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Can I Take Diet Supplements While Taking Adderall?

by
author image Shannon Marks
Shannon Marks started her journalism career in 1994. She was a reporter at the "Beachcomber" in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and contributed to "Philadelphia Weekly." Marks also served as a research editor, reporter and contributing writer at lifestyle, travel and entertainment magazines in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Temple University.
Can I Take Diet Supplements While Taking Adderall?
Combining weight-loss medications is risky. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Adderall, known as amphetamine dextroamphetamine, and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was originally developed and marketed as a weight-loss drug. Adderall is a medication that is related to the very dangerous, highly addictive drug known as methamphetamine, or crystal meth. Physicians are permitted to prescribe Adderall off-label, that is to say, for purposes not indicated by the FDA. Since it already has weight-loss properties, however, combining it with a diet supplement could be dangerous. Consult your physician before taking Adderall. You must have a prescription to obtain this drug legally.

How It Works

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant. For a person with ADHD, Adderall has a reverse effect and can help him slow down his thinking, increase concentration and reduce hyperactivity. The drug activates the pleasure center of the brain, causes a feeling of euphoria and a loss of appetite, all of which lead to addiction and weight loss, but have also been responsible, in part, for its popularity. IMS Health, a prescription drug auditing company, reports that in the mid 90s about 1.3 million Adderall prescriptions were filled. By the end of the decade, that number increased to 6 million. In 2009, Adderall was the 21st most popular prescription drug, according to PsychCentral.

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Combining Drugs

Combining Adderall and diet supplements can be very dangerous. Side effects of Adderall include heart palpitations, overstimulation, nervousness, irritability and diarrhea, which are also common with diet supplements. Taking a central nervous system stimulant with drugs that have similar effects, even those available over the counter, can increase your risk of exhibiting dangerous side effects, and even worsen the symptoms. Before using any kind of dietary supplement, even if you’re using Adderall for treatment of ADHD, talk to your doctor.

Diet Supplements

Over-the-counter weight-loss supplements are sold at supermarkets, health food stores and online. MayoClinic.com reports that most have not been proven effective and some can be dangerous. Dietary supplements are not held to the same rigid standards as prescription drugs and can be sold with little proof of efficacy. Bitter orange, for example, is marketed as a safer alternative to ephedra, a supplement that was banned for causing several deaths and other dangerous side effects. According to CNN, bitter orange can increase blood pressure and have significant drug interactions. Ephedra was banned by the FDA in 2003. It is still available for sale online, however, and can lead to heart attacks, palpitations, stroke and seizures. Mixing this naturally occurring herb with a prescription stimulant increases your chances of having an adverse reaction.

Considerations

Adderall is an effective weight-loss drug. While it is not approved for weight-loss treatment, your doctor can prescribe it to you for any purpose she sees fit. In 2008, MSNBC reported that a pediatric endocrinologist in Illinois was prescribing the stimulant to young patients for treatment of obesity. In 2007, an American Diabetes Association newsletter evaluated the efficacy of using Adderall for weight loss in a young population. Ninety percent of obese patients on the drug lost a significant amount of weight in the first 12 to 18 months of treatment and saw a reduction in diabetes risk. In very controlled circumstances, Adderall is not unsafe. Self-administration, and combining it with different drugs and supplements, is dangerous and can be illegal.

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