How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

Last Updated: March 18, 2024

Isaak Stotts Authored by Isaak Stotts, LP
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Adderall is a prescription medication administered to adults and children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Since it is a potent stimulant, people also use this drug to enhance productivity and alertness. However, it might negatively affect the body system as it influences all the organs.

There are two variants of this stimulant; Adderall IR (immediate-release) and Adderall XR (extended-release), with different periods of half-life. Why does this matter, and how long does Adderall stay in your system in both variants?

This article provides extensive information on the prescription medication elimination mechanisms, the various detection tests associated with the medication, and how to remove all its metabolites from the system. It also provides answers to the frequently asked question; how long does Adderall stay in your system.

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System? Drug Testing Information

Employers have an obligation to comply with workplace safety measures, one of which is to design a drug-free workplace. To facilitate this, they conduct regular tests as part of their pre-employment regulations, periodic and random tests to deter the use of addictive substances, and occasionally testing employees upon reasonable suspicion. So, how long does Adderall last? The presence in the system and abuse can be examined through the following types of tests.

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Urine?

This type of drug testing is suitable for all scenarios, from pre-employment to post-accident. Through this, one can detect new or recent substance use in the system for up to 3 days from the last dose. Urine is the only federally-mandated specimen for testing the substance in the safety-sensitive workforce. It gives a fairly accurate estimate that addresses the query on how long Adderall stays in urine does. Let’s look at Adderall urine test detection time.

Depending on the quantity of the substance one takes, how long the medication stays in urine can have varying answers. On average, a urine test can show positive results for approximately 2 to 4 days following ingestion.

According to findings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, chronic users of the medication can test positive in urine samples for up to 7 days.

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Blood?

To help one analyze drug usage for the employees, a blood test can be conducted and is one of the most efficient Adderall drug tests. However, this test is effective within 12 to 24 hours after the medication intake. It is not recommended for a longer duration than before, and after that time limit test is unlikely to show a positive result.

The immediate-release variety has higher bioavailability. After immediate ingestion, it produces peak plasma concentrations in the body in just 3 hours. On the other hand, Adderall 10 mg XR variety produces a peak concentration in the plasma 6 hours after ingestion.

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Hair?

The longer detection window hair testing enhanced its appeal. Through this testing type, one can detect a medication use history of up to 90 days in the body. However, hair testing mainly shows a pattern of use as opposed to recent usage.

However, the hair test for Adderall is not very reliable in the short-term perspective as it does not show the substance traces if the medication was consumed less than seven days ago.

The decomposition of this substance in the body results in several metabolites. Tests were done on hair showing traces of this medication even a month after taking the last dose. On average, drug traces are removed from the hair within the 90-days period.

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Saliva?

This screening method is commonly utilized and helps detect substance use in one’s system within 24 to 36 hours after ingestion. Employers administer oral fluid collections under the direct watch of a test administrator. This reduces the chances of donor tampering.

On average, tests conducted show that the substance can stay in saliva for up to 24 hours. The Food and Drug Administration is yet to approve saliva tests to establish this substance in the body. However, saliva drug tests are possible.

Taking saliva sample for adderall drug test.

Adderall Half Life

The question, how long does Adderall stay in your system, can be answered by understanding Adderall half-life. There are two variants of this medication; the immediate release Adderall IR (tablet) and the extended-release XR (capsule), which is differentiated not only by appearance but the mechanism of action. Following ingestion, Adderall IR peaks after 3 hours. In contrast, XR takes about 7 hours. This notwithstanding, Adderall half-life is almost the same for both variants, lasting between 9 and 14 hours in one’s system. FDA guides on this medication state that the Adderall half life in adults ranges between 13 to 14 hours and 11 hours in children within the age range of 6 to 12 depending on a weight basis.

What Factors Influence How Long Adderall Stays in the System

How long does Adderall last? If one is interested in knowing how long Adderall stays in the system, the answer is, it all depends. Several factors determine this duration.

Doctor sitting opposite the patient and taking notes.

Some of Them Are:

  • Age – A young person actively eliminates this stimulant from their system faster compared to an older person. There are a couple of age-based differences in the breaking down of Add: drugs in the system. The size of the liver is known to decrease as a person ages. This may significantly affect the overall time taken for the individual’s body to break down the medication. Secondly, as a person ages, urine output may decrease due to other secondary age-related problems like heart disease. The general body composition and rate of metabolism change as one advances in age.
  • Kidney and Liver Health (Organ function) – People with kidney or liver problems take much longer to get rid of this drug from their body. The medication is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, where the liver metabolizes it. Metabolites are flushed out of the system by the kidneys. This means that the organs have to be in good health and properly metabolize substances at optimum capacity.
  • Body Type  – Body structures such as height, weight, body fat, and muscle mass also play a role in substance elimination in the body. Typically, larger people need higher doses and tend to retain medication longer than smaller individuals. Low muscle mass and high body fat levels are favorable factors associated with the faster elimination of this medication. Shorter people are also at an advantage compared to taller ones.  However, scientists have discovered the evidence that a specific pathway metabolizes medications like amphetamines in the liver, and this clearance mechanism is faster in people who have more body weight of fat.
  • Urinary pH Levels – People with high pH levels in their urine take a long time to excrete this medication from their system. At the same time, those with a low urine PH tend to clear the substance from their system faster.
  • Metabolism – Everyone has different metabolic rates, which can also be affected by everything, including gender, health status, activity level, lifestyle, age, and others. An active metabolic rate shortens the elimination time of the stimulant from the body. However, active drug users may overburden their metabolic system with excessive substance use. The faster the substance is metabolized into simpler compounds, the quicker it will leave the body.
  • Genetics – Genetically, some people are predisposed to get rid of Add: drugs faster from their system. This is because of the rate of activity of a drug-metabolizing enzyme known as CYP2D6.
  • Food and Water Intake – Drinking lots of water tasks the kidney to excrete waste at a much higher rate. In the process, the medication is also eliminated from the body. Try taking Add: drugs on an empty stomach if one can because this also speeds up its removal.
  • The Type of Adderall Taken – The immediate-release (IR) version of Adderall is usually eliminated faster than the extended-release (XR) type.
  • The Frequency of Intake – Since the drug stays in the system for a much longer period, frequent intake may cause an accumulation of metabolites that take longer to eliminate. However, the longer elimination period is not the biggest danger – frequent users are also likely to overdose on Adderall.
  • Other factors that play a role in determining how long this drug stays in the system include dosage and the combination of other substances in the body. For example, Adderall and weed being taken together might slow the elimination of both substances.

How to Eliminate Adderall From System?

A first step to eliminating the medication from the system is to discontinue the drug; this may be quite challenging for an addict. Once a person is taken off the pill, the detox process can begin to clear the substance from the body. This largely depends on the detox procedure. This notwithstanding, one can facilitate the elimination of this substance from the system post-administration. Below are a few ways to do this.

Chemist in the lab checking urine sample.

Professional Elimination

The first line of treatment is the detox process, which may involve administering counter medication to help cleanse the system of the substance and curb withdrawal effects; this medication can be on-site or off-site. Other management programs for substance abuse, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and contingency management, are an extensive learning program on managing triggers. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) helps individuals regulate their emotions through positive change, mindfulness, and building better health and strong relationships with people. Anything short of contact with a professional may increase addiction and relapse potential.

Many Adderall and drug test candidates prefer a safe stay-home technique to clear the substance off their system, though, for addicts, addiction treatment is critical and should be conducted by a medical professional. However, steps can be taken to eliminate Adderall from the system slowly over time.

Wean Off Gradually

This is one of the natural ways on how to get Adderall out of the system. Instead of an abrupt withdrawal that may come with undesirable symptoms, the best approach is to slowly wean off under medical supervision. Reducing the dosage over time can fight off dependency and Adderall addiction.

Drink Water

Water is very effective in eliminating this stimulant from the body, mainly because of its solubility. The higher water content in the body prevents the substance from being stored in fatty tissues. Water intake also helps to dilute saliva and urine, thus decreasing the concentration of the substance together with its metabolites.

Woman drinks water from a glass.

Take Vitamin C

Science has a rule that the more acidic urine is, the faster the substance will leave the system. Vitamin C helps in acidifying the urine, thus eliminating the substance from the body. One can go for vitamin C supplements or natural juices immediately after intake.

Getting Help With Removing Adderall From System

One should know that quitting this medication on their own can be such a challenge because of the withdrawal symptoms and other side effects of the substance. Instead of quitting cold turkey, which may increase addiction, get information, and help from a doctor or contact experienced professionals because drugs like amphetamine can be dangerous to quit abruptly without special treatment.

People addicted to the stimulant have a wide range of management options, including addiction rehabilitation centers for those with longer abuse histories. In addition, some practitioners may suggest l tyrosine for Adderall comedown and withdrawal symptoms.

Page Sources

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  3. The United States Food and Drug Administration, Medication guide adderall XR. 2007
  4. Margreke J E Brill, Jeroen Diepstraten, Anne van Rongen, Simone van Kralingen, John N van den Anker, Catherijne A J Knibbe, Impact of Obesity on drug metabolism and elimination in adults and children, 2012,
  5. The United States Food and Drug Administration, Adderall (CII). March 2017.
  6. Shaheen E Lakhan,Annette Kirchgessner. Prescription stimulants in individuals with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: misuse, cognitive impact, and adverse effects, 2012.

Published on: June 13th, 2017

Updated on: March 18th, 2024

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