Thursday October 23rd 2014

How long does Adderall last?

Immediate release versions of Adderall last for 4-6 hours and require repeated dosing. Extended release Adderall XR lasts a full 12 hours but should be taken ONLY ONCE every 24 hours. More here on how Adderall affects the body and brain, and how long its effects last. Plus, a section for your questions about Adderall’s duration at the end.

Adderall effects on the body and brain

Adderall is made of amphetamine salts when are central nervous system stimulants, used to treat people with excessive sleepiness (narcolepsy) by stimulating the central nervous system. Adderall works by increasing the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.  When taken therapeutically, Adderall can help people maintain focus and concentration.  When taken to enhance performance, Adderall addictive properties include its strong effects on the central nervous system, including enhanced concentration as well as euphoric effect.

Does Adderall work for everyone? No, the amphetamine salts contained in Adderall may not be the right treatment for you.  But, Adderall may also work wonders. In fact, Adderall  has a paradoxical effect when used to treat people diagnosed with ADHD, helping them focus and remain calm.  But as a stimulant, Adderall can cause:

  • difficulty with sleep
  • nervousness
  • restlessness

How long do Adderall effects last?

The effects of immediate release Adderall last anywhere for 4-6 hours. Tablets usually last about 6 hours, and should not be taken more frequently. Adderall XR’s effects will last a full 12 hours. However, Adderall XR should not be taken more frequently than once every 24 hours, to reduce the risk of potential overdose.

How long does a Adderall high last?

When people take Adderall get high, an Adderall high peaks after about 4 hours and will begin to decline unless another Adderall is taken at that point.

Adderall high effects

An Adderall high causes stimulant effects which may include:

  • increased alertness
  • excitement
  • fast/pounding heartbeat
  • mood or behavior changes

Adderall is addictive, so abusing it to get high does carry risks. An Adderall addiction can result in powerful withdrawal symptoms, uncontrollable cravings for the drug, and compulsive use of the drug despite negative consequences.

Adderall duration of action

The half life for Adderall can vary widely between people based on diet and other factors, but is typically between 11-17 hours. However, the immediate release formula of Adderall needs to be taken throughout the day to continue to be effective. Adderall XR only needs to be taken once every 24 hours.

Adderall time in the body

Any type of Adderall takes a little while to completely leave the body. After two days, the immediately release is unlikely to show up on a urine drug test, but it may still show up in hair or saliva tests. The extended release version of Adderall may take 3-4 days to clear your system since it takes a full 24 hours before it begins to leave your body.

How long Adderall lasts questions

Do you still have questions about the effects or duration of action for Adderall? Please leave your Adderall questions or comments here. We are happy to respond to all legitimate queries with a personal and prompt response.

Reference Sources: NHTSA Drug and Human Performance Fact Sheets: Methamphetamine (And Amphetamine)
Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention: Prescription Stimulants: Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine:
FDA Medication Guide: Adderall XR

ToxNet: Amphetamine

Photo credit: sanjibm

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40 Responses to “How long does Adderall last?
Holly
6:10 am August 24th, 2012

I have been taking adderall off and on for the past few months. They are not prescribed to me, I get them from a friend.
I tested positive back in June 2012. my doctor retested me today( 8/23)
My last dose was 1 25mg on 8/13.
I was taking two 25 mg table XL for about 8 days with the 13th of aug being the last day of just 1 25 mg tab XL
I’m also on 10 mg of methadone taking 9 tabs a day. Will this effect my results at all to being positive?
A strange thing happened 2 months ago when test for my methadone, my result was negative. Could the adderall effect the results for this test? Even thought I had not taken any adderall them?
I need answers as this is totally freaking me out as I alway take my methadon never miss a dose. Why would it come back negative?

Thanks. HLH

10:24 am August 24th, 2012

Hi Holly. Renal methadone clearance varies for people with certain medical conditions such as renal disease and those taking other prescribed or illicit drugs. As a result, urine drug tests for people on relatively low methadone dosages may be methadone negative even though subjects have ingested medication as prescribed. In other words, a false negative result can be based in your physical condition or in the combination effect of taking amphetamines.

I’d explain your situation to your prescribing doctor, and admit to taking Adderall without a prescription. Then, ask for a re-test.

Holly
12:36 pm August 24th, 2012

Thank you for replying quickly …. I
did admit to her that I’d taken some as it showed in my urine. She did retest me yesterday and the last time I took any was 10 days ago. I told her I have not taken any however I’m just nervous that it will show as well as my methadone not showing again. I do not have renal failure just osteoarthritis and chorionic back pain.
I take my methadone religiously. Do you think I’ll be okay coming out neg for the adderal and positive for the methadone?

Matt
9:12 am August 29th, 2012

I have a prescription for 20mg instant-release Adderall and had one further question about the duration of Adderall. I’ve taken Adderall before without a prescription, both IRs and XRs, and was wondering about the differences between dosage sizes of the same type of Adderall. For example, when comparing a 20mg IR and a 30mg IR, do the effects from the 30mg last longer than the 20mg, or are the effects simply stronger/more noticeable?

Thanks!
-Matt

11:52 am August 29th, 2012

Hi Matt. Thanks for your question. It seems that the duration of action AND the therapeutic strength of action can increase with increased doses of Adderall. In fact, there has been much scientific interest and research completed to answer this question, specifically for treating ADHD. Check out the search terms: “site:.gov adderall dose duration of action” and “site:.gov adderall dose dependent effect” for more information.

Brandon
1:12 am August 30th, 2012

Adderall xr does not last 24 hours..when does sleep come in? Lol

Adderall xr last about 8-12 (never more than 10 for me)

Example: if someone takes a 30mg xr. 15mg little balls release immediately. Then 4 hours later releases the rest of the 15 mg little balls,that took the 4 hours to desolvse

11:19 am September 3rd, 2012

Hi Brandon. Thanks for your message and we”ll update the info now, as it’s confusing! The information above was taken from Adderall XR medication guides offered by the manufacturer. While the effects of Adderall XR may last for 12 hours, people SHOULD NOT dose on Adderall XR more frequently than once every 24 hours!

Elaine
2:38 am September 15th, 2012

I took aderall to help me write a paper because I have difficulty with that thing. The problem now is that I only feel like studying. I don’t feel like shopping or and other physical things don’t interest me anymore

Should I stop or only take when I have the writing class. It hasn’t really helped me with the paper though

1:55 pm September 16th, 2012

Hi Elaine. Yes, if your gut instinct is telling you to stop…you should probably stop. The thing is that if you are feeling good on Adderall and don’t need it for a diagnosed case of ADHD, you can get hooked. Seek help through a student tutor program for better paper writing techniques.

JEE
2:56 am September 18th, 2012

if i took 3x the amount of adderal prescribed (60mg xr as opposed to 20 mg xr) , how much will show up on a blood test 36 hours later?

11:12 am September 22nd, 2012

Hi JEE. You are close to the detection time for amphetamines to have only 36 hours between use and screening. It’s possible that the drug screen will detect abuse.

sarah
10:09 pm September 30th, 2012

i im prescribed 20 mills of adderall a day but i took a extra one. Will this show up in a urine test?

2:30 pm October 1st, 2012

Hi Sarah. Probably not. Unless the urine test is specific for amphetamines and is measuring the amount of metabolites in the system. Most urine screens are either POSITIVE or NEGATIVE for use. So if you have a prescription and the test is POSITIVE, just show the prescription and the dirty test will be explained.

Jahleel Adams
10:07 am November 21st, 2012

I am prescribed to the pink 20mg Adderall pills and I often take 1 1/2 or 2 whenever I have school or studying but the effects seem to run out very quickly after I take it. Would taking a half a pill or more make the effects last longer?

10:42 am November 22nd, 2012

Hello Jahleel. If you notice that the effects of Adderall wear off quickly, ask your doctor for more an extended release, or controlled release, version of amphetamines. Don’t ever increase dosage on your own. It’s illegal and can be dangerous.

Janet G
2:27 pm February 2nd, 2013

I was prescribed 20 mg of Adderal XR a day for MS fatigue.
How long is it supposed to take to begin working and how long is it supposed to last?
I took one cap at 10 a.m. and couldn’t go to sleep until 4 a.m. the next morning. Seems like a long time to me.

Janet G
12:45 pm February 5th, 2013

I take Adderall XL and I can attest to the increased heartbeat, nervousness and the “shakes”. I take it to counter the extreme fatigue of MS. I am more than a little concerned about its addictive properties. I may ask my Dr. to switch me to the immediate release dose.

2:48 pm February 8th, 2013

Hello Janet. Check with your supervising and prescribing doctor (s). Onset of Adderall XR usually begins in the first hour of dosing, and peaks at hour 7-8. Effects can last for 24 hours (see the chart here: http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/archives/fdaDrugInfo.cfm?archiveid=5703) I’m not sure how Adderall is prescribed for fatigue, but it seems to be counter productive if it’s keeping you up!!!

Staci
5:28 pm February 26th, 2013

Hi! if I took a 30mg XR adderall then about an hour later vomited will i still feel the long term effects? I could feel the effects just slightly, and not as strong as usual (I take them frequently). Should I re-take one?

Justine
11:02 pm March 5th, 2013

I just got prescribed 10mg of adderall IR for my ADD and I took my first dose yesterday at 2:00pm and the effects didn’t wear off at all. I took a hydroxazine that my doctor prescribed to help me sleep. The next day I still felt the effects, and at 4:00pm I felt it peak like I took another 10mg. How did that happen??? I promise you, the pills are immediate release. Will it ever leave my system?

Ray
7:53 pm March 17th, 2013

I have a perscription for 20mg XR. I only “feel” the adderall within the 1st 4-5 hours and during that time I feel like i’m at my peak when im studying.

I still seem to be able to focus after for another 3-4 hours without “feeling” the affects. and After 9 hours I probably dont feel like I can pay attention anymore.

I only take this on weekends 1x a day. But If I were to move to a 30mg XR will the “feel” or peak last longer? Can I take 1 capsule split it in 2 so it’s only 10mg and take that after 5 hours? I assume that will create an overlap feel of 30mg correct?

or just ask for a higher dosage? Most doctors if you tell them you need more they ask you a few questions then give it to you. makes me feel like they don’t really care most of the times.

6:28 am April 14th, 2013

Hello Ray. Adderall is a daily prescribed medicine to be used for ADHD. If you’re taking it on the weekend to enhance your study, this is clinically misuse of amphetamines and a conscientious doctor would not prescribe more.

George
5:06 am September 27th, 2013

so I have been taking amphetamine salt 20mg two a day for about a month. I was told by doc I had adhd base on some things. I not being able to focus in school or other things in at wrk. Ex reading and being able to focus to wat I was reading. But im having trouble goin to sleep, numness, lost of apetite, loss of weight, sometime over focusinn, talk alot, thinki of ideas things things to do. So I tryed to take 10 mg at 6am and 10mg at 12pm. Bad idea at,end of day around 5pm I was shaky, depresd, nausia, sad, seeing double letters, not understanding questions, nt hearin wat pple ask, tlkin and confusing ppl, having trouble talkin or saying wat I was thinking. So aftr the episode I went back to 20mg at 6_630am and anhtr at 20mg at 12 as told by the doc. I go to school from 6pm to 9pm. But I cant go to sleep til 12,2 am or im tryn to sleep nd my mind is still thinkin thinkin x10…… So is this normal? Is there othr meds for adhd? Or what especialist can I see for adhd testin to mke sure im on tje right meds and dose? So since im nt 100% of this med becus of wat ive experianced, im only taking it wen I know im goin to b goin to school To help me pay attention and not days off while im trying to learn witch I was before

10:11 am September 27th, 2013

Hello Goerge. Thanks for your questions. Yours may be a dosing problem, or possibly a problem with Adderall itself. There are other ADHD medications. Namely, methlyphenidate (brand name Concerta). I’d suggest that you record your symptoms, schedule a check in with your prescribing doctor and do some more research on alternatives. Best of luck to you!

ian
8:09 pm September 29th, 2013

How long would five 30mg doses of orange xr adderall aken at once last in my urinary system?

Richard
4:01 am September 30th, 2013

Hi
My names Richard and im new to this blog.Im on here because i have been with an addict of pain pills (norcos) off and on for about 5 years.She also has been diagnosed with severe depression and social anxiety.This is by far the biggest, hardest relationship challenge i have ever been in.Im exhausted trying to keep this relationship together.Anybody out there that some advice for me.Im so lost and so done with this relationship.Help please.

1:07 pm October 2nd, 2013

Hello Richard. It is very difficult to be in a relationship with an addict. I’d suggest that you seek psychotherapy from a counselor specializing in family counseling for addiction. Also, attending a support group like Al-Anon can help you make the decision to stay or leave.

Michelle
2:40 am October 4th, 2013

If I took a adderoll 20mg ER at 5am for the first time in a long time , and I had to take a drug test the next day around 5-7 will it show in a drug test ?

Jacob
1:07 am February 21st, 2014

I know taking adderall without it being perscibed is bad for you but is there a way to fall asleep after taking it? Because i dont come down i guess you could call it untill like 7 am after taking it around 6pm the night before. That is also when i start to feel sick. You’ll probably say to stop taking it but i honestly believe it helps me focus. I just don’t like not sleeping and feeling sick.

Shazd
11:35 am March 18th, 2014

Hello. everybody, I took 3 20mg of adderall quick release which I consumed ~800clock, it was my 3rd time taking adderall, Also i have been i having trippy effects, how long will it last and will my dopamine transmiter be, in good health

Dorian
9:50 am May 26th, 2014

Hi. I used to be prescribed 20mg instant release adderall but I recently told the doctor I wanted to stop taking it and he was fine with it. This Sunday I took 8 20mg instant release adderalls in the morning and I could possibly be having a urine test this Friday. How long will the adderall stay in my system ? I’m worried because I took the label off my last bottle and I don’t know if there’s some way I can get away with taking the adderalls since I was previously prescribed

Henry
9:58 am June 3rd, 2014

Yesterday day I took two 20mg orange instant release adderall. I took one at 4:25am and the other at 11:25am. I felt the effects all day long. When I went to bed I was some how able to fall asleep, but I woke up 4 hours later to find that the adderall was still going inside of me. I’m 5’4″ and weigh 135lbs. Did I take too much for someone of my size? How long should of that lasted? Is there a way to cut the effects of adderall short after taking it? I don’t have a script, and I don’t want to hear that I shouldn’t be abusing prescription medication. I only took it to be prepared for finals. That was the only time I plan to ever do it. Also I didn’t eat anything yesterday besides half a frosty and half a braughtwurst. Could this affect how long the adderall lasts?

Cindy
7:22 pm June 25th, 2014

I was diagnosed with hyposomnolence which means basically that I have a sleepy brain and it is hard to stay awake, even after sleeping for 12 to 15 hours. My brain stays in a brain fog. My question is I set my alarm to wake up around 1 hour before I have to and i take 30mg adderall xr and 20mg adderall IR so hopefully I can wake up…well it isn’t working…i can still stay asleep and can’t make myself get up. I am about 50 pounds over weight when I started taking the adderall which by the way I take that same doze around 4 o’clock in the evening to stay awake until bedtime. But I do not lose weight, in fact, I have gained about 30 since I started taking it about 6 months ago…so I need some answers if you can help me. All the doctors and tests and sleep studies show the same thing and no one can help me. I have 4 children that I am missing out on because I can’t make myself wake up. Please help! Thank you, Cindy

karmen
2:06 pm August 16th, 2014

I was diagnosed with ADHD couple days ago, I was prescribed adderall, the first day I took it I was feeling weard. Like if I had a lot of energy, and some how happy. It is normal feeling like that? Should I take1/2 tab?

KAX
12:41 pm August 26th, 2014

I have been prescribed Adderall XR 30mg. I’ve noticed taking one seems to have no effect or help me at all. Should I ask my doctor to increase the dose? This is a recurring issue.

Amanda
9:48 pm August 26th, 2014

I was prescribed adderall 30mg XR, when I was 16 years old. I really enjoyed the affects and results of the medication. I could think clear and concentrate. My mood became happy, joyful, and I became extreamly motivated to do things such as; Art, of any kind, I started playing the guitar by ear and became very good in a short amount of time. I loved night fishing and going on adventures.. and of course, cleaning was a consistant activity. It basically made me develop side effects of the disorder, OCD. It made me feel independent and social. But after 5 years of taking it daily, over time I developed a tolerance, my mother takes 30mg Instant release Amphetamine Salts. I started taking hers, mixing them. I then realized I had a dependancy on the drug. It made me smoke cigarettes, and weed more. I also started taking clonazapam for anxiety, (but not my prescription). Same as Hydrocodone, and occacionally alcohol. My Dr. asked me if we could try a different medication, i said i would rather stay on that or take nothing. She said she had to take me off because of my rapid weight loss. So i continued taking my moms. Now a days, I do the same. I abuse it because my tolernace is only increasing. With out it, i get withdrawal. I binge eat, sleep, i become extreamly week, demotivated, depressed and hopeless :(. My ex fiancee said unless I go get help, im hopeless to stop taking them, until it kills me. I do have ADD, i have tried other meds like Ritalin and concerta. (If I have the name correct). But they only make me feel out of it and sleepy, as well as far from social. I dont know what to do. I feel as if I had become dummer, my vocabulary and spelling skills have dropped drastically over the years. Could this be brain damage?? I have more to explaine, but I will leave it at this for now. Thank you :)

rene
12:43 pm August 30th, 2014

Just wondering..I’m comming of a heroin run.but I’ve also been on methadone maintenance so this should be pease of cake klonopin is the wost withdrawal ever.I want to try and experiment with fionanol for grin.e/d anny comment

Brittany
10:53 pm September 16th, 2014

Hello! I’ve been taking unperturbed Adderall for about 2 1/2 year now. I mostly only get the pink 30s & 20s. I have many health issues going on as well. I started twitching, first just my eyelids & knee, then feet & legs but now, my twitches are beyond horrible. They are spasms big & little, from head to toe. In almost every body part, including inside ears, scalp, eyes, all over my face, even vaginal area & most recently, my neck, forehead, surface of torso all around & more! Some are big & easily visible, some are very small but can be felt, & sometimes it feels as if my leg is vibrating. They don’t usually hurt, sometimes it’s a pinch feeling, a needles, a bug crawling on me sensation, sometimes it’s a tickle & annoying. Some days are worse than others but happens every day. Even on days I don’t take addys. But they are worsening. Now I have what I call a “spasm attack” (use to be brought on by rushing, anger, excitement etc) but in the last 2 days, I’ve had 2 spasm attacks at rest, not showing emotion at all. During am attack, I can feel & see muscles everywhere spamming for example, my stomach looks like it’s moving, my head feels like it’s moving. For one of these all I can do is take my prescribed Xanax & flexerall & be very still until it’s better, never gone, but better, even talking is difficult at these times. Compared to not having an attack, it’s at least 5 muscles but usually more than will either spasm for hours, even days or just comes & goes all day. Adderall makes them worse, I thought it was just from being up & moving around more than usual but it even happens from standing/sitting in one spot for you long. Sometimes after an attack I feel tired & slightly weak. Sometimes I feel panicy & it’s hard to catch my breath but my breathing treatments help that. Even more recently, my eyes twitch, I can’t see where it’s coming from but makes it look like flickering lights, certain body parts (left foot) will get hot out of no where & some spasms feel cold. There’s much more lol. My heart pounds below my ribs it feels like, lumps behind my ears thay grow & shrink & get painful, bad back pain, my feet & hands get cold easily, more right side than left, severe shoulder/rib/leg, feet pain, ear & jaw problems & mire. I have seen my doctor & she was of no help, said that I’m just more aware of my body than others, psh. Laying here right now at this very moment, both legs, mostly around knee, calves, ankles & outer thigh, both feet including toes, my belly all over, my breastfeeding, chest, neck, shoulder, arms, fingers, upper back, back of neck, ears inside & out, scalp, face, etc all spamming in multiple places, my chest feels heavy as well as my upper stomach. It’s worrisome & I have panic attacks from it. I have 5 kids, trying to start a photography business, I’m very anemic which is why I take Adderall & my nurse knows this. I do have multiple spasms daily, sometimes I can take 3 addys & be fine, other days just 1 causes worsening actions. I’m sorry it’s still long! This stuff scares the hell out of me & I don’t have insurance anymore! Do you think any of this is caused by Adderall and/or the amount or kind I take?? To!

Anthony
9:12 pm September 27th, 2014

I too 2 xrs and 4 tens I have been feeling high for two days now what do I do??? Please

megs
8:39 pm October 9th, 2014

hey, i am prescribed to take 20 mg of adderall daily. i hate taking it but tomorrow i have a midterm and its my birthday. if i take half of my 20 mg pill will it just not last as long or will it not be as strong as normally?

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