What Is A Lethal Dose Of Adderall?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on August 1, 2023

Adderall is an ADHD medication that, in very high doses, can cause overdose. Taking higher doses of Adderall than prescribed, or abusing it with other drugs, can be dangerous and have potentially fatal outcomes.

What Is The Lethal Dose Of Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription amphetamine that is commonly prescribed to treat attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, teens, and young adults.

According to research, lethal cases of Adderall overdose have been reported with doses ranging from 1.5 mg/kg to 20–25 mg/kg of weight. For a 90-pound person, this would be, on average, 820 mg.

Learn more about the fatal doses of commonly abused drugs.

What Factors Can Affect The Lethal Potential Of Adderall?

The lethal dose of Adderall—that is, a dose powerful enough to have fatal consequences—is about 1,400 milligrams for the average 154-pound adult. This is about 25 times the standard dose.

But the amount of Adderall it takes to be lethal can vary widely. For example, taking high doses of Adderall in combination with other drugs, can increase the risk of fatal and non-fatal overdose.

This means the lethal dose of Adderall may not be the same for everyone.

Factors that can influence the lethal dose of Adderall include:

  • Age: Children and elderly adults will be more susceptible to overdose in smaller amounts.
  • Tolerance: People who are Adderall-tolerant will be able to tolerate higher doses of Adderall than the average person.
  • Polydrug use: The use of multiple drugs, including alcohol, can increase the risk of drug overdose.
  • Overall health: Certain health conditions, including impaired kidney or liver function, may increase the risk of serious overdose.
  • Method of use: Crushing or chewing tablets can increase the likelihood of experiencing negative side effects from Adderall use, including overdose.
  • Body mass: Low body weight can make a person more vulnerable to drug overdose.

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How Common Is Adderall Overdose?

Overdose deaths involving stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine have increased in recent years.

Adderall overdose can be fatal after ingesting either an extremely high dose, or after mixing Adderall with other drugs, such as alcohol or opioids.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose deaths from amphetamines like Adderall (with or without opioids) have increased dramatically.

In 2015, about 12,122 people died from an amphetamine overdose whereas in 2021 that number increased to 53,495.

Knowing The Signs Of An Adderall Overdose

Adderall overdose can be dangerous. Without prompt medical treatment, severe Adderall overdose can lead to heart problems, kidney failure, and death.

Signs and symptoms of an Adderall overdose include:

  • rapid breathing
  • restlessness
  • twitching or spasms
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • tremors
  • panic
  • confusion
  • high body temperature
  • high or low blood pressure
  • nausea and vomiting
  • hallucinations
  • diarrhea
  • convulsions
  • coma

Treatment for Adderall overdose may require administering active charcoal and pumping the stomach.

Depending on the nature of the overdose, additional treatment for Adderall abuse—such as counseling or a rehab program—may be recommended.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on August 1, 2023
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