- The common side effects of adderall are anxiety, dry mouth, appetite loss, and sleep issues.
- There are also less-common side effects like sore throat, headaches, sweating, and cough.
- Some of the long-term side effects of adderall are agression, dementia, tremors, and psychosis.
When your body is still adjusting to the drug, you may experience common minor side effects like dry mouth or weight loss. However, you can also experience breathing difficulties or tingling in the hands or feet, which require emergency medical treatment.
Here are the side effects you may experience after taking Adderall and when you should seek medical attention.
What does Adderall do?
In particular, the drug increases the concentration of neurotransmitters called norepinephrine and dopamine, says Lewis Nelson, MD, medical toxicologist and chair of emergency medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
For people with ADHD or narcolepsy, this can lead to positive effects like:
- Increased attention and alertness
- Reduced daytime sleepiness
- Increased concentration
- Decreased restlessness
However, taking Adderall can also come with some uncomfortable side effects, which are typical of stimulants, says Nelson. Here are the short-term and long-term side effects that you should be aware of.
Short-term side effects
It takes about a half-hour for Adderall's side effects to kick in, says L. Eugene Arnold, MD, MEd, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral health at The Ohio State University Nisonger Center Clinical Trials.
According to Arnold and Nelson, common short-term side effects of Adderall include:
- Appetite loss
- Affect blunting, or the decreased ability to express emotion
- Sleep disturbance
- Mild increase in pulse and blood pressure
- Dry mouth
There are also less common side effects, such as:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Long-term side effects
While anyone can experience side effects from taking Adderall, not everyone will and who feels what will vary by individual, says Arnold.
Some of the long-term side effects include the following:
- Impaired growth in children
- Elevated blood pressure, which may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke
- New-onset psychosis
- Increased risk of depression
- Sleeping difficulties
Slowed growth and cardiovascular side effects may be permanent or irreversible, says Nelson. If you've been taking Adderall for about 10 years and you started taking it before the age of 10, you may experience about an inch of loss in height growth, says Arnold.
However, research is generally split on the matter, and some say Adderall might not be associated with significant changes in growth after all. Ultimately, a doctor needs to carefully monitor the height and weight of any child that is taking Adderall to assess their growth.
Adderall drug interactions
Adderall should not be taken with certain medications because it can cause an adverse reaction that reduces the drugs' effectiveness and may lead to unpleasant, or even dangerous, side effects.
Here are some of the common drugs that Adderall interacts with:
- Methylene Blue
For instance, monoamine oxidase inhibitors — a strong class of antidepressants — may interact with amphetamine and result in a dangerous rise in blood pressure, says Arnold.
If you're taking a medication that may interact with Adderall, your doctor may do any of the following:
- Replace Adderall with another drug
- Change some of your other medicines so you can take Adderall
- Change the dose or the frequency of dosing of one or both of the medicines
"If an adverse feeling develops after combining two medications, you should stop the medications and call your healthcare provider. If one was recently added, it is generally acceptable to stop that medication and call your physician," says Nelson.
When to see a doctor
You should see a doctor immediately if any of the following occur after taking Adderall:
- Seizure: Adderall may increase the risk of seizures, especially if you have a history of seizures or heart rhythm problems.
- Drug interaction: If you have a fever, fast heartbeat, muscle spasms, vomiting, and diarrhea, you may be experiencing a potentially life-threatening drug reaction called serotonin syndrome.
- Urinary side effects: Side effects such as bladder pain, bloody or cloudy urine, and painful or frequent urination may occur after taking Adderall.
- Drug dependence: If you feel mentally or physically dependent on Adderall, see a health care professional to avoid the risk of addiction or drug misuse.
- Symptoms on fingers and toes: Tingling, paleness, and unexplained sores on your fingers or toes may be signs of a blood circulation problem called Raynaud's phenomenon.
- Heart problems: Adderall may cause heart or blood vessel problems, especially for those with a family history of heart disease. If you have abdominal or chest pain, difficulty breathing, or severe headache, call your healthcare provider immediately or seek emergency care, says Nelson.
Adderall is a prescription drug that increases the levels of certain chemicals in the brain to improve attention and alertness. Common short-term side effects include dry mouth, anxiety, and temporary appetite loss.
To avoid any potential drug interactions, let your doctor know of all the medications that you're taking.
See a doctor immediately if you experience symptoms like fever, vomiting, difficulty breathing, or chest pain, which might be a sign of a serious condition like a heart problem or serotonin syndrome.