Depending on which Adderall form you take, many factors from age and genetics to drug interactions and testing methods affect how long Adderall stays in your system.
Adderall is a stimulant medication commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy. It is a combination of several different amphetamine and dextroamphetamine salts and has a high potential for abuse (Schedule II).
How long Adderall stays in your system is influenced by many factors and will differ by person, formulation and testing method.
How Is Adderall Metabolized?
As a tablet or capsule, Adderall breaks down in the stomach and absorbs into the bloodstream from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. From there, Adderall affects the brain. Next, Adderall is metabolized or broken down into several metabolites. These metabolites are active, which means they continue to act on the body. Approximately 30–40% of Adderall is excreted unchanged in the urine, and about 50% is excreted as metabolites.
How Long Does it Take for Adderall to Kick In?
Adderall starts working after about 30–60 minutes. During this time, Adderall is broken down in the stomach and begins to be absorbed through the GI tract. This time can be influenced by other medications taken with Adderall or whether you have eaten, for example.
How Long Does Adderall Last
When taken as prescribed, immediate release Adderall lasts for about four to six hours or about 12 hours for Adderall XR, which is the extended-release formulation. Because of this, immediate release Adderall is often taken multiple times throughout the day, whereas Adderall XR can be taken once.
The half-life is the time it takes for half of one dose of a drug to be metabolized and eliminated. This timeframe can differ depending on your age. For Adderall, children aged 6–12 are expected to see the shortest half-life (about 9–11 hours). In contrast, adults can expect to see a half-life for Adderall of about 10–13 hours. Adderall’s half-life can increase as body weight increases.
Does Adderall Show Up on a Drug Test?
Adderall appears on most drug tests used by law enforcement, employers, medical and mental health providers and others. The most common types of drug tests are urine, hair, saliva and blood.
How Long Does Adderall Stay In Urine?
Adderall can be detected in the urine for one to five days after your last dose of the medication. However, your urinary pH can influence this. If your urinary pH is lower (more acidic), you can expect to eliminate Adderall faster. On the other hand, if your urinary pH is higher (less acidic), it will take longer to eliminate Adderall.
This type of drug testing is relatively inexpensive, does not require specialized medical personnel or facilities and, as a result, is commonly used.
How Long Does Adderall Stay In Hair?
Like most drugs, Adderall can be detected in the hair for about 90 days. However, this drug test has a few variables which are barriers to testing in this way; for example, hair collection challenges for people who are bald or have hair extensions or contamination by hair color. Hair follicle testing also lends itself to debate about practicality because it is impossible to tell how much of a drug was used or whether usage is increasing or decreasing.
How Long Does Adderall Stay In Saliva?
Adderall can be detected in the saliva for 20–50 hours. However, there is debate about this form of testing because, like with urine drug tests, saliva testing can be highly variable depending on the pH.
How Long Does Adderall Stay In Blood?
Adderall can be detected in blood plasma for 7–34 hours after your last dose. This type of drug test requires specialized medical personnel and a laboratory setting. It is also more invasive than other kinds of drug testing, like urine. However, it can accurately determine the presence of drugs in your bloodstream and is sometimes used.
Will Adderall Show Up In Routine Blood Work?
The short answer is no, Adderall will not show up on routine blood work if you are at the doctor for a regular check-up. Routine blood work most often includes a complete blood count (CBC), which looks at the components of your blood, and either a comprehensive or basic metabolic panel (CMP or BMP), which looks for electrolyte, kidney and liver function. You must consent for any lab work, so be sure to read any document you sign or ask questions to know what you agree to before providing a sample.
Factors That Affect How Long Adderall Stays In Your System
Many factors can influence how long Adderall stays in your system, including:
- The Adderall formulation and dosage you are taking
- Other medications taken with Adderall can cause interactions
- Acidic juices can impact Adderall absorption
- Urinary or salivary pH can influence Adderall elimination
- Whether you have eaten with this medication or taken it on an empty stomach
- Your age, weight and genetics
Are You Struggling With an Adderall Addiction?
Adderall has a high potential for abuse and addiction and is subsequently categorized as a Schedule II medication by the Controlled Substances Act. Dependence on this medication can develop in days, with many signs of addiction. Some of these include:
- Taking Adderall more often or at higher doses than prescribed
- Cravings for the medication or withdrawal symptoms if you try to stop
- Difficulty with work, school or relationships because of Adderall
- Ignoring things you liked doing to misuse Adderall instead
- Tolerance to Adderall, so you take more of it to get the same effect
See More: How Much Is Too Much Adderall?
If you or a loved one are struggling with Adderall addiction, The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper can help. Our trained medical professionals provide comprehensive addiction treatment services, and our facility offers a range of treatment programs to serve you best. Contact us to get started on your path to a healthier life today.
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Bourland, J. “Practical Aspects of Drug Testing in Human Hair.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, July 2013. Accessed July 15, 2022.
Drugs.com. “Amphetamine Monograph for Professionals.” Reviewed May 23, 2022. Accessed July 15, 2022.
Drugs.com. “How long does Adderall last?” Reviewed July 30, 2021. Accessed July 15, 2022.
Gryczynski, Jan; et al. “Hair Drug Testing Results and Self-repor[…]sk Illicit Drug Use.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, August 1, 2015. Accessed July 15, 2022.
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