Why can’t I lose weight by taking my Adderral? Is there any more like I used to?

How useful is Adderall for weight loss?

“I didn’t recognize you with your new hairstyle.”

Folks often don’t know what to say about my 80-pound weight loss. Even though my hair hasn’t changed that much, just about everything else about the way I look and feel has. The attention feels a little misplaced, however, because what I found was even better than the perfect diet.

Before I had children — and before I was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) — it was quick and painless to lose a few pounds here and there. It wasn’t until I lost the structure of a workday and enjoyed the freedom of pregnancy weight gain that my weight really became a problem. For years I went back and forth — losing 40 pounds on a shake diet or another rigorous plan, and then gaining back even more.

When I finally decided to see a weight loss counselor, two years ago, I told her that my most successful attempt at dieting had been with a combination of drugs known as fen-phen. (I didn’t experience any adverse side effects, but one of the drugs, fenfluramine, was taken off the market in 1997.)

What I remembered more clearly than the seemingly effortless weight loss — I kept 64 pounds off for two years — was the dramatic difference in how I felt. It wasn’t so much the appetite suppression, but the motivation it gave me.

At one point, while taking fen-phen, I remarked to my husband, “This must be what it feels like to be normal.” The counselor researched fen-phen’s composition: The fact that one of the components was a stimulant might mean something, but what?

[Free Guide: What You Need to Know About ADHD Medications]

I learned the reason later that year when my oldest son was diagnosed with ADHD. After perusing his diagnostic report, I sat in bewilderment. I had just read my story.

I made a doctor’s appointment, got diagnosed, and began taking a stimulant. My “Aha! moment” came three days later at the pet store. I was wandering aimlessly around, even though I had already found the bones and new dog collar I needed. All of a sudden, I realized I was just wasting my time. I paid for my purchases and left the store. In my car, I actually said out loud, “Wow, the medicine is working! I really do have ADHD.”

In an earlier attempt at losing weight, I had read The South Beach Diet. As with so many “great discoveries” in my life, I bought all the stuff, made lists, followed it perfectly… and lost interest. Now that I could plan and focus, I decided to apply the basics of what I had learned: I cut sugar, white flour, potatoes, white rice, and almost all alcohol out of my diet. I began eating more nuts, whole grains, and vegetables, and drinking more water.

I also committed to walking every day for 30 days. That was it — all I had to do was start. I carry water in a backpack and listen to my favorite tunes, and I make the six-mile loop around my neighborhood in no time.

Friends often ask me to call them the next time I go for a walk, but I seldom do. I like the time by myself — that’s what makes it work. I do what I want, when I want. More than a year later, I’m still walking — not every day, but several times a week.

Eating well and exercising are pretty dramatic changes for me, but I find I don’t have to work at them. They’re just part of me now. People see and talk about my weight loss, but what they can’t see is how I feel. Do I still procrastinate? Is my office still a mess two days after I clean it up? Am I still me? Of course! The difference is that I’m a happier, more controlled me, from the inside out.

[Read This: The ADHD Exercise Solution]


Updated on September 25, 2019

Short answer: No, Adderall is not «useful» for weight loss, and it is irresponsible and dangerous to use it for weight loss. However, Adderall does cause weight loss in many people. Also, there are other weight loss drugs, see below.

Analogy: Adderall and starvation are similar, they are both not «useful» for weight loss. Cutting off your leg is also not «useful» for weight loss, although it works far more quickly than any diet.

Adderall has a terrible risk-benefit ratio for weight loss, although it will cause most people to lose weight. So you do lose weight, but the drug itself harms you mo…

Serious health warnings

Adderall has a boxed warning, the most serious warning the FDA provides. It states that Adderall has a high risk of dependence, which means that you can become psychologically and physically addicted to it. The warning also advises that Adderall can cause sudden death as well as serious heart problems.

Speed diet: Women using ADD drugs to get thin

I have a niece who started taking Adderral for her ADD and after college she still continues taking it just because she likes how she feels on it. She used to be chubby but now she has no appetite and for this very reason she refuses to get off it.

There’s a saying….ain’t no such thing as a free lunch; sooner or later there’ll be a price to pay for it. When she goes to have a kid, let’s hope the kid is healthy…and let’s hope there aren’t any long-term consequences for staying on this drug indefinitely.

I say, drink your green tea and maybe catch some caffiene buzz to mellow the appetite…but b…

Originally Answered: Is anyone here on adderall {amp}amp; losing weight?

I did with the xr. I’m on the tablet right now, and don’t like it because of the crash . But yes, I could not force food down my throat, it was very difficult. On top of that, I’m a dancer, so with the constant cardio , I feel like I lost more than just being on the xr alone. I would not take it the day before my one day off, so I was able to force some food down. I googled what types of food are best to eat when you’re taking adderall. I mean everyone is different and you should really talk about this stuff with your doctor. There is a website called crazymeds.com, where you can read other…(more)

On the patio of the Sunset Tower Hotel overlooking the Hollywood Hills, on the kind of sun-blinded afternoon Raymond Chandler made famous, Amanda F.* and I are eating. Well, one of us is eating. And it’s not Amanda. «I took my Adderall about an hour before I got here,» says the television producer as she picks at her crab salad. «If I hadn’t taken it, I would have inhaled the table

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Amanda has been diagnosed with adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD), for which Adderall, an amphetamine that paradoxically allows ADD patients to slow down and concentrate, is an accepted treatment. But for her there’s a notable and seductive side effect: For a body that has fluctuated between a size 14 and a size 2, Adderall — along with yoga and chain-smoking — has helped her maintain a size 6.

«I can see you have a healthy attitude toward food,» Amanda says, stopping me as my fork hovers midway between plate and mouth. My pants feel curiously tight. «But let me ask you this: If you could take a drug that has almost no noticeable side effects and lose all the weight you want, wouldn’t you do it? That’s what Adderall’s like for me. And for a lot of women. It’s a godsend.»

And apparently God, or at least the local pharmacy, is sending it out to the weight-obsessed in the entertainment industry, where the difference between a size 4 and a size 8 may mean a difference between working and not.

«When a high-profile celeb suddenly drops a lot of weight, the rumors start that she’s on A,» notes Kym Douglas, who co-wrote “The Black Book of Hollywood Diet Secrets» (Plume). «It isn’t a secret among people like the top stylists and makeup artists who work with celebrities.» Indeed, several wispy young starlets have been rumored to have prescriptions for the drug.

Abusing Adderall

Since 2002, the number of prescriptions for all amphetamine-based drugs used to treat ADD — including Concerta and Strattera — have skyrocketed. Sales for Adderall XR (extended release) have more than doubled in the past five years, from 4.2 million in 2002 to 9.5 million in 2007, according to IMS Health, a health-care information company. And online, Adderall ranks right up there with Viagra in most-hawked pharmaceuticals on the Internet; indeed, type in the words «Adderall abuse» and you’re likely to be directed to a site that sells the stuff.

Just why Adderall helps people with ADD is a little unclear. But scientists believe that sufferers have some imbalance of three chemicals in the brain dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin — and that Adderall helps by inhibiting the reuptake of these chemicals so they remain in the synapses longer, says Paul Thompson, professor of neurology and director of a neuroimaging lab at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. For the most part, Adderall is used exactly the way it is prescribed — to increase concentration among those with ADD. But there is a tempting yet dangerous side effect to all stimulants: They stimulate the dopamine — or pleasure — center of the brain, which causes a feeling of euphoria and a loss of appetite. So it’s no great surprise that the young and beautiful, many of whom have grown up bumming their friends’ Adderall to increase their mental edge at exam time, do not necessarily want to give it up when studying is no longer the issue.

Alex Geana is a 29-year-old New Yorker transplanted from L.A. and the author of an upcoming book on pill-popping culture called «Side Step Me» (BookSurge). When he was growing up in the suburban L.A. area, Adderall «was just part of the mix,» he says. «Kids got it for their schoolwork, but a lot of the girls were doing it to be pretty. I remember one of my friends was always like, ‘I can clean my room and really concentrate … and I don’t want to eat.'»

Charles Sophy is not at all surprised by the prevalence of Adderall use for weight loss. In addition to being the medical director for the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services, Sophy is a psychiatrist with many celebrity clients. «I’ve had several young patients come in looking for Adderall prescriptions,» he says. Some, he says, are using it for weight loss, while claiming they need it for their ADD. «These slim girls come in saying, ‘I need medication, and it has to be Adderall.’ And I’ll say, ‘Why not Strattera?'» Sophy continues. «Well, that’s the game. A drug like Strattera [which is also used to treat ADD] won’t give them the high and won’t give them the appetite suppression. So they’ll have all these reasons why they need Adderall and only Adderall.»

Doled out like candy
Tamara*, a junior editor at a magazine in L.A., knows how the game is played. She will take Adderall because it makes her feel «intensely creative,» she says. «I can sit down at my computer and just write, write, write when I’m on it.» But in her college days, she relied on it for weight management too. «Everyone told me I looked sickly, but sitting down and not having stomach rolls never gets old,» she explains. She is already svelte, but if she gained a few pounds, «I’d definitely use Adderall right before a bikini vacation.» Not having a prescription is a nonissue. «I have friends who have the script and dole it out like candy. It’s insane,» she says. «Some sell them for $5 to $10 a pill. But mostly I get them for free. I don’t know how many pills their doctors give them on a monthly basis, but I’ve always been surprised at the generosity.»

In young working women, the drug may not initially be used for weight loss; more often, it’s for the lift of getting through a stressful, busy life. «I have this one friend with this hugely busy career, kids, husband,» says Amanda. «She’s asked for my Adderall a few times just to make it through the day.» But then the friend — and countless other women — discover its effect on the appetite. The Neil George Salon in Beverly Hills is popular among young starlets, and co-owner Neil Weisberg hears his share of how-I-dropped-the-pounds chatter. One client who started taking Adderall for ADD became so obsessed with her weight loss that she kept increasing the dose and eventually graduated to street speed … more, and more, and more. «It wasn’t good,» Weisberg says. The latest buzz on Adderall is about cheating the time-release delivery system of the XR capsules by grinding and snorting their contents, or parachuting — wrapping a crushed pill in toilet paper and eating it to avoid the nasty taste. The result? A bigger rush and maximum appetite suppression.

Indeed, the weight-loss effects of Adderall have not been lost on some physicians. Fuad Ziai, a pediatric endocrinologist in Oak Lawn, Illinois, made headlines last year when CNN reported that he had prescribed Adderall to hundreds of obese kids; reportedly, 90 percent of his patients lost weight. His rationale? The risk of side effects — headaches, irritability, mood swings, and increased heart rate — was far smaller than the risk of diabetes to the overweight-kid population. The report neglected to mention a detail that might have been used to bolster Ziai’s treatment: The formulation now known as Adderall was originally marketed as the weight-loss drug Obetrol. (In a statement to Allure from Shire Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Adderall XR, Matt Cabrey, the company’s director of corporate communications, noted that a physician can prescribe Adderall «off-label» — i.e., in whatever way he sees fit — but that a pharmaceutical company cannot promote it for anything other than what the FDA approved it for. Says Cabrey, «Shire does not support the abuse, misuse, or diversion of any prescription medicine and Shire does not promote the use of ADHD medicines for any purpose other than the approved indication as an ADHD treatment.»)

Addiction to amphetamines

Adderall is more famously related to crystal meth — both are amphetamines, though with different molecular structures. Where meth can cause brain damage, «Adderall would have to be taken in a very high dose to kill brain cells,» says Thompson, who has mapped the effects of methamphetamine on the brain. «Note that the daily dose of Adderall is available in 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-, or 30-milligram doses, and our meth addicts, who lost 1 percent of their brain tissue per year, were taking about 100 times that, or around 3,000 milligrams a day. Of course, people who are taking Adderall for weight loss are probably taking it in higher dosages than they need, which increases the likelihood of addiction.»

And therein lies the problem. Amphetamines have a way of creeping up on you. «Young people don’t realize that medications like Adderall can be harmful if not prescribed for the appropriate condition,» says Sophy. When taken at higher than prescribed dosage, Adderall can be psychologically and physically addictive, and some long-term users need to take increasing amounts to get the same appetite suppression, says Thompson. There are also a number of undesirable side effects: dry mouth, headaches, «fast heartbeat,» «trouble sleeping.» Many users turn to other drugs, like sleeping pills, Thompson says, to counteract Adderall’s stimulant effect.

And then there was the incidence of sudden death. In 2005 Health Canada (the equivalent of our Food and Drug Administration) suspended the sale of Adderall XR after a manufacturer’s review submitted to the agency found 20 sudden and heart-related deaths and strokes in adults and children taking prescribed doses since the introduction of Adderall in 1994. (In a statement to Allure, Matt Cabrey, a Shire Pharmaceuticals representative, noted, «Just because a person has an adverse event while taking a medicine, it does not mean the medicine caused the event.») The drug was reinstated later in the year — with much harsher warning labels than we have in the U.S., plus letters to all prescribing doctors informing them of the risks associated with the use of Adderall XR.

Finally, consider this reason for not abusing Adderall: the rebound effect. «If you don’t keep taking it,» says Amanda, who occasionally runs out of her pills before she can revisit her doctor, «your appetite returns, your motivation is nothing, you’re really tired.» Moreover, as tolerance for Adderall builds, «there is a concern that those who abuse the drug may need to take more just to maintain their new, lower weight,» according to Thompson.

Still, I can’t help wondering: If she didn’t have the ADD that, in the past, had kept her from holding a job for more than six months when she was unmedicated, would she still take A to keep her weight under control?

Amanda ponders for a moment, then smiles. «Well,» she says, «this is Hollywood.»

Copyright © 2012 CondéNet. All rights reserved.

I have taken Ritalin off and on for the last 6 years (off during pregnancy/breastfeeding). I did not experience a weight loss with it. In fact, in 2017 I was diagnosed with a rare gastric condition in which my stomach doesn’t empty properly. Prior to diagnosis, I lost WAY more weight than I had to lose and was scary thin. My health has improved and while my condition isn’t curable, I have managed to put weight back on and am now at a healthy weight for my body type, despite still being on a very high dose of Ritalin.

In trying to find a dose that worked for me, my psychiatrist asked me to gi…

Adderall is a somewhat controversial prescription drug that’s classified as a stimulant, meaning it stimulates the activity of the brain and central nervous system. It affects certain neurotransmitters in the brain including dopamine and norepinephrine and speeds up processes in the body.

It’s prescribed as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as well as narcolepsy. In people with ADHD, it can be helpful to improve concentration, focus, and behavioral control, but it’s not without side effects.

Even when used as prescribed Adderall can cause appetite loss, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, headaches, nausea, spikes in blood pressure and changes in heart rate.

It can in rare cases be deadly, which is why people should only use it with a prescription. There is Adderall extended release, and immediate release and the drug comes in varying incrementally increasing doses, so a physician will usually start with the smallest effective dose to minimize side effects and go up from there if necessary in a patient.

While Adderall can have therapeutic benefits for some people, it’s also frequently abused for a few different reasons.

First, when it’s taken, particularly at high doses, it can create a sense of euphoria and self-confidence. There are people who find the feelings they get when they take Adderall pleasurable. It can also help people study or work for long periods of time, which is why it’s so commonly abused by college students and even young professionals.

Adderall is also often used as a tool to lose weight. There’s a reason for this, and it’s because Adderall affects the brain’s dopamine system, which plays a role in things like hunger as well.

Adderall to lose weight is something that’s become all-too-common, but it can be risky and ineffective. If you’re using Adderall to lose weight, it’s important to be cognizant of the risks. It’s not only dangerous but also illegal to use Adderall without a prescription.
Along with the physical side effects like increased heart rate and blood pressure, Adderall is a drug that is addictive, and you can also become physically dependent on it.

Ultimately it’s just not worth it to use Adderall to lose weight.

It is due to the weight.

So everyone’s body chemistry is different. I’m a big boy myself and I take the maximum dose of 60 milligrams of XR, per day.

Kids are he’ll need to go there too. But I’d have him start out by asking the doctor for 2×20 milligrams per day and see if that works better before going up larger. The lowest dose that is effective is best, because you can only increase it to a certain amount.

Also, tell your friend to take regular T breaks, or tolerance breaks. If you can take the weekends off even better. It helps to decrease the bodies tolerance to the drug so it remains mor…

Rather than looking to drugs for help with weight loss, try a healthier, more reliable approach. Combining dietary changes with increased activity can move you toward your weight loss goal in a more lasting, less risky way. The best way to start is to talk to your doctor. They can assess your current health and help you develop a plan for losing weight.

Key steps for dropping pounds include setting reasonable goals, managing portion sizes, increasing the fiber in your diet, and moving more in your daily life. For more suggestions, check out these strategies for healthy weight loss.

Healthline Medical TeamAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

What else can I try to lose weight?

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