Adderall Side Effects in Men

Erectile dysfunction is a risk

Adderall side effects, men

Verywell / Cindy Chung

Adderall is a medication that can be prescribed to treat symptoms of ADHD in both children and adults. It can be helpful and effective, but it may also cause side effects. Adderall side effects in men may include erectile dysfunction and decreased libido.

This article discusses what Adderall is, some of the side effects that you might experience, and strategies that can help you cope with some of these side effects.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a stimulant medication used to treat ADHD. However, it can have side effects, including erectile dysfunction in some people.

Adderall acts on the central nervous system and increases the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. 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.

Recap

Adderall is a type of stimulant medication that is often used to treat ADHD. It can be effective for relieving symptoms, but it can also have some side effects including erectile dysfunction. 

ED and Other Side Effects of Adderall

Sexual side effects may occur in some individuals. Adderall can affect blood vessels in the body, which may affect sexual desire and performance.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a potential side effect for people who are taking Adderall. Some people 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 the 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 people experience the opposite. They find it increases their sex drive and they do not experience ED. This varies from person to person. Stimulants like Adderall are sometimes used to treat the sexual side effects that may accompany certain antidepressant medications.

Other Side Effects

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.

Recap

Erectile dysfunction and changes in sex drive and performance can occur while taking Adderall. Not everyone will experience this side effect, however. Other side effects may also occur including headaches, changes in sleep, and changes in appetite.

What to Do About Adderall Side Effects

Although you might feel shy or embarrassed, it is important to tell a healthcare provider about erectile dysfunction or other side effects that you are experiencing. Doctors understand that ED and other issues are potential side effects of Adderall and will want to help you to resolve the problem. Your doctor may suggest one of the following solutions.

Allow Time to Adjust

Some people experience ED and other side effects 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.

Planning Ahead

Some people 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 or other side effects. You should always talk to your doctor before you adjust your medication dosage.

Change ADHD Medications

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.

It may also not be your ADHD medication that is causing ED; other medications are also 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 used to treat aspects of ADHD can also contribute to erectile issues.

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.

Make Lifestyle Changes

Consuming high levels of certain substances such as alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, and cocaine can also cause 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.

Sometimes making lifestyle adjustments can help you cope with some of the unwanted side effects of your medications. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough physical activity, and getting plenty of rest may be helpful.

Treat ED with Medication

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 Viagra (sidenafil) 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 people take it to help with ED.

Even at times when Adderall is not in the 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 can give 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 ED 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.

Recap

If you experience ED while taking Adderall, give yourself a few weeks to adjust to your medication and find ways to plan sexual activity around your medication schedule. If the problem persists, your doctor may recommend making changes to your medication or may prescribe a medication to treat ED.

A Word From Verywell

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. 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.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long do Adderall side effects last?

    Side effects usually go away after taking Adderall for a week or two. Allow your body time to adjust to the medication, but be sure to tell your doctor if your side effects persist, if they are severe, or if you experience serious side effects such as abnormal heart rhythm, psychosis, hallucinations, allergic reaction, or seizures.

  • What are the emotional side effects of Adderall?

    In some cases, Adderall can cause side effects such as anxiety, irritability, or changes in mood. Serious mental side effects such as depression, hallucinations, aggressive behavior, and delusional thinking can also sometimes occur. You should contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of these serious side effects.

  • Why does Adderall cause erectile dysfunction?

    Adderall can cause a narrowing of the blood vessels in certain areas of the body. This can increase blood pressure and have other cardiovascular effects, but it can also affect blood flow to the penis, making it more difficult to experience an erection when sexually aroused.

  • Do other ADHD drugs cause erectile dysfunction?

    Other types of ADHD medications can also cause erectile dysfunction. Antidepressants are also sometimes used to treat symptoms of ADHD, and some of these medications can cause changes in libido and sexual performance.

    If you experience erectile dysfunction while taking an ADHD medication, your doctor may recommend switching to a different type of medication, such as a different stimulant or a non-stimulant medication.

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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  2. Bourgeois FT, Kim JM, Mandl KD. Premarket safety and efficacy studies for ADHD medications in children. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(7):e102249. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102249

  3. Joseph AA, Reddy A. Excessive masturbation association with mixed amphetamine salts. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2017;27(3):291-292. doi:10.1089/cap.2016.0130

By Jacqueline Sinfield
Jacqueline Sinfield is an ADHD coach, and the author of "Untapped Brilliance, How to Reach Your Full Potential As An Adult With ADHD."