Adderall is a type of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine that affects certain nerves in the brain in an effort to relieve hyperactivity and other problems. Adderall is commonly prescribed to treat Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders in children and adults. It can also be used in the treatment of narcolepsy, which is a medical condition that causes patients to spontaneously fall asleep. Though it is successful in helping to treat these disorders, Adderall can cause considerable health risks that should be considered when beginning a treatment utilizing the drug.
Adderall can interact with a variety of other prescription medications, causing a variety of issues. Drugs used to treat high blood pressure that create acidity in the stomach, such as guanethidine and reserpine, that can cause problems with the absorption of Adderall, meaning that higher dosages may be necessary that in turn can lead to an increase in other risks associated with Adderall. Tricyclic antidepressants, such as Elavil and Adapin, can cause an increase of amphetamine accumulation from Adderall in the brain, that can lead to heart problems and impairment of cognitive brain functions. MAO inhibitors used to treat Parkinson's Disease, social anxiety and depression can have dangerous interactions with Adderall, including dangerous increases in blood pressure and a possibility of blood toxicity that can result in death.
Complications of Other Conditions
When Adderall is taken by pregnant women, it can cause birth defects and danger to the fetus, such as learning disabilities and deformation. Adderall can also be passed through breast milk, giving infants possibly dangerous doses of amphetamines. Because of these factors, Adderall is typically not given to pregnant or nursing mothers. Patients who suffer from psychotic disorders have exhibited an increase in psychoses while taking Adderall. This is usually evidenced in disturbing thoughts and behaviors. People with Tourette's Syndrome also experience an increase in symptoms associated with the disorder, especially tics. Adderall can also cause the growth rate and development of children to slow, resulting in decreased stature and weight. It is also linked to the worsening of glaucoma and hyperthyroidism.
Amphetamines are highly addictive, and as such, people who take Adderall risk developing a dependency upon the drug. If the use of the drug is discontinued, patients can undergo symptoms of withdrawal. These include excessive sleeping, hunger, depression, anxiety and intense cravings for the drug. The duration and severity of these symptoms depends largely on how long Adderall was taken by the patient and can last anywhere from two days to several weeks.
Heart Complications and Hypertension
Incidents of death due to heart failure in children and adults taking Adderall have occurred, leading to increased concern upon the effects of the drug upon the heart. Because of this, people who have known heart defects or problems may not be given the drug, and it is advised that children taking the drug be monitored for symptoms of heart attack, including tightness in the chest and shortness of breath. Adderall also causes increase in blood pressure. Normally, these increases are small and have no impact upon patients, but those with hypertension may experience a dangerous spike in blood pressure when taking the drug.
Because of its properties as an amphetamine, Adderall can cause impairments that could present risks for patients. Taking the drug can affect concentration levels, making it dangerous to drive or operate heavy machinery. It can also pose risks that are not life-threatening, but still damaging, like a decline in performance at school or work. Adderall may also cause serious allergic reactions in some individuals, that is evidenced by skin rash and difficulty breathing.