold or emotional stress, which occurs in the fingers and toes, is a rare but serious possible adverse effect of stimulants such as Adderall.

Peripheral vasculopathy, another disorder of the blood vessels in the arms and legs, is also reportedly possible with Adderall use.

Serotonin Syndrome

Adderall has a direct impact on the brain’s serotonin levels. Serotonin syndrome can happen when the brain cannot regulate the body’s functions because of an excess of serotonin.

Use of Adderall with other drugs, such as antidepressants or illegal drugs such as MDMA, can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.

When properly following your doctor’s prescription, the change is typically not enough to cause a drastic leap in serotonin. Adderall use without a prescription or in excess of the recommended dose, however, may cause a spike that can be fatal if untreated.



Long-Term Effects of Adderall

Long-term issues associated with Adderall, especially in those who abuse prescription stimulants, include development of tolerance and dependence.

Other long-term side effects of Adderall can include:
  • Aggression
  • Changes in mood and behavior
  • Dependency and addiction
  • Erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems
  • Gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation and abdominal pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart problems and stroke
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Problems sleeping
  • Weight loss

Stopping Adderall suddenly may lead to withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms include vivid, unpleasant dreams, sleeping too much or too little, fatigue and brain fog.

Is Adderall Addictive?

Adderall is a controlled substance. Abuse of Adderall and other stimulant drugs is fairly common among students, professionals, athletes and people with eating disorders abusing it to cram for exams, tackle more work, boost energy and lose weight. People have also taken it to boost confidence and help with social anxiety disorder.

If you feel like you need Adderall to get out of bed in the morning and to cope with daily life, or have uncontrollable cravings for it, you may be addicted to the drug.

Signs of Adderall abuse can include:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive sweating
  • Hostility
  • Hyperactivity
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of coordination
  • Psychosis
  • Quicker breathing
  • Restlessness
  • Skin flushing
  • Suicidal or homicidal thoughts
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

If you take Adderall for ADHD, avoid mixing it with other substances such as alcohol, illicit drugs or other prescription medications. Don’t take it without a prescription or more frequently than prescribed. Never crush, snort or inject it.

Talk to your doctor about taking an occasional break from Adderall, so your tolerance doesn’t get too high.



Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.
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