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How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

Written By
Matt Gonzales
This page features
10 Cited Research Articles

Adderall is a prescription drug that can ease symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. The length of time Adderall remains in the body depends on a variety of factors, including a person’s stress level, age and overall health.

Developed by the pharmaceutical company Shire in 1996, Adderall is a prescription stimulant used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. The drug can cause numerous side effects and behavioral issues, including euphoria, sleep disruption, mental health problems or addiction.

In recent years, many young adults have abused the medication for its euphoric effects. A 2016 study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that Adderall misuse is highest among adults aged 18 to 25, who primarily receive the medication from loved ones without a prescription.

A number of factors influence how long the drug remains in the blood, urine and saliva. Adderall remains in the body for longer periods of time than does LSD, but it is cleared from the system faster than opioids.

Adderall Can Be Detected in the Blood, Urine and Saliva

Adderall has a short half-life, which is the time it takes for half the dose of a drug to be eliminated from the body. Dextroamphetamine, the primary ingredient in Adderall, has an average half-life of 10 hours in adults, 11 hours in teens aged 13 to 17 who weigh less than 166 pounds and 9 hours in children aged six to 12.

Amphetamine, another ingredient in Adderall, can be detected in urine for one to two days after last use. In a 2003 study where patients received a 20 milligram dose of Adderall, amphetamine was detected in the urine at least 47 hours later.

On average, Adderall can be detected in urine for about two to four days after last use.

Adderall can also be detected in the blood. According to a report by the Food and Drug Administration, an immediate-release tablet of Adderall produces peak plasma concentrations about three hours after last use.

A 2009 study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry showed that 20 milligrams of Adderall XR, an extended-release capsule, can produce a maximum plasma concentration about six hours after ingestion.

Adderall can be traced using a saliva drug test about five to 10 minutes after last use, and it remains in saliva for up to 72 hours.

Factors That Affect Drug Duration

A number of factors influence the length of time Adderall remains in your body. These factors include a person’s physiological makeup, frequency of use and stress levels. The amount of the medication taken and the time of usage also affect the detection window.

Physiological Makeup

A person’s physical health greatly affects the length of time Adderall stays in the body. Physiological makeup includes height, weight, age, percentage of body fat, fitness habits and overall health. Adderall is eliminated from the body of someone in good health more quickly than in a person in poor health.

Stress Levels

Mood can also influence how long Adderall remains in the system. For example, someone who is struggling with anxiety will likely absorb the drug at a slower rate than a person who is not dealing with stress.

Frequency of Use

Adderall remains in the body longer among people who take the medication several times per week when compared with individuals who use the drug once a week. People addicted to Adderall may use the drug much more frequently than others.


The higher the dosage, the longer the drug stays in the body. Additionally, extended-release versions of the drug can be traced in the body for lengthier periods of time than immediate-release formulations.

Effects of Adderall XR Can Last 12 Hours

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant. When used properly, the medication can alter chemicals and nerves in the brain that influence impulse control and hyperactivity, two factors associated with ADHD. It also can produce euphoric effects, which has led to misuse in recent years.

However, the drug can cause or exacerbate psychosis, a serious mental health disorder that impairs a person’s reality. Those with a history of mental illness, such as depression or bipolar disorder, are at increased risk of developing psychosis.

The therapeutic effects of an immediate-release tablet of Adderall begin 45 to 60 minutes after use, with peak effects occurring two to three hours after ingestion. In total, the effects of Adderall can last four to six hours.

Adderall XR capsules, an extended-release formulation, dissolve more slowly in the body. The effects of this medication can last up to 12 hours, and the peak effects take place four to seven hours after use.

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