Adderall Side Effects

by on December 19, 2011


Common side effects of Adderall include headache, dry mouth, constipation and diarrhea. Serious side effects include vision problems, fainting and severe weight loss. In some cases, Adderall can cause severe allergic reactions in patients.

Common Adderall Side Effects

The most common side effects of Adderall and Adderall XR include:

  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Temporary increases in blood pressure
  • Weight loss
  • Emotional changes
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling of weakness
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Infection, such as urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Fever
  • Heartburn

Another common side effect is a temporary slowing of growth in children. However this slowing of growth is typically minimal, being less than an inch and less than two pounds. Children usually catch up to within normal limits within time. Although some of the listed common side effects are relatively minor and may not require treatment, patients should contact their doctor if they’re concerned or bothered by any side effects of Adderall.

Serious Adderall Side Effects

Patients are also at risk of less common but serious Adderall and Adderall XR side effects. If an Adderall user develops any of the following Adderall side effects, he or she should seek medical attention immediately:

  • Severe allergic reactions including hives, rash, itching, difficulty breathing and swelling
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Excessive sweating
  • Involuntary shaking
  • Taste changes
  • A need to take habit-forming drugs
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Mental impairment
  • Hallucination
  • Seizures
  • Vision problems
  • Fainting
  • Severe weight loss

Some of these serious side effects are less common than others. The rarest include Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, mental impairment, hallucination and seizures. Although these particular side effects of Adderall are rare, patients should still be vigilant for symptoms .

Patients with Pre-existing Conditions

Patients with certain conditions may be at greater risk for side effects. For instance, patients with psychotic disorders may find that Adderall worsens symptoms such as thought disorders and behavior problems.

People who already have high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and certain irregular heart rhythms or have recently had an heart attack are at greater risk of Adderall side effects such as an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. If a patient has any of these conditions they should therefore inform his or her doctor before starting Adderall. Patients should also tell their doctor if they have seizures, Tourette syndrome, hyperthyroidism, glaucoma or any allergies.


Despite treatment of depression being an off-label use of Adderall, depression is also one of the potential side effects of Adderall.  Therefore it is important to be vigilant for the signs and symptoms of depression when taking Adderall, even though it is not a common side effect. Symptoms of depression include, but are not limited to, persistent sadness, loss of pleasure in previous interests and hobbies, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness  and  thoughts of death or suicide. If an Adderall user is experiencing any of these symptoms, he or she should talk to a doctor.

Although the majority of people tolerate Adderall rather well, there is a risk of side effects, as is the case with any medication. In many cases, Adderall side effects are relatively minor and can easily be treated either by the patient ( or the patient’s parent) or a healthcare provider. The most important thing is to be vigilant for side effects of Adderall and to report any serious side effects or bothersome minor side effects.