Article at a Glance:

  • Adderall is a prescription stimulant given to people with ADHD.
  • How long Adderall stays in the body depends on whether an extended-release (XR) or immediate-release (IR) formula was taken.
  • Based on the half-life of Adderall, two or three days are needed to eliminate it from the body. 
  • Adderall is typically detectable in urine for one to five days, in blood for up to 50 hours and in a hair sample for up to three months.

Adderall is prescribed to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It works by increasing dopamine production in the brain and stimulating the nervous system, boosting focus and attention. How long Adderall lasts in someone’s body depends on many factors, but it can stay in your system for days. 

Because Adderall acts as a stimulant, it can create a high and increase feelings of well-being and confidence, making it more likely to be misused as a recreational drug instead of its intended medical purposes. 

Due to the potential for misuse, people are sometimes tested for the presence of Adderall for employment or legal purposes. People who use Adderall as a prescription or recreational drug may wonder how long it will affect them or how long it can be detected during testing.

How Long Does Adderall Stay in the Body?

The length of time Adderall stays in the body depends on whether an extended-release (XR) or immediate-release (IR) formula was taken. After Adderall is taken, its effects begin within 30–60 minutes. These effects peak around three hours for immediate-release formulations and seven hours for extended-release formulations.

The time that a medicine or drug remains in the body is normally calculated using the drug’s half-life, or the amount of time it takes to reduce the amount of the drug in the body by half. Several half-lives are needed to eliminate the drug. 

The half-life of Adderall differs but is typically 10–13 hours, meaning two or three days are needed for Adderall to be eliminated from the body. However, the amount of Adderall may fall below detectable levels in the bloodstream before then.


The most common method used for drug testing is urine samples, and people who use Adderall may ask, “How long does Adderall last in urine?” Adderall is typically only detectable in urine for one to five days.


Blood tests are usually used to test for drugs in legal situations, such as after a car accident, and read positive for the shortest time of all drug testing methods. Adderall is typically detectable in the bloodstream for up to 34 hours after the last dose.


Saliva testing is less common than other testing methods but may be done in some situations. Adderall is typically detectable for up to 24–72 hours in saliva.


Hair drug testing is rarely done but may be used to detect the presence of drugs after the timeframe for other testing methods has passed. A 1.5-inch hair sample will indicate if Adderall has been used in the past 90 days.

Breast Milk

The amount of time Adderall stays in breast milk is unknown. Approximately 2% of the mother’s dose of Adderall is present in breast milk. In several case studies, infant growth and development were not affected by Adderall. However, experts disagree on whether it is safe to use Adderall during pregnancy, and some recommend not to use it at all. Because of the relatively long half-life (10–13 hours), there is no safe “window” to breastfeed while taking Adderall.

Summary of How Long Adderall Stays in Your System

  • Urine — detectable up to five days after last dose 
  • Blood — detectable up to 34 hours after last dose
  • Saliva detectable up to 72 hours after last dose
  • Hair — detectable up to 90 days after last dose
  • Breast milk — unknown duration of detection after the last dose

Factors That Affect How Long Adderall Stays in Your System

Multiple factors can impact how long Adderall stays in your system. For this reason, the amount of time Adderall can be detected in someone’s body can differ from person to person. It is important to know this variability if you or a loved one take Adderall.

Dose and Frequency of Use

The higher the dose of Adderall and the more frequently a person takes the drug, the more likely it will remain in the system for longer. Conversely, lower Adderall doses and more infrequent use may clear the body more quickly.

Individual Metabolism

Genes play an important role in Adderall metabolism. A liver enzyme called CYP2D6 is involved in breaking down Adderall. However, depending on their genes, this enzyme can be more active in some people than others.

Age, Weight and Overall Health

It is unclear if Adderall is metabolized differently in older adults. Since the metabolism of many drugs slows with age, Adderall may accumulate and should be used cautiously in older adults. In children, Adderall’s half-life is about one hour shorter compared to adults. 


Pharmacokinetic studies show that Adderall exposure is approximately 20% higher in women because of differences in weight. When adjusted for weight, gender does not appear to affect absorption.

Hydration and Fluid Intake

Hydration can impact if Adderall is present in your body, especially your urine. Some people may attempt to drink extra fluids to dilute their urine so that Adderall cannot be detected. However, labs can detect when urine is excessively diluted and may ask the person to repeat the test.

Other Medications and Substances

Adderall can have significant drug-drug interactions. Do not take Adderall if you are taking mono-amine inhibitors (MAOIs) because it can increase the amount of Adderall you are exposed to.

Immediate vs. Extended Release and Time in the Body

The length of time Adderall lasts in the body depends on the dose and if it is immediate-release or extended-release. Extended-release Adderall is metabolized by the body at the same rate but is released slowly instead of all at once and therefore lasts longer.

Adderall Instant Release (IR)

Adderall IR is metabolized by the body as soon as it is taken. The effects of immediate-release Adderall typically peak at three hours and last up to four hours.

Adderall Extended Release (XR)

Extended-release Adderall lasts longer because it is slowly released in the body, making it available over a longer time. It does not have the same peak effect as immediate-release Adderall and is present in steady amounts as it is released. The effects of extended-release Adderall typically last about seven hours.

Can Adderall Be Flushed From the System?

No, there is no way to flush Adderall from the system for a drug test or breastfeeding. Adderall is a small, simple molecule that penetrates many different systems of the body. Adderall has a long half-life because it is distributed widely and, therefore, is more time-consuming for the body to metabolize and remove.

Adderall Prescriptions and Drug Tests

The urine drug screen for amphetamines like Adderall has a high potential for false positives. This is because amphetamine is a very simple molecule with a similar foundation to many other drugs. If you get a drug test that yields a false positive, you could be asked to list the drugs and substances you use. Prescribed, valid Adderall use is generally considered okay on a drug test and usually isn’t marked positive.

Adderall and Employment

Employers perform drug testing primarily because Adderall and other substances can affect work performance. Initially, Adderall provides a burst of energy that can make one feel they are performing better at work.

However, Adderall can affect sleep, diet and activity levels over time, negatively impacting performance. Adderall also has a high potential for addiction, which can affect an individual’s livelihood, including work performance.

Risks of Long-Term Adderall Use

Those who take Adderall as directed by a doctor for a legitimate medical reason have little to fear from long-term Adderall use. Studies have shown that taking stimulants like Adderall can continue to benefit people who need the medication for ADHD and that long-term side effects are minimal and mild. This is because, in ADHD, the brain requires the extra boost of Adderall to function normally.

Conversely, those who abuse Adderall and are not taking the medication for a legitimate medical purpose while monitored by a doctor face many risks. These include addiction, cardiovascular issues and mental health concerns.

Addiction and Dependence

Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it carries a high risk of abuse, addiction and dependence. Taking the drug outside of a medical reason can put a person at high risk of these complications, the likelihood of which does not decrease with time.

Cardiovascular Issues

Because stimulants like Adderall “rev up” the central nervous system, they directly impact the blood vessels and heart. Stimulants increase blood pressure and heart rate and can lead to heart rhythm problems. Over time, this can cause major complications like heart attack and stroke.

Mental Health Concerns

Mental health problems, including psychosis, are closely linked to long-term abuse of stimulants like Adderall. This is due to excessive levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain.

Finding Help for Adderall Abuse or Addiction

Adderall is extremely addictive and can be difficult to stop. In many cases, a substance use disorder starts because of a valid prescription that someone starts to misuse. Someone may also obtain Adderall from a friend because they think it will increase their performance at work or school.

It can be difficult to seek treatment for Adderall addiction, but addiction is a harmful disease that requires treatment. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, seek help immediately. 
If you live in Colorado or surrounding states and want to recover from an Adderall addiction, help is available. The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake is 15 minutes from Colorado Springs and only 60 miles from Denver, with several other locations nationwide. Give us a call today to speak with our skilled, compassionate staff, who can help you along your recovery journey.

Editor – Theresa Valenzky
Theresa Valenzky graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts in News/Mass Media Communication and a certificate in psychology. She is passionate about providing genuine information to encourage and guide healing in all aspects of life. Read more
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.