The question of how long does Adderall stay in your system does not have one easy answer. It depends on many factors related to dosage amounts and frequency, a person’s physical type and history, and the type of testing done.
Adderall is a drug classified in the amphetamine family that stimulates the central nervous system. Physicians commonly prescribe Adderall for patients with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The individuals often have trouble staying focused and paying attention to one task. Adderall, which is taken in pill form, helps a person feel calmer and more focused.
Adderall also helps people who suffer from narcolepsy, which is a sleeping disorder. People with narcolepsy fall into unexpected bouts of sleep. When taken at the proper dosage, Adderall can help patients focus on their goals and have the proper amount of energy they need.
How does Adderall work?
Adderall comes in two forms: an immediate-release oral tablet (regular Adderall) and an extended-release oral tablet (Adderall XR). Whereas immediate-release Adderall may need to be taken multiple times per day, extended-release Adderall can be taken once daily with effects that last all day. These different versions can stay in your system for varying amounts of time.
Adderall contains a mixture of dextroamphetamine (d-amphetamine) and levoamphetamine (l-amphetamine). Dextroamphetamine has more potent stimulant effects than levoamphetamine. In fact, dextroamphetamine itself is sold under the brand names Dexedrine and ProCentra. However, drugs like Adderall and Dexedrine may have slightly different effects for some people.
That said, the exact way in which Adderall works is unknown. It is believed to act in the central nervous system and increase the availability of certain neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine and dopamine, in the brain. Low levels of these neurotransmitters can make it difficult for people to concentrate or focus on daily activities.
How long does Adderall stay in your system?
The overall half-life of Adderall ranges from 9 to 14 hours. Half-life, or elimination half-life, refers to the amount of time it takes for half the amount of a drug to be eliminated from the body. The average half-life of dextroamphetamine (10 hours) is shorter than that of levoamphetamine (13 to 14 hours). So understanding how Adderall’s half-life works, how long does Adderall stay in your system?
Let’s look at an example. If Adderall has a maximum half-life of 14 hours, then after every 14 hours, the amount of Adderall in the body is halved. Based on a 14-hour half-life, how long does 20mg of Adderall last? If you were to take a single 20 mg dose of Adderall at 10am, then 10 mg of Adderall would remain in your body at midnight. At 2pm the next day, 5 mg of Adderall would remain in your body. After approximately five of these half-life cycles, the drug would be considered completely cleared from your system. It can take around three days for Adderall to be eliminated from your body, although the effects can wear off much sooner.
However, it’s important to understand that half-life estimates are only estimates. Everyone reacts differently and metabolizes at various paces. Some people metabolize differently depending on the enzymes in their body, so half-lives of medication can vary. When determining how long Adderall could stay in your system, keep in mind that you can only estimate the half-life.
This might leave you wondering, does Adderall build up in your system? The answer is yes, depending on the frequency and dose a person takes. A person taking Adderall regularly will take longer to clear it out of their system than someone who takes it infrequently.
There is no concrete answer for how long Adderall stays in your system, and various factors (such as body weight, age, and other drugs being taken) can have an impact.
The half-life of Adderall is anywhere from 9 to 14 hours, while the effects may be felt for up to 6 hours with immediate-release Adderall and up to 12 hours with extended-release Adderall. Depending on the screening test performed, Adderall can usually be detected up to 2 to 3 days after the last dose was taken.