Because Adderall and cocaine work in similar ways, they have additive effects when combined, meaning that their side effects amplify and the risk of serious effects greatly increases.

People commonly abuse cocaine and Adderall due to their addictive, stimulant properties. Because cocaine and Adderall work in similar ways, they have additive effects when combined, meaning that their side effects amplify and the risk of serious effects greatly increases. This risk includes the effects that these drugs can have on the heart and brain. For this reason, mixing Adderall and cocaine is very dangerous.

Like cocaine, Adderall increases levels of norepinephrine and dopamine, as well as epinephrine but to a lesser extent. Because it works similarly to cocaine, it produces some of the same effects. Increased concentration and focus treats symptoms of ADHD, and the stimulant effects can also prevent sleep attacks that occur in narcolepsy. It also can produce a feeling of euphoria due to the drug’s effects on dopamine levels.

Article at a Glance:

  • Cocaine and Adderall are addictive stimulants that work in similar ways and produce similar effects
  • Combining the two results in amplifying the dangerous, short- and long-term side effects of each
  • Short-term effects include cardiovascular overload leading to potential chest pain, heart attack or stroke
  • Additional short-term effects include panic, paranoia, seizures or coma
  • Long-term effects include brain damage, increased addiction risk, and withdrawal effects
  • Due to the dangerous effects of the combination, do not mix cocaine with Adderall

Side Effects of Mixing Cocaine and Adderall

Cocaine and Adderall work in the same way, so they have very similar effects on the body. When taken together, the adderall side effects and the cocaine side effects are amplified, potentially to excessive levels. While a person may experience amplified focus and euphoria, the combination overloads the cardiovascular system to dangerous levels.

Short-term Side Effects Cocaine and Adderall

Short-term effects include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

These effects are caused by overstimulation of the cardiovascular system. Cocaine can cause blood vessels that feed the heart to constrict. Constricted blood vessels combined with increased oxygen demand from a rapid heart rate lead to dangerously low levels of oxygen delivered to the heart, potentially resulting in angina (chest pain), heart attack or blood clots that can lead to stroke.

If you experience chest pain while using cocaine, Adderall or the two together, contact emergency medical help immediately, as this can be a sign of cocaine or Adderall overdose.

According to NIH, regular users build tolerance to a great degree, so new or naive users who take the dose of their more experienced friends are at the immediate risk of an overdose. Fatal overdoses can be particularly common when this combination is taken with other substances, especially injected heroin (known as a “snowball” or “speedball”) or alcohol.

Drug overdose can be fatal. If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately. Do NOT be afraid to seek help. If you do not have access to a phone, contact Web Poison Control Services  for online assistance.

Additional short-term effects of combining cocaine and Adderall include:

  • Panic, paranoia or anxiety
  • Tremors or muscle twitches
  • Seizure
  • Coma

Long-term Effects of Cocaine and Adderall

While many short-term effects of the combination are a medical emergency, there are also long-term effects to consider. These include:

  • Permanent damage to gray matter in the brain
  • Increased addiction risk and tolerance
  • Withdrawal effects when stopping either drug, including tiredness, anxiety, lack of pleasurable feelings or paranoia

The short- and long-term effects of combining cocaine and Adderall are dangerous. Never misuse drugs and always adhere to the Adderall prescription that is given to you by your doctor.

Key Differences Between Adderall vs. Cocaine

Although the two drugs are both stimulants and work in very similar ways, Adderall and cocaine are different in some key ways. Adderall is an amphetamine, which is a class of synthetically-derived drugs. Cocaine, on the other hand, is not an amphetamine but a stimulant that comes from a South American plant called the Erythroxylon coca. Amphetamines tend to have much longer durations of action than cocaine, while cocaine is removed from and almost completely metabolized in the body relatively quickly.

Find the Help You Need

If you or a loved one live with an addiction to cocaine or Adderall, consider seeking professional help. Using safe and proven treatment methods, The Recovery Village helps people address their addictions and any co-occurring disorders. Take the first step toward a healthier future and contact a representative at The Recovery Village today.

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Editor – Thomas Christiansen
With over a decade of content experience, Tom produces and edits research articles, news and blog posts produced for Advanced Recovery Systems. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Nathan Jakowski, PharmD
Nate Jakowski is a clinical pharmacist specializing in drug information and managed care. He completed his Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Wisconsin. Read more

Genus Life Sciences. “Cocaine Hydrochloride Package Insert.” June, 2018. Accessed April 9, 2019.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Cocaine.” May 2016. Accessed April 9, 2019.

Shire US Manufacturing, Inc. “Adderall XR Package Insert.” November 2018. Accessed April 9, 2019.

Sobic, Elizabeth. “Cocaine and amphetamine combined.” Published June 5, 2004. Accessed April 9, 2019.

Connolly, Colm et al. “Dissociated Grey Matter Changes with Pro[…]nce in Cocaine Users.” March 13, 2013. Accessed April 9, 2019.

NIDA. “How is methamphetamine different from ot[…]ts, such as cocaine?.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, April 13, 2021. Accessed October 29, 2021.

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.