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Does Adderall Make One Lose Weight? Risks and Consequences

weight loss on adderall

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Adderall is a drug in the class of CNS stimulants used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. However, it may cause serious weight loss, which is well documented on the internet.

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Table of Contents

How Does Adderall Cause Weight Loss?

Adderall is known to make some people lose weight primarily due to it containing amphetamine, which is well-known to encourage weight loss. There are various ways in which amphetamines can do this and these include:

  • Speeding up calorie burning – Amphetamines cause increased energy expenditure by increasing the body’s rate of metabolism or breaking down nutrients, and increasing muscular activity by causing an individual to become restless. This increased muscular activity burns calories to produce energy.
  • Supressing appetite – Individuals who use Adderall will observe a reduction of food intake
  • Reduced digestion and absorption of food – Amphetamines cause reduced movement of the intestines and reduced secretion of digestive substances, leading to poor digestion and absorption, ultimately, leading to significant weight loss.
  • Reducing water intake and increasing water excretion. This loss of body water contributes to the loss of body weight observed with the drug.

When comparing Adderall vs Vyvanse weight loss, make sure the benefits outweigh the risks of using the drug.

Do Doctors Prescribe Adderall for Weight Loss?

Although Adderall can assist in weight loss the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  have only approved the use of this drug for treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy.  However, a doctor can prescribe the drug ‘off-label’ which means it can be prescribed by a doctor for other uses even though the FDA has not accepted or approved that use.
doctor prescribing stimulants gives a jar of Adderall to patient
Therefore patients should not use Adderall for weight loss purposes unless prescribed by a doctor. Having a prescription is important because a doctor will be able to monitor a patient to ensure the drug does not cause any toxic effects. A patient with no medical guidance may not be able to identify, prevent, or control the drug’s toxic effects. This is the reason why the U.S Drug Enforcement Agency labels the amphetamine-based medication as a schedule II controlled substance.

How Fast Does One Lose Weight on Adderall?

A normal adult dosage is between 5mg to 60mg and weight loss falls within this dosage range, however many people take the drug at doses much higher than this, which can cause problems. The speed at which a person may lose weight depends on a number of factors including the dosage, frequency of intake, and genetics. Generally, Adderall weight loss can be on average 10 kg within 6 months for both men and women.
The form of the drug used also influences how fast one can lose the excess fats. This drug is available in two forms: immediate release and extended release forms (Adderall IR vs XR). Whilst taking Adderall XR weight loss is more likely than with the IR form, except if the IR version is used several times in a day. Both usage may, at certain doses, cause significant weight loss over the cause of a week. This may encourage people to consider how to lose weight on Adderall XR because it is more likely to yield fast results using a comfortable dosage.

What Risks are Associated with Adderall Use for Weight Loss?

The problem with using Adderall for weight loss purposes is the chances of encountering adverse side-effects and developing an addiction to the medication..Is Adderall is a narcotic – it is not, however, it is a highly addictive stimulant and may cause dependence and tolerance which could lead to overdose symptoms and complications. Getting high on amphetamines produces feelings of euphoria and it is this experience which is addictive an can be the only motivation for using the drug.
Once a person starts to use Adderall for weight loss purposes some people may start to take higher does than recommended. Over time, this leads to tolerance and the body will start to require a much higher dose to achieve the desired effects in turn this will increase the risk of overdose.
Some of these signs of Adderall use include confusion, headache, irritability, hyperactivity, vomiting, abdominal pain. Long term side effects of Adderall include hallucinations, panic attacks, elevated body temperature, convulsions, high blood pressure, heart attack, and death. If the drug is used without a doctor’s prescription or advice, a person may not be aware of the precautions required and the potentially dangerous interactions of Adderall. Complications of amphetamine abuse include malnutrition, hostile behavioral patterns, and stroke.
Additionally, achieving weight loss with the aid of this medication it is usually necessary to take the drug long term, however such use will increase the chances of having withdrawal symptoms if abruptly stopped. Some of these symptoms of withdrawal from Adderall include fatigue and sleepiness, increased appetite, depression, slowed movement, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. Therefore it is advised to consult a doctor before deciding to lose weight on Adderall.
In addition, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies this medication as a pregnancy category C drug, meaning that its safety in humans has not been concluded although it has shown adverse effects in pregnant animals. Therefore, using Adderall during pregnancy is not recommended unless prescribed by a doctor if the benefits outweigh any risks to the baby. Some effects of the drug on the baby include premature birth and withdrawal syndrome.

How Does Adderall Affect Weight in Children?

Adderall is used for the treatment of ADHD in children and it alsolittle girl taking ADHD medication pill causes stunted growth. Ran D. Goldman’s study on ADHD stimulants and their effects on children shows that children who use it develop slowed growth, however this changes when the drug is stopped and the children can increase their body mass index (BMI)..
It is advisory to express concern if a doctor prescribes Adderall to a child, or request to be referred to a dietitian or nutritionist to ensure an appropriate diet plan is followed for the child to maintain a healthy diet.

Should One use Adderall for Weight Loss?

Adderall is highly addictive so if a doctor does prescribe the drug to lose weight, a patient should consider informing their doctor about other medications being used, providing their full medical history, and following adhering to all the doctor’s instructions.
And although Adderall does encourage weight loss, it may be better to use non-drug approaches such as dietary control and exercise.
Note that amphetamines are highly addictive and it is quite easy to become dependent. Efficient treating addiction to illicit substances requires a professional approach. However, there are many rehab facilities with experienced medical professionals and proven therapy approaches to help one in this combat.

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Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Isaak Stotts

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


Leave a comment

  • Andrew
    I am taking adderal and noticing significant weight loss, I am taking 25 ml xr at 5am and it wears off around 9-10, Should I continue with the same dose?
  • Katharine F Drobile-Landis
    Is Adderall without a prescition? I don’t have insuarnce
  • Frank
    I found it very easy to use and break them in small pieces and reverse titrate off of it with no withdrawal syndrome. It helps focus and motivation beyond any doubt. I’m 60 and I’ve been around the block the hard way too. I conclude it’s safe and effective if you are a responsible patient.