Is It Safe To Have Adderall When Breastfeeding?

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IN THIS ARTICLE

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant made by combining two drugs — amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is a prescription drug used to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorderiXA neurodevelopmental disorder that mostly begins in early childhood and results in difficulty paying attention and impulsiveness. (ADHD) and narcolepsyiXA neurological disorder that affects the sleep-wake cycles in the brain and leads to overwhelming feelings of lethargy and drowsiness. (1). However, many parents may wonder whether it is safe to use Adderall when breastfeeding.

Since some drugs can seep into the breastmilk and affect the infant, such concerns are valid and should be addressed before consuming them.

Read this post to learn if it is safe for lactating mothers to use Adderall and the possible side effects of the drug.

What Is Adderall? 

Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine

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Adderall is a combination of two nervous system stimulant drugs namely amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It belongs to the central nervous system stimulant drug category. There are several variants of the medicine, including those that release instantly into the system and those that release over an extended duration (Adderall XR). The dosage may differ for each variant.

Why May A Breastfeeding Mother Need Adderall? 

Adderall is prescribed to individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The compounds amphetamine and dextroamphetamine present in the drug mimic dopamine, epinephrine (also called adrenaline), and norepinephrine, which are naturally occurring neurotransmitters of the body.

Adderall imitates the functions of these compounds and suppresses the symptoms of ADHD. It makes you more alert, improves clarity of thought, and helps you focus better (2).

Is It Safe To Have Adderall During Breastfeeding?

Dr. Thomas Hale, the author of Medications and Mothers’ Milk, says that clinical doses of dextroamphetamine (one of the drugs in Adderall) is “Probably safe”, but it could be hazardous when abused (3). However, caution is required while on Adderall and breastfeeding, because there is limited research on the safety of maternal Adderall usage on the health of the baby (4)(5).

Lack of enough evidence on the safety of the drug and its potential for abuse prevent several healthcare providers from recommending Adderall during lactation. The US FDA recommends mothers taking amphetamines to refrain from breastfeeding (1).

What Are The Side Effects Of Adderall ?

Side effects of Adderall vary from the common ones to more serious ones.

Common side effects of Adderall: 

The common side effects can occur with any dosage of the medicine (1)

Serious side effects of Adderall

Severe side effects may usually occur with an overdose or abuse of Adderall (1).

  • Seizures in people with a history of seizuresiXThe sudden occurrence of abnormal changes in the electrical activity between brain cells that lead to temporary alterations in behavior, consciousness, and memory.
  • Eyesight change or blurred vision
  • Serotonin syndromeiX A condition that can be potentially life-threatening and is caused by the intentional or unintentional overdose of medications that increase serotonin levels in one’s body.

Most people who use Adderall for a long time may be able to cope better with some of the side effects over time. However, it is essential to consider the side effects experienced by the breastfeeding baby.

What Are The Side Effects Of Adderall On A Breastfeeding Baby?

There isn’t extensive research on how Adderall affects a breastfeeding infant. Amphetamine can get concentrated in breast milk with levels reaching seven times of that found in blood (1). Maternal intake of the drug can find its way into the infant’s blood and urine too.

A study suggests that small and standard dosage of Adderall does not usually have any effect on the infant’s health (7).

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee reports that animal studies on long-term exposure to amphetamine showed cases of hypertensioniXThe condition in which the blood pressure against the walls of the arteries is too high. , tachycardiaiXThe rapid beating of the heart, usually measured to be more than 100 beats per minute. , and seizures in infants. Since there are no human studies, the AAP recommends avoiding drugs containing amphetamines during breastfeeding.

When Can You Breastfeed After An Adderall Dose? 

The mother is recommended to withhold breastfeeding for 24 hours after the Adderall dosage, although some experts suggest waiting up to 48 hours (8) (9). During this time, the mother can express and discard the breast milk for 24-48 hours after dosage to keep up her supply and not get engorged.

Some mothers may wish to avoid Adderall entirely during lactation to prevent the risk of exposure to the baby. However, it puts the mother at risk of a relapse of the ADHD symptoms.

You may try these tips, should you decide to avoid Adderall.

  1. Look for alternatives: Your doctor can prescribe alternatives that are safer than Adderall for your breastfed infant. The choice of alternatives depends on the extent of your condition and your current Adderall dosage.

    Your doctor can prescribe safer alternatives for your breastfed infant

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  1. Adjust your dose to the bare minimum: If it is imperative to have Adderall, then discuss with your doctor about adjusting the dose to the bare minimum level. It can let you receive the therapeutic advantages of the medicine without causing any adverse effects to the health of your breastfeeding baby.

Adderall is a medication for treating ADHD in adults. There is no clear evidence of therapeutic doses of this medicine causing side effects in breastfeeding infants, but taking Adderall when breastfeeding is not recommended. It contains the drug amphetamine, which may reach the infant via breast milk and affect neurotransmitters. Check with your doctor for suggestions on alternatives to Adderall or a dosage modification. Remember that the mother’s health is extremely important for the well-being of the baby. Also, consult your healthcare provider before discontinuing this medication.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for a doctor’s consultation. Do not use any medication without talking to your doctor.

Infographic: Who Should Not Be Prescribed The Drug?

Adderall is a stimulant drug used in treating ADHD in adults. Certain substances may increase or decrease the absorption of the drug in the body and subsequently alter its efficacy. The drug may also be unsuitable if some underlying health conditions are present. The infographic below discusses the interactions and contraindications of Adderall.

interactions and contraindications of adderall [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Adderall; U.S. Food & Drug Administration
2. What Does Adderall Do To Your Body?; Texas A&M University
3. Treatment of Attention Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD);Department Of Health & Human Services; Center For Drung Evaluation and Research;
4. Amphetamine; U.S. National Library of Medicine
5. Dextroamphetamine; U.S. National Library of Medicine
6. E. Steiner et al.,Amphetamine secretion in breast milk; National Center for Biotechnology Information
7. Amphetamine; Drugs and Lactation Database; NCBI
8. Alcohol and drug use while breastfeeding; Department of Health, Govt. of Western Australia
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shreeja pillai

Shreeja holds a postgraduate degree in Chemistry and diploma in Drug Regulatory Affairs from the University of Mumbai. Before joining MomJunction, she worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. As a writer, she aims at providing informative articles on health...
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Mindy Cockeram

(LCCE, CLEC)
Mindy Cockeram is a Childbirth and Breastfeeding Educator currently residing in Southern California, where she teaches at a non-profit hospital. Her career began after the birth of her second child when she changed career direction and trained as an antenatal teacher with the National Childbirth Trust in London, England. She taught childbirth classes for both the Wimbledon & Wandsworth Branch...
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