There is no short and sweet answer to how long Adderall stays in your system. In the end, it depends on a variety of factors. That being said, people who are worried about passing a drug test or flushing Adderall out of their system are rarely using the drug for the right reasons. If you or someone you know is abusing Adderall, you may be addicted and in need of drug rehab.
What is Adderall (Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine)?
Adderall is a prescription drug that is used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. The medication is a stimulant containing two different substances: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Adderall may come in an instant release formulation or extended-release (Adderall XR).
Although highly effective when used as prescribed, Adderall is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. The demographic that abuses this medication the most is 18 to 25-year-olds and researchers found that non-prescription Adderall abuse by young adults increased by more than 67% from 2006 to 2011. Furthermore, between 2016 to 2017, the number of young people aged 12 and older who abused Adderall increased by 100,000.
People who misuse this drug may take a higher dose than they were prescribed, use the drug by crushing, snorting, or injecting it, or purchase someone else’s medication with the purpose of getting high. As a stimulant, this drug is often abused by students who are looking to stay up late studying, get more work done, or have more energy while partying. Athletes may also abuse stimulants to improve their athletic performance.
When abused, Adderall can be extremely addictive. People who are addicted to Adderall may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug, crave the substance when it leaves their system, experience harmful physical and mental health side effects, and make using the drug their top priority in life.
How Long Do the Effects of Adderall Last?
When people take Adderall, the effects set in within the first 30-45 minutes. However, the amount of time the effects last varies depending on whether the drug is immediate or extended-release. Taking immediate-release Adderall can produce effects that last for between 4 and 6 hours. On the other hand, extended-release Adderall is formulated to last all day, so the effects may last anywhere from 12-24 hours.
Even though the effects of Adderall wear off within one day, the drug can remain present in your system for far longer. In some cases, it can be detected in drug tests for weeks or even months depending on the type of test’s detection time.
Factors that Determine How Long Adderall Stays in Your System
When someone takes Adderall, it is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. It is then pushed through the system where it will either be deactivated by the liver or eliminated from the body via urine. Only approximately 20-25% of each dosage of Adderall is converted into metabolites, the substances that drug tests screen for to detect drugs in the system.
Adderall has a half-life of between 9 and 14 hours depending on the formulation of the drug. This means that after 9-14 hours, only half of the drug still remains in a person’s system. As a result, most people’s systems will be completely clear of Adderall within 3 days after taking the drug. That being said, there are many additional factors that influence how long Adderall stays in your system. These include:
- Regular dosage and frequency of use – people who have been using Adderall on a daily basis for months at a time will take longer to clear the drug from their system compared to someone who has only taken the drug a couple of times. Similarly, people who take higher doses of Adderall will need more time for their system to process and flush the drug from their body than someone who takes a lower dose.
- pH Levels – the pH of a person’s urine can influence the rate at which Adderall is eliminated from the system. If someone’s urine has a high pH level, it will take longer for their kidneys to remove Adderall from the body. Things like what you eat and drink can impact your urine pH levels.
- Age, weight, and sex – since a person’s metabolism dictates how long substances stay in the system, people with higher body weight or older age may take longer to process substances in their body than a young person with low body weight.
- Organ function – both the liver and the kidneys play a major role in eliminating substances like Adderall from the body. If one of these organs are not functioning normally, it may take longer for Adderall to leave the system.
How Long Adderall Stays in Your System by Type of Drug Test
Different types of drug tests will detect Adderall metabolites in your system for varying lengths of time depending on the detection window and the number of metabolites needed to test positive. The four different types of tests used to screen for Adderall misuse are urinalysis, hair follicle, saliva, and blood tests.
Ultimately, the time frame during which it takes Adderall to leave the system depends on many different factors, so it’s impossible to say exactly how long it stays in the system. That being said, here’s what you can expect from detecting Adderall in the different types of drug tests.
Adderall in Urine
Urine tests are some of the most common drug tests used today. This involves collecting urine in a cup and dipping a test stick into the urine to see if it comes up positive for any drug metabolites. Although most of the drug should be eliminated from the body after 72 hours, Adderall may stay in your urine for up to 4 days. This means you can still test positive on a urinalysis even days after the effects of the drug wear off.
Adderall in Hair Follicle Testing
A more rare form of drug screening is a hair follicle test. This test involves collecting a hair sample and testing the follicles for Adderall metabolites. Hair follicle testing allows for the longest detection window. While it may take up to 1 week for metabolites to be present in your hair follicles, these metabolites may remain for several months. In general, Adderall shows up on hair follicle tests for up to 3 months after the last use.
Adderall in Saliva
Saliva tests are rarely used to screen for stimulant drugs. This involves collecting a saliva sample and testing it for metabolites. Saliva tests are usually the quickest form of drug test because they can detect Adderall within 20 minutes after using the drug. However, Adderall may only be detected in saliva for up to 48 hours after use, after which it begins leaving the system.
Adderall Detection in Blood
Blood tests are fairly uncommon because it is the most invasive and labor-intensive form of drug testing. They also provide a very small detection period. Adderall can only be detected in the blood within 24 hours of use.
Find Help for Adderall Addiction Today
Adderall has a high-risk potential for abuse and addiction, and if you’re worried about passing a drug test because you’ve been taking this drug, it’s likely that you’re not taking it for the right reasons. In fact, the only people who should ever take Adderall are those who are prescribed it for a legitimate medical condition. So, if you’re stressing out about flushing the drug from your system or passing a drug test, you may be addicted, and it may be time to consider seeking professional addiction treatment.
If you or a loved one are abusing Adderall, know that treatment can help and recovery is possible. Pick up the phone and call a dedicated treatment provider today to get started on your recovery.
Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.