Adderall Side Effects in Men

Adderall side effects, men

Verywell / Cindy Chung

Adderall is a stimulant medication used to treat ADHD. However, it can have side effects, including erectile dysfunction in some men. Adderall acts on the central nervous system and increases the amount of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, in the brain. This results in increased attention and focus and a reduction in hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.

Adderall contains dextroamphetamine and amphetamine and is available in a short-acting formula, which lasts approximately four hours, and in an extended release formula (Adderall XR), which lasts between 10 to 12 hours. It was approved to treat ADHD in 1996 by the FDA and can be prescribed to people who are 6 years and older.

Side Effects in Men

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a potential side effect for men taking Adderall. Some men report a decreased interest in sex and difficulty getting and keeping an erection. This change in sex drive or sexual performance can cause distress and embarrassment.

One of the effects of Adderall is constriction of certain blood vessels in the body, and these changes may impact the penis. Typically, once the effects of the medication have worn away, sexual desire and performance return to what is normal for you.

While some men report that Adderall negatively affects their sex life, other men experience the opposite. They find it increases their sex drive and do not experience ED. This varies from person to person. In fact, stimulants like Adderall are sometimes used to treat the sexual side effects that may accompany certain antidepressant medications.

Other side effects of Adderall can include nervousness, dizziness, headaches, problems with sleep, dry mouth, vision problems, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, and an increase in both blood pressure and heart rate.

What to Do About Adderall Side Effects

Although you might feel shy or embarrassed to speak to your doctor, it is important to tell them about any erectile dysfunction you are experiencing. Doctors understand that it is a potential side effect of Adderall and will want to help you to resolve the problem. Your doctor may suggest one of the following solutions.

Planning Ahead

Some men do not take their usual dose of Adderall if they know they are going to be having sex. Or they can wait until the medication is out of their system before having sex.

Lower Dose

Taking a lower dosage of Adderall might still be helpful in reducing ADHD symptoms while not resulting in erectile dysfunction.

Medication Change

As with all medications, there is a balance between treating a condition and managing the side effects. There are two types of stimulant medication available to treat ADHD, the amphetamine family (Adderall) and methylphenidate (e.g. Ritalin). If one stimulant family causes side effects that cannot be tolerated, the prescribing physician will often suggest trying the other type.

Each group of drugs affects an individual differently. The only way to know how you will respond to a medication is through trial and error. There are also non-stimulant medication options for ADHD.

Time to Adjust

Some men experience ED when they first start taking Adderall. Then, as their body adjusts to the new medication over the course of several weeks, the problems subside. Because each human body responds to medication slightly differently, it is not possible to know in advance how the medication will affect you.


Erectile dysfunction can be a result of many factors, including psychological factors like stress and anxiety. If a person tried to have sex while Adderall was still in effect and experienced ED, the memory of this can cause performance anxiety in the future.

Taking a sidenafil (Viagra) tablet helps to get and maintain an erection, which helps to counteract the side effects of Adderall. You might feel that Viagra or a similar medication is for older people. However, many young males take it to help with ED.

Even at times when Adderall is not in their body, having a prescription of Viagra has a psychological advantage as well as a physical one. Knowing that you have Viagra in your medicine cabinet just in case you need it gives you a psychological boost. With time, you will feel more confident as you get to know your body and how it responds to Adderall.

Natural Treatments

There are some natural treatments for ED that might help. While products such as supplements and vitamins can sound like a great solution, be cautious. Natural does not automatically mean safe. These options can interact with prescription medication you are taking. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking supplements or vitamins.

Do Not Stop Adderall Abruptly

If you are experiencing ED and think it is due to Adderall, you might be tempted to stop taking your medication. However, it is important to discuss this with your physician first, as unpleasant physical and psychiatric symptoms can accompany stimulant withdrawal.

Other Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Even if you think Adderall is the cause of ED, it is still important to tell your doctor about it. There could be other reasons for erectile issues that require treatment.

Health Conditions

Sometimes ED can be a sign of an underlying health problem, such as diabetes or heart disease, hormone problems, or a neurological disease. Or it may reflect other psychiatric issues, such as depression.


There are many medications that are known to cause ED. These include medications used to treat conditions that frequently coexist with ADHD. For example, SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Paxil (Paroxetine), used to treat depression and anxiety, and certain antihypertensive drugs sometimes use to treat aspects of ADHD can also contribute to erectile issues.

Lifestyle Factors

Consuming high levels of alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, and cocaine can result in ED. Lack of exercise, sleep, and stress could be contributing factors too. This is good news, because these are factors that you are in control of. By making changes to your lifestyle, you can become physically healthier and improve erectile problems.

A Word From Verywell

Having problems with ED can be stressful and cause anxiousness, depression, and lowered self-esteem. Remember, ED is not a reflection on your character. It just means there is a problem that needs to be solved.

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3 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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