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Does Adderall help you lose weight?

Medically reviewed by Sally Chao, MD. Last updated on July 30, 2021.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) can cause you to lose weight, but it is not prescribed as a weight loss drug. Weight loss may occur as a side effect for some people taking Adderall. This is mainly due to undesirable side effects like:

  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea

Other side effects of Adderall can include:

  • Heart palpitations
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Blurred vision
  • Allergic reactions
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle damage

You may also have panic attacks and personality changes. Long-term misuse at high doses can lead to a mental health condition similar to schizophrenia.

Adderall is a federally controlled substance because it can be misused or abused and can lead to dependence. Using Adderall for weight loss would be considered misuse. Adderall is a combination of dextroamphetamines and other amphetamines.

Adderall is only available by prescription. It is a central nervous system stimulant. In children and adults, it is prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In adults, it is prescribed to treat narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder.

Amphetamine drugs are often misused or abused. This can happen if people buy amphetamines as street drugs or use other people’s prescription medications. Over time, when used for reasons other than for narcolepsy or ADHD, the effects of Adderall wear off. This is called tolerance. Tolerance leads to using higher doses and addiction.

  • If you misuse Adderall to lose weight, you may be in danger of substance use disorder. Continued use may cause health problems or difficulties at work, home or school.
  • You may also be in danger of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking Adderall suddenly. Withdrawal symptoms can include fatigue, sleep problems and depression.

In addition to misusing Adderall to lose weight, some people misuse Adderall to improve their mental ability. College students have used amphetamines to help them study and get better grades. Older adults may use amphetamines to improve memory or energy. All of these uses can lead to harmful side effects and substance use disorder.

References
  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine DailyMed. Adderall. April 2020. Available at: https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=f22635fe-821d-4cde-aa12-419f8b53db81. [Accessed July 4, 2021].
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts. June 2018. Available at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-stimulants. [Accessed July 4, 2021].

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