How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

Person holding an orange and white adderall pill

Adderall is a prescription stimulant commonly used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall is composed of two drugs, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, and works by stimulating the central nervous system. Adderall misuse is common and can lead to dependence and addiction. It is essential for Adderall users to understand how long the drug stays in your system as well as the numerous factors that impact this timeframe.

Adderall can be detected in:

  • Urine for one to three days
  • Blood for 46 hours
  • Saliva for 24 to 48 hours
  • Hair for 90 days

Duration of Effects of Adderall

How long the effects of Adderall last depends on the formulation used. Standard immediate-release (IR) Adderall takes effect 30-45 minutes after ingestion and remains effective for three to four hours. Adderall XR, an extended-release formulation, begins to work within 30-45 minutes but remains effective for 10-12 hours

The elimination of amphetamines, such as Adderall, is mainly via urine. About 90% of the drug is eliminated three days after taking it.

Adderall Half-Life

A drug’s half-life is the time it takes for half the dose of the drug to be eliminated from the body. The average half-life of Adderall depends on the specific drug form used as well as the age and weight of the person but typically varies from 9 to 14 hours. Generally, children have a shorter Adderall half-life than adolescents or adults.

How Long Will Adderall Show in a Drug Test?

Individuals who use Adderall may wonder if it shows up in drug tests. Adderall drug tests generally rely on the detection of amphetamines. How long Adderall stays in your urine, blood, saliva or hair varies depending on the dose, the duration of use, individual biological factors and the specific lab test used.


Adderall urine detection times can vary depending on the pH of the urine. A urine drug test for Adderall can detect the presence of amphetamine for one to three days.


On average, Adderall blood tests can detect the presence of amphetamine for up to 46 hours.


Saliva drug tests for Adderall can detect amphetamines in oral fluid for 24 to 48 hours.


Adderall hair tests depend on the length of hair. On average, amphetamines such as Adderall can be detected within the hair for 1-2 months, but potentially up to 90 days.

Factors Affecting How Long Adderall Stays in Your System

Several factors impact how long Adderall stays in your system, including:

  • Amount used: The dose of Adderall impacts how long the drug can be detected. The higher the dose, the longer it takes for the body to metabolize and eliminate the drug.
  • Frequency of use: When Adderall is taken regularly over an extended period, it takes longer for the body to metabolize and fully clear the drug.
  • Body composition: Factors like height, weight and body fat percentage impact the metabolism and clearance of Adderall. Smaller individuals, such as children, clear the drug faster than larger individuals.
  • Liver and kidney function: Variations in liver and kidney function affects how long Adderall stays in the body because these organs play essential roles in processing and excreting amphetamines.
  • Forms of drug used: The formulation of Adderall impacts how long the drug stays in the body. Standard immediate-release (IR) Adderall formulations are cleared from the body faster than Adderall XR, an extended-release formulation.

False Positives for Adderall

In some cases, a false positive for Adderall may occur during drug testing. False positives occur when the antibody used in drug tests binds to compounds that are similar to amphetamine. 

Test results may come out positive if an individual has taken certain other drugs, including antihistamines, nasal inhalers, cold medicines or anti-depressants. It is important to discuss the possibility of false-positive results with a healthcare provider.

How Adderall is Broken Down in the Body

The liver metabolizes amphetamines such as Adderall using an enzyme known as CYP2D6. Once broken down in the liver, amphetamines are mainly eliminated from the body in the urine. How fast an amphetamine is removed depends on the pH of the urine. An acidic pH increases excretion of amphetamine.

How to Get Adderall Out of Your System

Adderall users may wonder how to eliminate Adderall their system. Prolonged Adderall use can lead to physical dependence on the drug. When an individual who has developed a dependence stops using Adderall, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms can occur. Medical professionals recommend tapering off Adderall rather than trying to quit cold turkey. 

Tapering, which slowly reduces the dosage over time, reduces potential withdrawal symptoms and side effects. It is essential to seek help from a trained medical professional when attempting an Adderall detox. They will work with you to set up a tapering schedule and closely monitor and treat any potential withdrawal symptoms experienced.

Key Points: How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

  • Depending on the formulation, Adderall takes effect in 30-45 minutes and can remain effective for 10-12 hours.
  • The average half-life of Adderall varies from 9 to 14 hours
  • Adderall can be detected via drug tests in:
    • Urine for one to three days
    • Blood for 46 hours
    • Saliva for 24 to 48 hours
    • Hair for 1-2 months, but potentially up to 90 days
  • Factors like the amount used, frequency of use, body composition, liver and kidney function and the form of the drug used impact how long Adderall stays in your system.
  • False positives for Adderall may occur during drug testing when other medications are taken
  • Medical detox is recommended for Adderall and involves slowly tapering off the drug to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

If you or a loved one live with Adderall addiction, contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield to speak with a representative who can answer your questions and help guide you through the initial steps of getting treatment. You deserve a healthier future. Call today.

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Marin, Stephanie; Doyle, Kelly; Chang, Annie; Concheiro-Guisan, Marta; et al. “One Hundred False-Positive Amphetamine Specimens Characterized by Liquid Chromatography Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry.” Journal of Analytical Toxicology, January, 2016. Accessed August 6, 2019.

Health Encyclopedia. “Amphetamine Screen (Urine).” University of Rochester Medical Center, 2019. Accessed August 6, 2019.

Roberts, Jessica; Cook, Sarah F.; Stockmann, Chris; Rollins, Douglas E.; Wilkins, Diana G.; and Sherwin, Catherine M. T. “A Population Pharmacokinetic Analysis of Dextroamphetamine in the Plasma and Hair of Healthy Adults.” Clinical Drug Investigation, October 2015. Accessed August 16, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.