How long does Adderall stay in your system? Here’s the quick answer:
Adderall stays in your system for approximately three days but traces of it can be found for up to a month after last use.
Adderall is a stimulant that contains a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. The medication is commonly prescribed to children and adults to relieve the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Narcolepsy. According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics, the stimulant helps relieve the symptoms of up to 80% of children suffering from ADHD.
Adderall is available in two forms: Adderall IR (immediate-release) and Adderall XR (extended-release)—and as you can guess from the brand names, each variation has a different release timeline in your body. So, how long does Adderall last XR last? Adderall XR is released slowly throughout the day and may last for up to 10 hours in your system.
Despite its notable therapeutic benefits, the prescription has a high risk of abuse and misuse. It’s especially popular among college students who assume that the stimulants will improve their cognitive abilities. But contrary to this popular belief, research shows that the impact of Adderall on neurocognitive performance is negligible.
Read on to find out the Adderall half-life, how it works, how long Adderall lasts in your body, the risk of misuse, treatment for Adderall addiction, and everything in-between.
Here’s How Adderall Works
People with ADHD lack enough dopamine—a neurotransmitter involved in attention, motivation, and reward. For this reason, they tend to engage in ‘thrill-seeking’ experiences while finding it hard to focus.
When consumed to help remedy the symptoms of ADHD, Adderall stimulates the CNS (central nervous system). It increases the availability of dopamine in the brain’s ‘reward center’ – i.e., the frontal lobe. Please note that Adderall medication is just one facet of a comprehensive ADHD treatment program
Before highlighting how long it lasts in your body, it is important to understand the Adderall half-life. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Adderall’s half-life is anywhere between 9-14 hours. This means that the body metabolizes half of the Adderall you take after 14 hours, another half after that, and so on.
As a general rule of thumb, drugs typically take 5.5 half-lives to completely leave the body. With this in mind, it may take up to 3 days for the drug to completely clear your system – i.e., 5.5 x 14 = 72 hours (roughly 3 days).
In summary, Adderall will pass through your system in around three days—but as we’ll highlight later in the article, traces can still be found for up to a month after last use. For this reason, the answer to the question; “how long does Adderall stay in your system?” is not as straightforward as you may assume. It depends on several factors
What Factors Can Affect How Long Adderall Stays in Your System?
There are several factors that can affect how long Adderall stays in your system.
- Body weight and size – If your body is high in fat and low in muscle tone, Adderall will pass through your system relatively quickly. Adderall is constructed from substances that are hydrophilic. This means they mix well with water and people who have high muscle tone have more water coursing through their bodies. Therefore, the Adderall has more space and volume to circulate around in.
- How much food you’ve eaten – If you’ve taken Adderall on an empty stomach, it may pass through your system quicker. This is because your body will work to metabolize any food in your system at the same time as it works to metabolize Adderall. This means that both the food and the Adderall will take longer to completely leave your body.
- Dosage and frequency of use– The higher the dose you take, the longer it will take to be eliminated from your body. In the same way, if you’re using a lot of Adderall, it will build up in your system, and again, take longer to leave your body.
- Liver and Kidney function – The liver and kidneys play a huge part in metabolizing substances so if either one of these—or both—is not working properly, elimination from the body will take longer.