Adderall is a commonly prescribed drug to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and occasionally narcolepsy. Although the drug can be helpful, it has many side effects. Some people with a penis suffer from erectile dysfunction Adderall (ED).
Erectile dysfunction is generally more common in older people, but younger people who take Adderall are more likely than their peers who aren’t taking the drug to have erectile dysfunction. Reduced sexual functioning can have a negative effect on mental health and sexual well-being.
Here’s what you need to know about Adderall’s sexual side effects.
Does Adderall cause erectile dysfunction?
Adderall is the brand name of a drug that combines dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Doctors aren’t sure why the drug combination helps reduce ADHD symptoms, but they do know that the drug causes physical changes in the brain, such as narrowing of blood vessels (vasoconstriction), potential increase in blood pressure and other cardiovascular effects. Cardiovascular disease is a major risk factor for erectile dysfunction.
Changes in a person’s libido or ability to have sex is a widely recognized side effect of Adderall.
Not everyone on Adderall experiences erectile dysfunction. Some people report that taking Adderall increases their libido. Increased libido is a known side effect of other amphetamines, including those used illicitly.
A 2015 study of more than 1,300 men between the ages of 18 and 57 showed that people who used Adderall were more than twice as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction. The study found that 29.3% of Adderall users suffered from erectile dysfunction, compared to 11.9% of people who did not use Adderall.
However, the study was done with people who were using Adderall without a prescription; levels may be lower in people who use the drug as prescribed.
Never take Adderall without a prescription
Adderall has the potential for abuse. It is dangerous to take Adderall without a prescription. The drug may interact with other medications and supplements and may cause sudden and serious heart problems. Adderall should be used only as prescribed under the supervision of a physician.
Other Sexual Side Effects of Adderall
People who suffer from Adderall erectile dysfunction may also experience other sexual side effects, such as decreased interest in sex. Some people find that when they first start taking Adderall, their libido increases, only to drop as they take the drug.
Sexual side effects can also occur in people who take Adderall and do not have a penis. It has been noted that women experience a decrease in libido with Adderall. Some of the other potential side effects, such as headaches, nervousness, and more painful periods, can also lower a person’s libido.
Other common side effects of Adderall that aren’t specifically sexual, such as mood swings, headaches, and constipation, can also make a person less eager to have sex. .
When a person suffers from Adderall erectile dysfunction, it also affects their sexual partners. It is important to discuss with your partners how your medications are contributing to erectile dysfunction. You may want to explore non-penetrative sexual activities together.
Possible causes of erectile dysfunction
There are many causes of erectile dysfunction, both physical and psychological. In addition to Adderall, other causes of ED include:
- Chronic health conditions (eg, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure)
- Smoking and recreational drug or alcohol use
Although some risk factors are not modifiable (like your age), making lifestyle changes could help you manage erectile dysfunction.
Management of erectile dysfunction Adderall
If you suffer from erectile dysfunction while taking Adderall, talk to your doctor. Although you may feel self-conscious about the symptom, it’s important to get help if sex is part of your overall sense of well-being.
Your doctor might tell you that you can reduce your dose of Adderall or consider switching to another medication to manage your symptoms. They might also suggest you try taking a drug that treats erectile dysfunction, such as Viagra or Cialis.
Never stop taking Adderall suddenly. Before reducing or stopping your dose, talk to your doctor.
It’s also important to talk about your ED management with the person you’re having sex with. Keep in mind that penetration isn’t the only sexual activity you can engage in. mutual masturbation can help you maintain an erection longer and ensure that you and your partner are satisfied.
Erectile dysfunction can occur for many reasons, including age, medical conditions, and use of substances or medications, including Adderall.
In addition to being associated with erectile dysfunction in younger people with penises, some of Adderall’s other side effects may contribute to reduced interest in sex.
A word from Verywell
If you suffer from Adderall erectile dysfunction, it is important to communicate openly with your doctor and partners about your symptoms. There are ways to manage the condition and work to restore a healthy sex life.
Never stop taking your Adderall suddenly or reduce your dose without talking to your doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Adderall improve libido?
Some people report that Adderall increases their libido. However, it is more common for Adderall to be associated with decreased sex drive and difficulty getting or maintaining an erection.
You should never take Adderall without a prescription. Take the medicine only as prescribed by your health care provider.
How do ADHD drugs cause erectile dysfunction?
It is not known how ADHD drugs like Adderall work, but what is known is that the drug alters neurotransmitters in the brain and affects the function of the cardiovascular system. Both of these effects can contribute to erectile dysfunction.
How do you get an erection if you are on Adderall?
If you are taking Adderall and you suffer from erectile dysfunction, you may be able to remedy the condition by changing your lifestyle, exploring different sexual activities, or taking medication to treat erectile dysfunction.
What are the other side effects of Adderall in adults?
In addition to erectile dysfunction, people taking Adderall may experience other side effects.
Commonly reported side effects of Adderall include:
- Dry mouth
- Constipation, diarrhea and nausea
- Nervousness or irritability
If you’re taking Adderall and the side effects are interfering with your life, talk to your doctor. You may be able to lower your dose, switch medications, or find strategies to deal with side effects.