How Long Does Amphetamine Stay in Your System?

Amphetamine in Your Blood, Urine, Hair, & Saliva

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Amphetamine stays in your system anywhere from two to 90 days, depending on a variety of factors such as the dosage of the drug (how much you've taken) and your metabolic rate (how fast your body processes it).

Amphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant that increases alertness, self-confidence, and concentration while creating a feeling of increased energy and decreased appetite. Amphetamine is available by prescription but is also used illicitly as a recreational drug. It is also sometimes used by athletes as a performance-enhancing drug.

Prescription amphetamine-containing medications include:

  • Adderall (dextroamphetamine/amphetamine)
  • Adderall RX (a long-acting form of dextroamphetamine/amphetamine)
  • Desoxyn (methamphetamine)
  • Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine)

Amphetamines were also once used to treat narcolepsy and obesity, but this is less common today. Amphetamine is a schedule II drug, meaning it has a high potential for misuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. It can be detectable for up to three months with certain tests.

How Long Does Amphetamine Stay in Your System?

Urine: Up to five days

Blood: Up to 48 hours

Saliva: Up to five days

Hair: Up to three months

How Long Does It Take to Feel Effects?

The effects of amphetamine are apparent fairly quickly, often in less than an hour, and are similar to cocaine but last longer.

When taken as prescribed, amphetamine-containing medication can cause side effects. These often improve as your body gets used to the drug, but can include:

  • Depression
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Increased tics
  • Loss of appetite
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Trouble sleeping

Side effects of excessive use or misuse can range from mild to severe and include:

  • Breakdown of muscle
  • Blockages in small blood vessels (if the drug is crushed and injected)
  • Cardiovascular issues (e.g., heart rhythm abnormalities, heart attack, stroke)
  • Circulation issues
  • Convulsions
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Malnutrition
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis and delusions
  • Reduced cognitive ability
  • Weight loss

How Long Does Amphetamine Last?

The half-life of amphetamine is an average of 10 hours, which means it takes that long for half of the ingested dose to be metabolized and eliminated from the bloodstream. When taken orally, amphetamine is absorbed into the bloodstream by your stomach and intestine, which is why traces of amphetamines are found in blood and urine.

When taken orally, amphetamine peaks at 12 hours. If taken intravenously, the elimination half-life is about 12.2 hours. Adderall XR, a long-acting form of prescription amphetamine, lasts up to 12 hours in most healthy children.

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

Adderall stays in your system the same amount of time as other amphetamine-containing drugs: two to 90 days, depending on several factors.

The following is an estimated range of times, or detection windows, during which amphetamine can be detected by various testing methods.

Urine

Amphetamine can be detected in a urine test for two to five days after the last dose.

Blood

Blood tests for amphetamine, which are typically done in a hospital setting, can detect the drug for up to two days after usage.

Saliva

A saliva test, which uses a special device to extract a sample of saliva and deposit into a tube, can detect amphetamine for one to five days after use.

Hair

Amphetamine, like many other drugs, can be detected with a hair follicle drug test for up to 90 days.

False Positive Testing

The following drugs can produce false-positive results for amphetamines on a urine drug screen:

  • Certain antidepressants, such as Wellbutrin (bupropion), Prozac (fluoxetine), trazodone, or Emsam (selegiline)
  • Antihistamines
  • Nasal inhalers
  • Cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine and/or promethazine, such as Sudafed, Claritin, Mucinex, and Triaminic

Always tell anyone administering a drug test about any prescription or over-the-counter medication you are taking.

Factors That Affect Detection Time

Trying to determine exactly how long amphetamine is detectable in the body depends on many variables, including how frequently it is used, how much was used, and the metabolism, body mass, age, and overall health of the person who took it.

Dosage

Prescription amphetamines come in different strengths as well as immediate and extended-release forms, which can impact how long it takes for the body to metabolize the drug. For example, a 5mg dose of Adderall will have a shorter detection time than a 5mg dose of Adderall XR (the extended-release form).

Adderall Half-Life

The average half life of Adderall is nine to 14 hours in adults based on a dosage of 10mg to 30mg.

Overall Health

Liver and kidney function can play a role in how long it takes for the body to excrete amphetamine. People with decreased hepatic or renal function may eliminate amphetamine more slowly.

Frequency of Use

People who use amphetamine very frequently or as prescribed by a doctor will have longer detection times than those who use the drug one time.

Metabolic Rate

People with high metabolisms process and excrete amphetamine more quickly than those with a slower metabolism. Metabolic rate can be affected by age, activity level, and overall health.

Method of Use

The method by which amphetamine is taken—swallowing, snorting, smoking, or injecting—also influences detection time. In general, the faster the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream, the shorter the detection window, so if you smoke or inject amphetamine, it will leave the body faster than if you snort or swallow it.

How to Get Amphetamine Out of Your System

While many people try to sweat or flush amphetamines from their systems, the only proven way to clear your body of the drug is to discontinue use and to give your body time to metabolize and eliminate it. 

Symptoms of Overdose

One reason that it is important to know how long amphetamine remains in your system is because of the risk of overdose. If you or someone you love is prescribed a long-acting amphetamine, like Adderall RX, be sure to always swallow capsules whole; they should never be chewed or crushed, as this could release all the medication at once and increase the risk of overdose.

The symptoms of a possible amphetamine overdose include:

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Blurred vision
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fast breathing
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Feelings of panic
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting

If you suspect that you or a loved one may be experiencing an overdose, call 911 or seek medical help immediately.

Getting Help

Another danger of taking more of the drug than prescribed is that it can become addictive. When taken as prescribed for a health condition such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), amphetamine is not usually addictive, but when misused—to get high or to improve performance—people can become dependent on it.

The body can also build up a tolerance for amphetamine, meaning that over time, it may require more of the drug to achieve the same effect. Taking more to reach the high or performance level you once experienced can lead to addiction or overdose.

Once someone is dependent on amphetamine, they may experience symptoms of withdrawal if they stop taking it. These symptoms include:

  • Aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Increased appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of concentration
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Strong cravings

If you experience any of the above symptoms when you try to cut back or stop using amphetamine, seek medical advice immediately.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

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.
  1. Verstraete AG. Detection times of drugs of abuse in blood, urine, and oral fluid. Ther Drug Monit. 2004;26(2):200-5. doi:10.1097/00007691-200404000-00020

  2. Food and Drug Administration. Adderall (CII).

  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. What is methamphetamine?.

Additional Reading

By Buddy T
Buddy T is an anonymous writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism.