Can Adderall cause canker sores? (+3 tips)

In this article, we will explore whether Adderall can cause canker sores or not, what is the link between Adderall and canker sores, what factors contribute to Adderall-induced canker sores, what to do if Adderall causes canker sores and how to manage Adderall-induced canker sores.

Can Adderall cause canker sores?

Yes, Adderall (amphetamine+dextroamfetamine) can cause canker sores. However, canker sores are not a direct or commonly reported side effect of Adderall. Several mechanisms of Adderall can lead to canker sores in patients taking Adderall. Certain effects of Adderall on the normal pathways can lead the patients towards an increased risk of canker sores.

Adderall is a stimulant medication. It contains amphetamines that affect the central nervous system. Adderall is used for the treatment of conditions like ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or narcolepsy.  Adderall causes the stimulation of the central nervous system by modulating the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine (1).

Canker sores are a frequently observed side effect of Adderall. Not every patient taking Adderall will experience it. If you have any concerns regarding the use of Adderall, then consulting your healthcare provider is the best option.

What is the link between Adderall and canker sores?

There is no direct definite link between Adderall and canker sore. However, various mechanisms of Adderall can cause canker sores to appear in the patients taking Adderall.

Adderall might indirectly affect the absorption of some vital nutrients and vitamins including vitamin B-12 and folic acid (2). Decreased absorption of these two components can cause a deficiency of these nutrients in the body. Studies have related the canker sores to nutrient deficiency, particularly vitamin B-12 and folic acid (3).  

Adderall can sometimes, exacerbate the condition of stress and anxiety. Increased stress and anxiety are also found to be a potential risk factor for canker sores (4). Dry mouth is a commonly reported side effect of Adderall. Dry mouth can cause inflammation in the oral mucosa that can cause discomfort and irritation, a feeling similar to canker sores.

What factors contribute to Adderall-induced canker sores?

The following factors can contribute to Adderall-induced canker sores.

Dosage and duration are an important factor. Higher doses of Adderall are associated with an increased risk of side effects. Increased doses for a longer term can cause nutrient deficiency in the body leading towards canker sores. A dosage regimen can influence the severity and frequency of such side effects. 

The effects of Adderall may vary from patient to patient. Not every person taking Adderall will experience similar side effects or side effects with similar intensity. The variations of effects among different individuals may be attributed to physiological factors, pharmacological factors, age and gender of the patients. 

Patients with underlying medical health conditions such as the ones that may contribute to the deficiency of vitamin B12 and folic acid may exacerbate the condition of cankers by adding up to the effects of Adderall.

Some medications such as immunosuppressants or the ones affecting nutrient absorption, when taken concurrently with Adderall can cause canker sores. 

Recreational drugs such as tobacco or alcohol can also irritate the oral mucosa causing canker sores (5). Alcohol can also dehydrate the mouth, irritating the lining and leading towards canker sores.  

What to do if Adderall causes canker sores?

If you are taking Adderall and experiencing canker sores then you need to consult your healthcare provider.

Consulting healthcare provider

Your doctor will conduct a careful examination after considering your past medical history to determine the cause of canker sores. They may have to consider the lifestyle factors or the dietary conditions before attributing the occurrence of canker sores to Adderall. 

If Adderall is found to be the cause of canker sores, then your doctor will modify your treatment plan. Altering the dosage regimen, and lowering the dose of Adderall can be the first option as lower doses can help you to adjust better to the condition. In addition to these, your doctor may also prescribe over-the-counter gels and ointments to treat the condition. 

The medications may include (6):

  • Benzocaine
  • Cetylpyridinium chloride
  • Fluocinonide
  • Zine oxide
  • Myrrh or chamomile gels

Usually, canker sores can heal within a week or two on their own. However, if the condition does not subside your doctor will suggest these medications and strategies.

Whereas, even after all the adjustments in the dosage regimen, if Adderall continues to cause canker sores then your doctor might suggest you switch the medication for the treatment of ADHD or narcolepsy in order to avoid the unnecessary side effects such as canker sores. 

The following can be the alternatives (7):

  • Methylphenidate
  • Atomoxetine
  • Guanfacine
  • Modafinil
  • Armodafinil
  • Wellbutrin (Off-label for narcolepsy)

How to manage Adderall-induced canker sores?

Here are a few tips that can help you manage canker sore while taking Adderall.

  • Gargling or rinsing your mouth with salt water can help in soothing the sores and promote healing.


  • Over-the-counter ointments or gels such as benzocaine can provide relief from pain by temporary numbing.


  • Spicy, acidic or rough-textured food can irritate the condition and increase the discomfort which may worsen the condition.


  • Drinking plenty of water can help in maintaining oral health and reduce the intensity or frequency of canker sore while you are on Adderall. 


  • Placing ice chips or ice cubes can also help numb the area and treat inflammation.

In my opinion, canker sores are a rare side effect of Adderall. It is not commonly reported among patients but some might experience it due to various factors involved. In order to treat such side effects, open communication with your healthcare provider is essential.

Your doctor can tailor the treatment plan according to your needs for a safe and effective treatment strategy. They can perform a thorough examination to determine the susceptibility of such conditions after taking Adderall by analyzing your past medical history or any present underlying health condition. 

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