Why Using Adderall for Weight Loss Can Be Dangerous

Tamsen Butler
Reviewed by Terri Forehand RN
Prescription drugs for weight loss

Weight loss is one of the possible side effects of taking prescription Adderall, a drug typically prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy in both children and adults. The drug suppresses appetite and speeds up metabolism, both of which can promote weight loss.

An Effective ADHD Drug

Adderall is an effective drug for its intended uses of treating ADHD and narcolepsy and provides relief to people with these conditions. These users may notice weight loss as an incidental side effect of taking Adderall; this can be a result of the decreased appetite, compelling users to eat far less since they aren't hungry.

Off-Label Use

Since Adderall is effective for weight loss, some doctors have started prescribing it as an off-label weight loss medication, meaning this purpose isn't approved by the FDA. Doctors realize that Adderall can help people lose weight so they may provide Adderall prescriptions for patients who do not have ADHD or narcolepsy, yet need some help losing weight.

FDA approval deems a medication's benefits outweigh its drawbacks, so while the FDA says Adderall is approved for usage in ADHD and narcolepsy, it does not approve it for use as a weight loss medication. As such, you are encouraged to seek the advice of a physician for safer, FDA-approved alternatives.

Addictive Potential

Adderall can be highly addictive, making it a potentially dangerous drug. It's important to remember that taking this or any other drug for purposes other than its intended use still results in all the same potential risks. Adderall is an amphetamine. People addicted to Adderall may find themselves having unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including depression, fatigue, and stomach problems.

Lack of Nutrients

People using Adderall may forget to eat because they simply aren't hungry; their bodies don't send them hunger cues. When a person doesn't obtain necessary nutrients, there is a possibility of developing nutritional deficiencies, which can lead to bigger problems. Adderall can actually deplete the body of calcium, which can lead to a loss in bone mass.

Potential Side Effects

In addition to its potentially addictive attributes, Adderall brings with it other troublesome side effects, of which weight loss is only one. The list of potential side effects of Adderall is extensive; not all users experience all of these side effects.

  • Changes in behavior, including demeanor and emotions
  • Nervousness
  • Stomach problems
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Vision changes
  • Worsening of tics

Without Prescription

Physician-monitored use of Adderall for weight loss still brings with it the potential for addiction and the above listed side effects. Using this medication without the supervision of a medical professional, on the other hand, can prove deadly. Adderall is not appropriate for people with heart problems or high blood pressure as it can exacerbate these issues and perhaps even lead to heart failure.

Dosage Concerns

Getting the dosage right is vital in avoiding additional issues. Laypeople without medical training cannot simply guess as to the correct dosage and hope for the best weight loss results. As the weight starts coming off, users may be tempted to increase their dosage for faster results, but overdose is a real possibility with Adderall, particularly when the dosage isn't being monitored by a physician.

Long-Term Effects

Prolonged use of Adderall can bring with it a long list of dangerous side effects. These include irregular heart beat, hypertension, seizures, and tremors. The longer the medication is taken, the higher the chances of developing these conditions. Once the medication is stopped, the weight likely will come right back on but there is no guarantee the other long-term problems will go away.

A Powerful Drug

Adderall is not a drug to be used recreationally or casually; it is a powerful, brain-altering drug and patients must decide whether the benefits are worth the drawbacks. For people with ADHD and narcolepsy, Adderall can improve their quality of life. However, for people who want to lose weight without much effort, Adderall is a potentially dangerous option.

Was this page useful?
Why Using Adderall for Weight Loss Can Be Dangerous