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ADHD Medications and Alcohol Interactions

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on May 20, 2024.

Stimulant drugs (like Adderall, Ritalin, or Vyvanse) or central alpha agonists (Kapvay, Intuniv) used to treat ADHD can interact with alcohol and may cause side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, heart problems or impaired concentration. You should avoid drinking alcohol or using medicine that contains alcohol while taking these medications.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that can affect adults, teens, and children. Symptoms can include:

Children can have difficulties with homework, may be disruptive in the classroom setting, and have trouble getting along with others. Adult ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work performance, and a low self-esteem. Genetics and the environment both appear to have a causative role in ADHD.

Treatments for ADHD typically involve medication, education, training and counseling. A combination of these options is often the most effective treatment. These treatments can relieve many symptoms of ADHD, but ADHD is a lifelong condition that can be managed, but not cured.

Alcohol Use with ADHD Medications

Amphetamine-containing medicines and methylphenidate (also called CNS stimulants) have a high risk for abuse and can cause physical and psychological dependence. A healthcare provider should review a patient’s history for signs of alcohol (ethanol) abuse or drug abuse before and during treatment with stimulants. A history of abuse may suggest greater risk for abuse with stimulants.

Teenagers and young adults may be especially at risk of drug interactions with ADHD medications if they drink alcohol. According to the CDC, alcohol is the most common drug used by people younger than 21 years of age in the U.S. Plus, young people who drink alcohol are more likely to develop health conditions affecting their body and mind.

Important points to remember about mixing ADHD medications with alcohol:

Learn more: View drug interactions (in more detail) between ADHD medications and alcohol (ethanol)

Common ADHD Medications

*Note: This is not a complete list of ADHD medicines. Always check with your pharmacist or other healthcare provider for possible drug-alcohol interactions. Tell them about all the other medications you use, including prescription, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements and herbal products.


  1. Product Information. Ritalin LA (methylphenidate). Quality Care Products/Lake Erie Medical, Temperance, MI.
  2. Product Information. Metadate CD Capsules (methylphenidate). Celltech Pharmaceuticals, Inc, Applegate, WI.
  3. Mendelson J, Jones RT, Upton R, et al. Methamphetamine and ethanol interactions in humans. Clin Pharmacol Ther 57 (1995): 559-68.
  4. Jiao X, Velez S, Ringstad J,  et al Myocardial infarction associated with Adderall XR and alcohol use in a young man. J Am Board Fam Med 22 (2009): 197-201.
  5. Alcohol. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). May 3, 2024. Accessed May 20, 2024 at

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.