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How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?
Key Takeaways
  • Adderall can stay in your system for anywhere from 20 to 96 hours after last use, depending on the drug tests done and other factors affecting Adderall metabolism, such as age, weight, dose, and dosing frequency. 

  • Adderall can be detected in the urine for 72-96 hours after last use, in blood samples for up to 48 hours, by saliva testing for 24-48 hours, and by hair tests for up to 3 months after last use. 

  • How long the effects of Adderall last depends on the dose and formulation. Immediate release Adderall typically lasts for 4-6 hours. Extended-release Adderall can last for up to 8-12 hours from the last dose.

Adderall is the brand name for a combination of two amphetamine salts, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is a stimulant medication typically prescribed, along with behavioral therapies, to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children. “My child was diagnosed with ADHD, now what?” Check out our blog.

This prescription stimulant is available in immediate-release and extended-release formulations to take by mouth. When used as prescribed by mental health professionals, Adderall can be extremely beneficial for people with ADHD when used in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). However, researchers found that this prescription medication is frequently abused; specifically, 60% of misuse was among young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 years. 

Some people obtain Adderall illegally from illicit drug sellers, while others use Adderall prescribed to friends and family members. According to a 2016 National Drug Use and Health Survey, approximately two-thirds of young adults using Adderall for non-medical use buy this medication from their friends or roommates. However, misusing Adderall carries serious risks, and the illegal purchase of Adderall can get you in serious trouble with the law. Adderall is a controlled substance, and possessing this medication or any other Schedule II drugs without a doctor’s prescription is a felony.

Please continue reading to learn about the consequences of Adderall abuse. We will also tell you how long Adderall stays in your system or how long after Adderall use you can test positive on blood tests, urine tests, and other drug testing methods.

How long does Adderall stay in your system?

Adderall can stay in your system for anywhere from 20 to 96 hours after drug use, depending on the drug tests done and other factors affecting Adderall's metabolism. Common drug tests for Adderall detection include:

  • Urine drug test: Adderall can be detected in the urine for 72-96 hours after last use.

  • Blood test: Adderall can be detected in blood samples for up to 48 hours.

  • Saliva test: Adderall can be detected by saliva testing for 24-48 hours. 

  • Hair testing: Adderall can be detected on hair tests for up to 3 months after last use. 

Note that these are average times for detecting Adderall. The actual length of time Adderall will stay in your system or how fast your body will eliminate Adderall is influenced by several factors. The dose, time of last use, frequency of use, your age, body weight, body composition, kidney function, and urine pH can greatly affect how long Adderall stays in your system. For example, if you misuse Adderall frequently, the drug stays in your body longer, and it may show up on a urine test even a week after last use.

How long does 20 mg of Adderall last?

How long the effects of Adderall last depends on the dose and formulation. This stimulant drug is available in extended-release (Adderall XR) and immediate-release formulations (Adderall IR). Immediate release Adderall typically lasts for 4-6 hours. Extended-release Adderall can last for up to 8-12 hours from the last dose.

How long does it take for Adderall to fully absorb?

How long Adderall or any other drug takes to fully absorb depends on something called the half-life of the drug. The half-life is the amount of time it takes for the concentration of a drug to fall to 50% of its original level. Adderall has a half-life of 9-14 hours. This means 9-14 hours after you take a dose, only half the original amount of Adderall remains in your body. 

After an additional 9-14 hours, the amount of Adderall in your body drops by another 50%. It, therefore, takes 4-5 half-lives to clear a drug completely from the body. Therefore, Adderall typically clears from your system in 72 hours (3 days). However, drug metabolism (how long Adderall stays in your body) is influenced by several factors. 

How does Adderall treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

Adderall blocks the reuptake of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the central nervous system, stimulating the cerebral cortex and subcortical structures. It makes more of these natural chemicals available to brain cells, thereby improving focus, concentration, and attention and reducing hyperactivity and impulsivity. This prescription stimulant, along with behavioral therapy, is very effective in controlling the symptoms of ADHD. 

Curious about ADD & ADHD differences? Check out our blog.

What is Adderall addiction?

People who take Adderall with a doctor’s prescription can benefit from this stimulant medication and take it safely long-term to control ADHD symptoms. However, people who use Adderall recreationally are at a very high risk of developing an Adderall addiction. They can become physically and psychologically dependent on this stimulant drug. 

Taking Adderall recreationally at high doses on a regular basis changes the way the reward system in the brain works. Adderall increases the levels of feel-good chemicals that activate the reward center in the central nervous system. When you misuse Adderall, it can lead to tolerance over time, where you need to take higher doses to get the same effects. This can lead to an Adderall use disorder with drug-seeking behaviors. People who discontinue or reduce Adderall use after using this drug recreationally for a period of time can develop withdrawal symptoms.

How can you detect ADHD in women? Look for these signs.

Can a drug test detect Adderall?

Yes, a drug test can detect Adderall. A urine test is commonly used to check for Adderall and other stimulants. Blood and saliva tests can also be used to detect substance abuse.

What is a high level of Adderall in urine?

Detection of Adderall in urine samples at any level indicates that you have used this drug within the last 1-3 days. Therefore, any level of urine Adderall will raise a concern for drug abuse if you don’t have a prescription for this medication. 

What are the risks of Adderall misuse?

Adderall abuse or misuse puts you at risk of side effects, withdrawal symptoms, long-term health complications, social or interpersonal problems, and drug overdose

Common side effects of Adderall include headache, dry mouth, gastrointestinal tract symptoms (nausea, diarrhea, constipation), weight loss, changes in sex drive, painful menstrual cramps, and nervousness. More serious adverse effects include tics, seizures, psychotic symptoms (delusions, hallucinations), growth retardation, agitation, mania, and serious heart problems.

If you or a loved one is struggling with Adderall abuse, addiction treatment can help. The treatment plan, consisting of detox, behavioral therapies, and relapse prevention, can help you overcome your Adderall addiction.

Looking to compare Adderall with other ADHD medication options? Check out our blog to learn about Ritalin vs Adderall, Vyvanse vs Adderall, and Strattera vs Adderall

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References:

  1. https://www.uclahealth.org/news/ask-the-doctors-abuse-of-adderall-becoming-common-among-young-people

  2. https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=f22635fe-821d-4cde-aa12-419f8b53db81

  3. https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=aff45863-ffe1-4d4f-8acf-c7081512a6c0

  4. https://publichealth.jhu.edu/2016/adderall-misuse-rising-among-young-adults

  5. https://psych.wisc.edu/news/easy-access-pressure-on-students-contributes-to-increase-in-non-prescribed-adderall-use/