Adderall is a drug commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sometimes narcolepsy. Although the drug can be helpful, it has many side effects. Some people with penises suffer from Adderall erectile dysfunction (ED).
Erectile dysfunction is generally more common in older people, but young people who take Adderall are more likely than their peers who don’t take the drug to have erectile dysfunction. Reduced sexual functioning can have a negative effect on mental health and sexual well-being.
Here’s what you need to know about Adderall’s sexual side effects.
Does Adderall cause erectile dysfunction?
Adderall is the brand name for a drug that combines dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Doctors aren’t sure exactly why the combination of drugs helps reduce ADHD symptoms, but they do know that the drug causes physical changes in the brain, such as narrowing of blood vessels (vasoconstriction), a potential increase in blood pressure. blood pressure and other cardiovascular effects. Cardiovascular disease is a major risk factor for erectile dysfunction.
Changes in a person’s libido or their ability to have sex is a widely recognized side effect of Adderall.
Not everyone on Adderall is familiar with ED. Some people report that taking Adderall increases their libido. Increased libido is a known side effect of other amphetamines, including those that are used illicitly.
A 2015 study of more than 1,300 men aged 18 to 57 showed that people who used Adderall were more than twice as likely to have erectile dysfunction. The study found that 29.3% of Adderall users had suffered from erectile dysfunction, compared to 11.9% of people who did not use Adderall.
However, the study was done with people who used Adderall without a prescription; the rates may be lower in people who use the drug as prescribed.
Never take Adderall without a prescription
Adderall has the potential for abuse. It is dangerous to take Adderall without a prescription. The drug can interact with other drugs and supplements and can cause sudden and severe heart problems. Adderall should be used only as prescribed under the care of a doctor.
Additional Sexual Side Effects of Adderall
People who suffer from Adderall erectile dysfunction can also have other sexual side effects, such as decreased interest in sex. Some people find that when they first start taking Adderall, their libido increases, only to drop as they take the drug.
Sexual side effects can also occur in people who take Adderall and who do not have a penis. Women have been noted to have decreased libido with Adderall. Some of the other potential side effects, such as headaches, nervousness, and more painful periods, can also decrease a person’s libido.
Other common side effects of Adderall that are not specifically sexual, such as mood swings, headaches, and constipation, can also make a person less inclined to have sex.
When a person suffers from Adderall erectile dysfunction, it also affects their sexual partners. It is important to discuss with your partners how your medications are contributing to erectile dysfunction. You may want to explore non-penetrative sex together.
Possible causes of erectile dysfunction
There are many causes of erectile dysfunction, both physical and psychological. In addition to Adderall, other causes of erectile dysfunction include:
- Chronic health problems (eg, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure)
- Smoking and recreational drug or alcohol use
While some risk factors are not something you can change (like your age), making certain lifestyle changes can help you manage erectile dysfunction.
Manage Adderall erectile dysfunction
If you have erectile dysfunction while taking Adderall, talk to your doctor. Although you may feel embarrassed by the symptom, it’s important to get help if sex is part of your overall sense of well-being.
Your doctor may tell you that it is okay to reduce your dose of Adderall or consider switching to another medicine to manage your symptoms. They might also suggest that you try taking a drug that treats erectile dysfunction, such as Viagra or Cialis.
Never stop taking Adderall suddenly. Before reducing or stopping your dose, talk to your doctor.
It is also important to talk about managing your erectile dysfunction with the person you have sex with. Keep in mind that penetration is not the only sexual activity you can participate in. Engaging in more foreplay and mutual masturbation can help you maintain an erection for longer and make sure you and your partner are satisfied.
Erectile dysfunction can occur for many reasons, including age, medical conditions, and the use of substances or medications, including Adderall.
Besides being associated with erectile dysfunction in younger people with a penis, some of Adderall’s other side effects may help reduce interest in sex.
A word from Verywell
If you have Adderall erectile dysfunction, it’s important to communicate openly with your doctor and partners about your symptoms. There are ways to manage the condition and work towards restoring a healthy sex life.
Never stop taking your Adderall suddenly or reduce your dose without talking to your doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Adderall improve libido?
Some people report that Adderall increases their libido. However, it is more common for Adderall to be associated with decreased libido and difficulty getting or maintaining an erection.
You should never take Adderall without a prescription. Take the medicine only as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
How ADHD Medications Cause Erectile Dysfunction
It’s not clear how an ADHD drug like Adderall works, but what is known is that the drug changes neurotransmitters in the brain and affects the function of the cardiovascular system. Both of these effects can contribute to ED.
How do you fare if you are on Adderall?
If you are taking Adderall and have erectile dysfunction, you may be able to remedy this problem by making lifestyle changes, exploring different sexual activities, or taking medication to treat erectile dysfunction.
What are the other side effects of Adderall in adults?
In addition to erectile dysfunction, people taking Adderall may experience other side effects.
Commonly reported side effects of Adderall are:
- Dry mouth
- Constipation, diarrhea and nausea
- Nervousness or irritability
If you are taking Adderall and the side effects are interfering with your life, talk to your doctor. You may be able to reduce your dose, change your medication, or find strategies to deal with the side effects.