What to Know About Adderall Tongue

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Adderall can be a lifesaver for people who have ADHD, but sometimes it can have uncomfortable side effects. In some individuals, Adderall can cause side effects in the mouth and tongue. Often referred to as “Adderall tongue,” symptoms may include dry mouth, swelling, and tongue sores.

Let’s take a look at what Adderall tongue is, what symptoms may look like, what potential causes are, and how it can be treated.

What Is Adderall Tongue?

At this time, Adderall tongue is not a recognized disorder, but more of description of a constellation of symptoms that people who take Adderall frequently report. Here’s what to know about Adderall in general, what symptoms and side effects people often experience, and what may be causing these.

What Is Adderall?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common behavioral disorder affecting 3% to 10% of kids and teens, and about 2.5% of adults. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention, difficulty concentrating, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Most people who have ADHD use medications to manage their symptoms, and these medications are generally quite effective.

Adderall is one of several stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD. It’s made up of two components: dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, and works by changing the way neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin affect your brain. Adderall’s generic name is dextroamphetamine-amphetamine.

Symptoms of Adderall Tongue

Most descriptions of Adderall tongue are anecdotal, as there haven’t been any studies done specifically looking at this phenomenon. Each person seems to experience these side effects a little differently, and with varying degrees of severity. Here’s what many people describe:

  • A sore tongue
  • A dry tongue and dry mouth
  • A raw feeling on the tongue
  • A swelling of the tongue and mouth
  • Ulcers or sores on the tongue

Causes of Adderall Tongue

There are two potential main causes of Adderall tongue: common medication side effects, and allergic reactions to the medication.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a common side effect of Adderall and other stimulant medications. In fact, it’s considered one of the most common side effects of taking Adderall. Other common side effects of taking Adderall may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Losing weight
  • Insomnia
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Abdominal upset

When you are experiencing dry mouth as a result of a medication you are taking, such as Adderall, experiencing dryness in your mouth and on your tongue isn’t the only symptom. Dry mouth is caused by a decrease in saliva production and comes with other side effects, including:

  • Bad breath
  • Heightened thirst
  • Sore throat
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Sores on the tongue, lips, and mouth
  • Pain on the tongue, lips, and mouth
  • Trouble with taste

Allergic Reactions

Though rare, allergic reactions to Adderall can happen, and one of the most common symptoms of an allergic reaction to Adderall is a swollen tongue. Other potential signs of an Adderall allergic reaction include:

  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Swelling of the face (lips, mouth, throat and the areas around the eyes)
  • Anaphylaxis, which can include labored breathing, dizziness, nausea, disorientation, rapid pulse, vomiting

If you are experiencing any signs of an allergic reaction, you should call your healthcare provider right away and stop taking your medication. If you are experiencing any signs of anaphylaxis, please call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room.

How Is Adderall Tongue Treated?

If you are experiencing allergy symptoms—including swelling of the tongue, lips, mouth, and face—while taking Adderall, you may need to stop taking the medication and consider a different ADHD medication. You should discuss allergy symptoms with your healthcare provider, and what the best course of action is.

Again, if you are having a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which may include trouble breathing, rapid pulse, disorientation, and vomiting, don’t wait to speak to your healthcare provider. Stop taking the medication, and contact emergency services promptly.

Adderall tongue symptoms related to common medication side effects may be able to be managed with a combination of methods. The first course of action is to contact your healthcare provider. They may be able to tweak your dosage or give you other tips for managing your symptoms. If you have just started taking Adderall, you may find that your Adderall tongue symptoms decrease as your body adjusts to the medication.

Dry mouth and related symptoms to dry mouth (bad breath, sore throat, sores, and pain on the tongue) may be able to be managed with some at-home remedies, such as:

  • Making sure to stay hydrated and sipping water throughout the day
  • Using a humidifier to bring moist air into your home
  • Sucking on candies/lozenges or chewing gum, which can increase saliva production
  • Decreasing caffeine or alcohol use
  • Using mouthwash
  • Trying a nasal wash or oral spray

Can Adderall Tongue Be Prevented?

Sometimes the symptoms of Adderall tongue can be prevented by adopting treatment methods such as staying hydrated, sucking on candy or gum, or any method recommended by your healthcare provider. These methods may need to be utilized for the entire time you are taking Adderall, to keep your symptoms at bay, but some people may find that their dry mouth symptoms resolve with time.

Any Adderall tongue symptoms caused by allergic reactions usually mean that you can no longer use Adderall to treat your ADHD, and will need to switch to a different medication. Other medications used to treat ADHD include:

  • Concerta
  • Daytrana
  • Focalin
  • Metadate
  • Methylin
  • Ritalin

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Adderall tongue painful?

    Everyone experiences Adderall tongue a little differently. For some, it’s experienced more as a dry feeling on the tongue and in the mouth. For others, pain may be involved, including swelling of the tongue, tenderness, and pain caused by sores and ulcers.

  • How long does Adderall tongue last?

    Side effects from Adderall like dry mouth may resolve a few weeks after starting the medication, as your body adjusts. However, some people may experience Adderall tongue for the entire time they are using Adderall, to varying degrees.  

  • Is Adderall tongue contagious?

    No, Adderall tongue isn’t contagious, because it’s either caused by an allergic reaction to the medication or is a side effect of the medication. Still, some viruses and bacterial infections may have similar symptoms to Adderall tongue, which is why you should make sure to share your symptoms with your healthcare provider.

A Word From Verywell

It can be distressing when you notice side effects like Adderall tongue. But there is a path forward and a way to manage both your symptoms and your ADHD. Please get in touch with your healthcare provider to discuss options, including symptom management and alternative medications.

12 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. Weyandt LL, White TL, Gudmundsdottir BG, et al. Neurocognitive, Autonomic, and Mood Effects of Adderall: A Pilot Study of Healthy College Students. Pharmacy (Basel). 2018;6(3):58. doi:10.3390/pharmacy6030058

  3. Song P, Zha M, Yang Q, et al. The prevalence of adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A global systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Global Health. 2021;11:04009. doi:10.7189/jogh.11.04009

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Treatment of ADHD.

  5. National Library of Medicine. ADDERALL- dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate tablet.

  6. Cleveland Clinic. Dry Mouth (Xerostomia).

  7. National Library of Medicine. ADDERALL- dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate tablet.

  8. Cleveland Clinic. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Stimulant Therapy.

  9. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Dry Mouth Remedies: 14 to Try.

  10. Cleveland Clinic. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Stimulant Therapy.

  11. Cleveland Clinic. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Stimulant Therapy.

  12. National Library of Medicine. Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine.

By Wendy Wisner
Wendy Wisner is a health and parenting writer, lactation consultant (IBCLC), and mom to two awesome sons.