Adderall is a prescription stimulant drug that is primarily used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). By increasing the levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, this substance can reduce overstimulation inside the brain. However, people who do not have ADHD will experience effects similar to cocaine and methamphetamine if they abuse Adderall – making it incredibly addictive when misused.
Oftentimes, college students begin abusing Adderall to stay awake for long hours studying or partying. Studies show that up to 20% of college students abuse prescription stimulants like Adderall.
If you or a loved one frequently misuses Adderall, knowing how long it stays in your system is important. Being aware of this information can prevent you from taking too much Adderall at once and experiencing an overdose. It can also help you predict withdrawal.
For most people, Adderall stays in the system for about two days. However, it can be detected on a urine drug test for up to 72 hours after the last dose.
How is Adderall Metabolized in the Body?
To understand how long Adderall stays in your system, you must be aware of how it is metabolized in your body. After you consume Adderall, it travels to your gastrointestinal tract, into your liver, and is eliminated through your urine.
Most of the substance will be converted into metabolites known as hippuric and benzoic acids. These are the substances that drug tests look for to determine whether you have abused Adderall.
The half-life of Adderall for adults is about 10 hours. The half-life of a drug indicates how long it takes someone’s body to eliminate half of a single dose of a substance. Since it takes 4 to 5 half-lives for a drug to be completely eliminated, Adderall may remain in your system for about two days.
Additionally, Adderall is available in immediate-release and extended-release (XR) versions. Adderall XR produces longer-lasting effects and can stay in your system longer than regular Adderall.
What Factors Affect How Long Adderall Stays in Your System?
Exactly how long Adderall remains in your system will depend on a variety of personal factors. For example, someone who takes the recommended dose will eliminate the drug faster than an individual who took a large amount of the substance.
Other factors that play a role in how long Adderall Remains in your system include:
- Age, weight, and body composition – These factors can influence how quickly your body processes and eliminates substances. Generally, individuals with higher body fat might retain Adderall for a longer period due to fat-soluble properties.
- Rate of metabolism – A faster metabolism typically leads to quicker drug clearance. Individuals with a high metabolic rate are likely to eliminate Adderall faster than those with a slower metabolism.
- The health of the kidneys and liver – The kidneys and liver are responsible for filtering and processing drugs. Impaired kidney or liver function can extend the time Adderall stays in your system, as the drug might not be efficiently cleared from your body.
- Whether you abuse other substances – Concurrent use of other drugs or substances, including alcohol, can interact with Adderall’s metabolism and affect its clearance rate, potentially prolonging its presence in the body.
- The dose of Adderall you take – Higher doses of Adderall can take longer to be metabolized and excreted from the body compared to lower doses.
- How frequently and how long you have been abusing Adderall – Chronic use of Adderall can lead to its accumulation in the body over time, extending its detection window. Additionally, frequent use can affect the body’s ability to clear the drug quickly.
- Whether you were taking Adderall XR or regular Adderall – Adderall XR (extended-release) is formulated to release the medication gradually over an extended period. As a result, it might remain detectable in the system for a longer time compared to regular immediate-release Adderall.
How Long Is Adderall Detected in Your System?
While Adderall may remain in your body for about two days, the metabolites it leaves behind can stay in your system longer. Metabolites may linger in your urine, blood, saliva, and hair for varying amounts of time. Understanding how long Adderall remains in these parts of your body can help you determine whether you will pass a drug test.
Urine tests are the most commonly used type of drug test because they are minimally invasive and inexpensive when compared to other types. These tests can detect Adderall in your system for 48 to 72 hours after your last dose. If you have been using Adderall for a long time, you might test positive for a longer period.
Because they are invasive and more expensive than urine tests, blood tests are not as commonly used. However, hospitals often use blood drug tests before treatment to determine whether a substance is affecting your condition. With that being said, blood tests can detect Adderall in your body for about 48 hours after you last consumed it.
Saliva drug tests use cotton swabs to get a sample of your saliva. They look for metabolites in your saliva to determine whether you have abused Adderall. These tests are not as reliable, only providing a 20 to 50-hour window of detection.
Hair tests look for drug metabolites in your hair follicle to determine whether you have abused a substance. Hair follicle drug tests can detect any drug in your system for up to 90 days after your last dose.
While hair tests provide the longest window of detection, they can be very expensive, so they are not used as commonly as urine, blood, or saliva drug tests.
Find Help for Adderall Addiction
If you or a loved one suffer from Adderall addiction, it’s time to seek help. Adderall abuse can lead to a wide variety of health conditions, like life-threatening overdoses. As a result, you should always enter a drug addiction treatment program to receive the tools and support you need to achieve long-term sobriety.
It’s extremely important that you choose a rehab facility that can address all of your recovery needs and goals. At New Jersey Addiction Interventions, we can provide you with expert assistance in finding a program that suits your needs. Whether you only need help for Adderall addiction or you struggle with co-occurring mental health conditions, we can find the best program for you.
To learn more about how New Jersey Addiction Interventions can help you, please contact us today.
- The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Raising Awareness About Prescription and Stimulant Abuse in College Students Through On-Campus Community Involvement Projects, Retrieved August 2023 From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6312145/
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Adderall Label, Retrieved August 2023 From https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/021303s015lbl.pdf
- National Library of Medicine: Dextroamphetamine-Amphetamine, Retrieved August 2023 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507808/
Medically Reviewed: August 18, 2023
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.