Adderall Tongue: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

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Adderall is a common treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is also sometimes prescribed for narcolepsy. In some individuals taking this prescription drug, side effects can occur in the mouth and tongue. These effects are referred to collectively as 'Adderall tongue.'

Learn more about Adderall, what Adderall tongue is, and the symptoms it can create, such as dry mouth, swelling, and tongue sores. We also discuss what causes these effects and, if you do experience them, how to get rid of Adderall tongue—even ways to prevent it.

Overview of Adderall

Adderall is a stimulant drug made up of two substances: dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It works by changing the way neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin affect the brain.

Adderall is one of many ADHD medications that can be prescribed. Medications are often used to manage ADHD symptoms, and they are generally quite effective for this purpose.

ADHD is a behavioral disorder that affects 3% to 10% of kids and teens and about 2.5% of adults. ADHD symptoms include inattention, difficulty concentrating, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

Adderall is also sometimes prescribed as a treatment for the sleep disorder narcolepsy. Someone with narcolepsy often experiences excessive daytime sleepiness. So, their healthcare provider may prescribe an amphetamine-based stimulant such as Adderall to help treat this symptom.

Important Information About Adderall

Adderall can be habit-forming and should not be taken unless prescribed to you by a healthcare provider. This medication should also be avoided by certain individuals. This includes those who:

  • Have heart disease, severe high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, or glaucoma
  • Have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) within the past 14 days
  • Have a history of drug abuse
  • Experience high levels of anxiety, tenseness, or agitation

What Is Adderall Tongue?

Adderall tongue is not a recognized disorder but more so a group of symptoms that people taking Adderall may experience. Each person seems to experience Adderall tongue a little differently, and with varying degrees of severity.

Most descriptions of Adderall tongue are anecdotal as no studies have specifically looked at this phenomenon. Many people describe it as:

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

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a common side effect of Adderall and other stimulant medications. In fact, it’s considered one of the more common adverse effects associated with taking Adderall.

When you experience dry mouth as a result of a medication you are taking, dryness in your mouth and on your tongue isn’t the only symptom. Dry mouth is caused by a decrease in saliva production and can lead to other issues, including:

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

Causes of Adderall Tongue

There are two main causes of Adderall tongue. One is that you're experiencing a common side effect of this medication. The second is that you're having an allergic reaction.

Adderall Side Effects

As mentioned, adverse effects involving the mouth and tongue can occur when taking Adderall. Other common Adderall side effects may include:

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

Allergic Reaction

It is possible to have an allergic reaction to an ADHD medication—even after taking it for years. If you are allergic to Adderall and take this drug, you may experience a swollen tongue.

Other potential signs of an Adderall allergic reaction can include:

  • Hives, rash, or itchy skin
  • Breathing issues, such as wheezing
  • Swelling of the lips, mouth, throat, and the areas around the eyes
  • Anaphylaxis, which can include labored breathing, dizziness, nausea, disorientation, rapid pulse, vomiting

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

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

Adderall Tongue Treatment and Prevention

How do you get rid of Adderall tongue that occurs as a side effect of this medication as opposed to being an allergic reaction? The first course of action is to contact your healthcare provider.

Your provider may adjust your ADHD medication dosage, reducing the drug's side effects, or give you other tips for managing your symptoms. If you've just started taking this medication, you may find that your Adderall tongue symptoms decrease as your body begins to adjust to it.

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

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

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


Adderall tongue can be distressing. But there is a path forward and a way to manage both your symptoms and your ADHD. Your healthcare provider can discuss options with you, including symptom management and alternative medications.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Adderall tongue painful?

    People can experience 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?

    Adderall side effects like dry mouth may resolve a few weeks after starting the medication, as your body adjusts. However, some people may experience Adderall tongue the entire time they are using this drug, 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 medication side effect. Still, some viruses and bacterial infections may have similar symptoms to Adderall tongue, which is why you should share your symptoms with your healthcare provider.

13 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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Additional Reading

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