What Is Adderall Erectile Dysfunction?

Adderall is a drug that is commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and occasionally narcolepsy. While the medication can be helpful, it does have many side effects. Some people with a penis experience Adderall erectile dysfunction (ED).

ED is typically more common in older adults, but young people who take Adderall are more likely than their peers who do not take the medication to have ED. Reduced sexual functioning can have a negative effect on mental health and sexual wellness.

Here’s what you should know about the sexual side effects of Adderall.

A middle-aged Black man with glasses reading the label on a prescription bottle of medication.

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Does Adderall Cause ED? 

Adderall is the brand name of a medication that combines dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Doctors are not exactly sure why the combination of drugs helps reduce the symptoms of ADHD, but they do know that the drug causes physical changes in the brain such as narrowing of blood vessels (vasoconstriction), potentially raising blood pressure, and other cardiovascular effects. Cardiovascular disease is a major risk factor for erectile dysfunction.

Changes to a person’s sex drive or ability to perform sexually are a widely acknowledged side effect of Adderall.

Not everyone on Adderall experiences ED. Some people report that taking Adderall increases their sex drive. Increased sex drive is a known side effect of other amphetamines, including those that are used illicitly.

A 2015 study of more than 1,300 men between the ages of 18 and 57 showed that people who used Adderall were more than twice as likely to experience ED. The study found that 29.3% of Adderall users had experienced ED, compared with 11.9% of people who did not use Adderall.

However, the study was done with people who used Adderall without a prescription; the rates might be lower in people who use the medication as prescribed.  

Never Take Adderall Without a Prescription

Adderall has the potential for abuse. It is dangerous to take Adderall without a prescription. The drug can interact with other medications and supplements and can cause sudden, severe cardiac conditions. Adderall should be used only as prescribed under the care of a doctor. 

Additional Adderall Sexual Side Effects

People who experience Adderall erectile dysfunction may have other sexual side effects as well, such as decreased interest in sex. Some people find that when they first start taking Adderall, their sex drive goes up, only to drop the longer they are on the medication.

Sexual side effects can also occur in people who take Adderall and do not have a penis. Women have been noted to experience decreased libido with Adderall. Some of the other potential side effects, such as headache, nervousness, and more painful periods, can also decrease a person's sex drive.

Other common side effects of Adderall that are not specifically sexual, such as moodiness, headache, and constipation, can also make a person feel less like having sex.

When a person experiences Adderall erectile dysfunction, it also affects their sexual partners. It's important to talk with your partners about how your medication is contributing to ED. You might want to explore nonpenetrative sexual activities together.

Possible Causes of Erectile Dysfunction 

There are many causes of erectile dysfunction, both physical and psychological. In addition to Adderall, other causes of ED include:

  • Age
  • Chronic health conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure)
  • Smoking and recreational drug or alcohol use
  • Stress

While certain risk factors are not something you can change (like your age), making some changes to your lifestyle might help you manage ED.

Managing Adderall Erectile Dysfunction

If you experience ED while taking Adderall, talk with your doctor. While you might feel embarrassed about the symptom, it's important to get help if sex is part of your overall sense of well-being.

Your doctor might say it's OK to lower your Adderall dose or consider switching you to a different medication to manage your symptoms. They might also suggest that you try taking a medication that treats ED, such as Viagra or Cialis.

Never stop taking Adderall suddenly. Before you reduce or stop your dose, talk to your doctor.

It's also important to talk about managing your ED with the person you are having sex with. Keep in mind that penetration is not the only sexual activity that you can participate in. Engaging in more foreplay and mutual masturbation may help you maintain an erection longer and can help ensure that you and your partner are satisfied.

Summary

Erectile dysfunction can occur for many reasons, including age, medical conditions, and the use of substances or medications—one of which is Adderall.

In addition to being associated with ED in younger people with a penis, some of the other side effects of Adderall can contribute to reduced interest in sex.

A Word From Verywell

If you have Adderall erectile dysfunction, it's important to communicate openly with your doctor and your partners about your symptoms. There are ways you can manage the condition and work toward restoring a healthy sex life.

Never stop taking your Adderall suddenly or reduce your dose without talking to your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can Adderall improve sex drive? 

Some people report that Adderall increases their sex drive. However, it's more common for Adderall to be associated with a decreased sex drive and trouble getting or maintaining an erection.

You should never take Adderall without a prescription. Take the medication only as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

How does ADHD medication cause erectile dysfunction? 

It's not clear how ADHD medication like Adderall works, but what is known is that the drug changes neurotransmitters in the brain and affects the function of the cardiovascular system. Both of these effects can contribute to ED.

How do you get erect if you’re on Adderall? 

If you are taking Adderall and experience ED, you might be able to address the condition by making lifestyle changes, exploring different sexual activities, or taking medications to treat ED.

What are the other side effects of Adderall in adults?

In addition to ED, people taking Adderall may experience other side effects.

Commonly reported side effects of Adderall are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation, diarrhea, and nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Headache
  • Nervousness or irritability

If you're taking Adderall and the side effects are interfering with your life, talk to your doctor. You might be able to lower your dose, change to a different medication, or find strategies to cope with the side effects.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Updated April 15, 2019.

  2. Skarner, Anette. Amphetamine use and sexual practices. Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. April 12, 2017.

  3. Chou NH, Huang YJ, Jiann BP. The Impact of Illicit Use of Amphetamine on Male Sexual FunctionsJ Sex Med. 2015;12(8):1694-1702. doi:10.1111/jsm.12926