Long-term Adderall misuse can damage the kidneys, brain, heart and liver. Excessive Adderall abuse can even lead to kidney failure and require a transplant.

While Adderall does have therapeutic value for certain people, it’s frequently misused as well, including taking it without a prescription, taking larger doses or more often than prescribed.

There are serious risks associated with both short-term and long-term Adderall use, particularly with kidney function. The following provides an overview of what to know about the connection between Adderall and kidney health.

The Relationship Between Adderall Use & Kidney Health

There is in fact a link between drug misuse and kidney function. The kidneys remove waste, filter blood and remove extra water to create urine. The kidneys also release three vital hormones: erythropoietin, renin and a form of Vitamin D.

Excessive and long-term Adderall usage can cause kidney damage by overworking them. Since the drug is a diuretic, meaning it causes the body to remove more water than it should. When there is less fluid in the bloodstream, toxins reach the kidneys in higher concentrations than normal.

Misuse can also cause hyperthermia, which is when body temperature increases to a dangerous level. This can lead to dehydration, which puts excess stress on the kidneys.

Long-Term Adderall Use & Kidney Pain

The FDA recently approved labeling changes for ADHD drugs and added rhabdomyolysis to the list of possible adverse side effects. This is a condition that causes the breakdown of muscle fibers. When this happens, a protein called myoglobin is released, which damages kidneys while they attempt to filter it from the blood.

Some of the symptoms of rhabdomyolysis include:

  • Tenderness
  • Pain
  • Spasms
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle cramps

When someone suffers from rhabdomyolysis, it can cause kidney damage and kidney failure. In some instances, if there is kidney damage or failure due to long-term Adderall use or an Adderall overdose, a person may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Experiencing kidney pain after large amounts of this drug or over long-term use may be a sign of this serious side effect.

Effects of Adderall Misuse on Other Organs

Some people may believe the drug is relatively harmless, but this is untrue. Adderall can damage many organs, including the braincardiovascular system, liver and kidneys.

When someone uses it excessively, it can cause seizures and problems with the body’s internal temperature regulation system. This can cause overheating, which can then lead to everything from nausea and sweating to permanent brain damage.

If you or a loved one is struggling with Adderall misuse, The Recovery Village can help. Contact a representative to learn more about treatment plans and programs that can work well with your needs.

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Editor – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS, CACP
Dr. Sheehy completed his BS in Molecular Biology at the University of Idaho and went on to complete his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) at the University of Washington in Seattle. Read more

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts.” June 2018. Accessed June 19, 2020.

Food and Drug Administration. “Adderall.” January 2017. Accessed June 19, 2020.

Mansoor, K., Kheetan, M., Shahnawaz, S., Shapiro, A., Patton-Tackett, E., Dial, L., . . . Khitan, Z. December 29, 2017. “Systematic review of nephrotoxicity of d[…] of abuse, 2005-2016.” Accessed July 07, 2020.

Bowyer, J., & Hanig, J. November 14, 2014. “Amphetamine- and methamphetamine-induced[…]brain neurotoxicity.” Accessed on July 7, 2020.

Cleveland Clinic. December 4, 2019. “Rhabdomyolysis.” Accessed on July 7, 2020.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.