Can You Take Adderall While Pregnant?

Adderall is a first-line medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The main ingredients are amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Amphetamines are known to have a high risk of abuse and thus should Adderall be avoided in pregnancy?

Key takeaways:
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    There are insufficient studies to evaluate the safety and risks of Adderall during pregnancy.
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    Adderall has been associated with low birth weight, premature delivery, and withdrawal symptoms in babies.
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    Safe alternatives such as meditation, neurotherapy, and exercise are available for controlling ADHD symptoms.
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    If medications are necessary, tricyclic antidepressants, bupropion, and clonidine are safer alternatives to Adderall.
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    It is important to discuss the use of all medications, especially Adderall, with your doctor prior to or once becoming pregnant.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a stimulant medication used in the treatment of ADHD. It is composed of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine salts. It works by increasing certain chemicals (norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine) in the brain.

The increase in these neurotransmitters or chemicals act to activate or stimulate the brain. By doing this, they have been shown to reduce impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity in ADHD.

Is Adderall safe during pregnancy?

Adderall has been classified by the FDA as a pregnancy category C medication. This means there are insufficient human studies evaluating its use in pregnant women, however, animal studies have shown a risk to the fetus. Therefore, the use of Adderall must be determined by whether its benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the baby.

Can you take Adderall while pregnant?

If your ADHD symptoms are severe and significantly impact daily functioning, then continuing Adderall may be indicated. This decision needs to be made only after a discussion with your obstetrician.

However, in mild to moderate ADHD, discontinuing Adderall during pregnancy is recommended.

Can you take a lower dose of Adderall while pregnant?

The risk of Adderall to the baby is not fully understood and if there is a safe dosage to be taken during pregnancy. Even at lower doses, the baby is exposed to amphetamines and the risks may still be present.

Can you occasionally take Adderall while pregnant?

The amount of Adderall or length of exposure has not been fully studied. Therefore the occasional use still places the baby at risk and thus is not recommended.

Can you take Adderall during the first trimester?

Although one study showed no significant effects on birth weight when stopped before the 28th week of pregnancy. It is not sufficient to recommend Adderall for use in early pregnancy.

During early pregnancy, many vital structures are developing and exposure to Adderall could be detrimental.

What are the risks of Adderall during pregnancy?

The use of Adderall during pregnancy has been associated with low birth weight and premature delivery. This is thought to be due to the constriction of blood vessels in the placenta.

Additionally, Adderall is associated with adverse effects that can produce undesirable symptoms in the mother. These include high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, and loss of appetite. All of which can have adverse effects on the pregnancy.

A recent study found Adderall to be associated with three birth defects, gastroschisis, omphalocele, and transverse limb deficiency. However, this study was limited by small sample sizes.

Finally, amphetamines are addictive and their use can produce withdrawal symptoms in babies after delivery. These symptoms can include irritability, problems feeding, and sleepiness. As well as, long-term behavioral symptoms such as learning and memory deficits.

What can I do or take instead of Adderall?

Non-medication, safe alternatives do exist to help mothers control ADHD symptoms during pregnancy.

Meditation can help reduce anxiety, improve focus, and help improve decision-making in ADHD patients.

Neurotherapy sessions can provide feedback to help mothers manage symptoms and improve their daily functioning.

Exercise can provide beneficial effects in controlling ADHD symptoms such as impulsivity and focusing. It can also promote a healthy pregnancy.

If medications are deemed necessary, there are safer options. Tricyclic antidepressants, bupropion, and clonidine have shown beneficial effects in treating ADHD. They also have more evidence supporting their safe use during pregnancy.

However, it is important to talk to your physician before starting any new medications while pregnant.

Adderall is associated with risks to the developing baby and thus it is generally recommended to stop taking Adderall while pregnant. Discussing the risk and benefits of taking Adderall with your OB doctor is necessary to determine what is right for you. However, there are safe alternatives available to manage your ADHD symptoms.