Why does Adderall make you nauseous? (+5 tips)

In this article, we will explore why Adderall makes you nauseous, and what factors might contribute to Adderall-induced nausea. We will also discuss the causes of nausea and what to do if Adderall makes you nauseous.

Why does Adderall make you nauseous?

Adderall makes you nauseous because of its effects on the central nervous system. Adderall-induced nausea, in some patients, may occur due to:

  • Stimulation of the central nervous system
  • Gastrointestinal effects   

Adderall is a stimulant medication that contains a combination of amphetamines. These amphetamines affect the central nervous system by modulating the neurotransmitters in the brain. Adderall is usually prescribed to patients with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or narcolepsy (1).

If you are taking Adderall and experience nausea then you need to consult your healthcare provider they can provide you with proper guidance regarding your condition. 

Stimulation of the central nervous system

Nausea is a common side effect of Adderall. Adderall affects the levels of chemical messengers in the synaptic cleft in the brain. These chemical messengers are dopamine and norepinephrine. Adderall causes an increase in the levels of these chemical messengers (2). 

These neurotransmitters not only enhance cognitive function due to their increased levels but also disrupt the balance between the centres of the brain that influence nausea and vomiting (3). The part of the brain responsible for this is called the chemoreceptor trigger zone or the CTZ (4). 

Gastrointestinal effects

Adderall causes an increased level of dopamine and norepinephrine. The increased levels of dopamine also influence gut motility (5). Increased levels of dopamine caused by Adderall also cause a reduction in gastric motility and slow gastric emptying. This slowed digestion can cause nausea in patients.

Dopamine also causes an increase in stomach acid production which may also contribute to the nauseous condition (6). 

What factors may contribute to Adderall-induced nausea?

Adderall may cause nausea but some other factors also influence the condition. The factors may include:

  • Dosage and duration of Adderall are important as higher doses are linked to increased side effects as well.
  • Individual factors may differ such as genetic predisposition and normal functioning of the body. 
  • Underlying health conditions such as gastrointestinal diseases and disorders including GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), peptic ulcers etc.
  • Some concurrent medications can also interact with Adderall and cause nausea. 
  • Dehydration is also a notable factor of nausea induced by Adderall.

The side effects of every medication including Adderall are not the same in every individual. Although nausea is commonly observed in individuals taking Adderall, it might not be observed in every person. 

How to get rid of Adderall-induced nausea?

If you are taking Adderall and experience nausea then you need to follow the following steps.

  • Consult your healthcare provider. They can help you determine the exact cause of nausea. In some cases, Adderall might not be the sole cause of nausea. Certain other factors may also be contributing to the condition. 


  • Sometimes, Adderall causes nausea as the body is trying to adjust to the effects of Adderall. The side effects observed due to this reason may subside with time usually 1-2 weeks. 


  • Your doctor may suggest lowering the dose of Adderall to help your body get adjusted to the condition more easily and to lower the incidence of nausea. 


  • You might be suggested to not take Adderall on an empty stomach.


  • You need to avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can worsen the nausea.


  • You need to take smaller and more frequent meals.


  • Ginger is good for nausea. Taking ginger tea or chewing ginger can be helpful (7). 


  • Avoiding greasy, spicy and acidic foods can also be beneficial for the management of nausea.

What are the alternatives to Adderall if it causes severe nausea?

If the condition does not get better even after the modifications in the treatment plan then your doctor might suggest using an alternative to Adderall. The alternative may be one of the following (8):

Medication Class Use
Ritalin (Methtlphenidate) Stimulant ADHD and narcolepsy
Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) Stimulant ADHD
Straterra (Atomoxetine) Non-stimulant ADHD
Wellbutrin  (Bupropion) Atypical antidepressant Narcolepsy

Guanfacine      (Intuniv)

Alpha-2 agonist ADHD

In my opinion, Adderall can cause nausea in certain number of patients but it might not be experienced by every single person taking Adderall. The variation in the response and incidence may be attributed to certain factors. These may include concurrent medications, metabolic rate, digestive efficiency and underlying health condition.

This is why an open communication with your healthcare provider is essential. They will have to take all your medical history to determine the exact cause of nausea, in case Adderall is not solely responsible. After a complete examination and analysis your doctor might suggest you suitable modifications to help you with your condition. 

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