Can I Take Adderall While Breastfeeding?

Woman looking at pills

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It's estimated that roughly 4% of people over 18 in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD. Adderall (dextroamphetamine-amphetamine) is one of the most commonly prescribed medications to treat the disorder, and the number of women between 15 and 44 who filled a prescription for Adderall rose a whopping 344% between 2003 and 2015. With that in mind, you might be curious if it is considered safe to continue managing your ADHD with Adderall while breastfeeding.

ADHD is a chronic condition characterized by symptoms like hyperactivity, attention difficulty, and impulsiveness. Adderall, considered a stimulant medication, is used to address these issues.

The answer as to whether or not it is safe to take Adderall while breastfeeding isn't so straightforward, says Carly Snyder, MD, a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist and member of the Verywell Family review board. While she has patients who do breastfeed while taking the medication, it's at their own comfort level knowing that there isn't a lot of data about the potential risks.

"I think it's a risk-benefit discussion," says Dr. Snyder. "If someone was on Adderall during pregnancy, theoretically the risk is slightly lower. Ultimately our biggest issue is not that we know of the danger, but, in contrast, that we don't know enough. I think as a general rule in our society, we very much minimize the negative impact that untreated ADHD can have on parents. To be able to function is imperative, so when taking Adderall while breastfeeding it's really about how to minimize risk, not avoid risk."

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is the brand name for a prescription drug used to treat ADHD. It essentially acts as a stimulant medication targeting the central nervous system. Its purpose is to address the three main complaints of those living with ADHD, so it aims to increase one's attention or ability to focus, decrease impulsivity, and also lessen hyperactivity.

It can also be used to treat narcolepsy, which is a chronic sleep disorder that typically results in extreme drowsiness during the day and almost impulsive sleep sessions that seem to set in out of nowhere.

Prescribed doses of Adderall depend on the severity of a patient's symptoms. Some pills are in an extended-release form and only need to be taken once a day, while others may need to be ingested two or three times daily.

Is It Safe to Take Adderall While Breastfeeding?

As Dr. Snyder mentioned earlier, there really isn't enough data available to determine Adderall's effects on breastfeeding. "Most studies show that there is no direct effect of Adderall on infants who are breastfed," says Marco Mouanness, MD, an OBGYN at Rejuvenating Fertility Center in New York City. It's important to have a conversation with your healthcare provider to weigh the risks and the rewards of using the medication during this time.

"Unfortunately, we don't have much in the way of very good studies," says Dr. Snyder. "However, there's really no reason to assume that regular dosing would have any particular impact on the infant. At higher doses, there's definitely some question about whether or not milk production can go down. But that would be at significantly higher doses than most women take."

Potential Benefits of Adderall While Breastfeeding

Adjusting to life as a new parent takes time. It's a transitional period that has its ups and downs, like so many things in life. If your prescribed Adderall dosage helped you to focus and lessen your impulsivity before tackling the adventure of parenthood, it may be just as effective (if not even more necessary) now.

"I truly think that if you have ADHD you need a stimulant, [Adderall might be a good option]," says Dr. Snyder. "From a purely emotional standpoint [people with ADHD] can find themselves feeling ineffective without it. There can be difficulty with organizational skills or seeing things through [without it]."

Every breastfeeding journey is different. Be sure to consult with a healthcare provider about your circumstances if you have any questions about taking Adderall while breastfeeding.

Safety Precautions

Whether or not you choose to take Adderall while breastfeeding will depend on your personal comfort level and a conversation with your healthcare provider. As with any drug, there are certain safety precautions to consider as you weigh the risks and benefits associated with Adderall.

Watch Your Milk Supply

If you're concerned about how the medication may affect your milk supply, check your dosage.

"Large dosages of amphetamine might interfere with milk production, especially in women whose lactation is not well established," says Dr. Mouanness. "Otherwise, daily Adderall therapeutic dosage has not been shown to affect milk production or supply."

Stay Within Your Prescribed Dose

Don't go rogue when it comes to your prescribed dosage of Adderall. If you feel you need more or less, talk to your provider.

"It is important for a breastfeeding mother to use her medication as prescribed to minimize infant exposure," says Dr. Mouanness. "Non-stimulant medications may sound appealing while breastfeeding, but their transfer into breastmilk can be higher or unstudied."

Monitor Your Baby

If you have any concerns about whether or not the medication is affecting your child, take note of their behavior.

"It is prudent to monitor a child who is breastfeeding from a mother who is on Adderall," says Dr. Mouanness. "Some of the signs to look for are agitation, hyperactivity, insomnia, decreased appetite, weight change, and tremors." If you notice any of these signs, contact your pediatrician.

When Can I Resume Taking Adderall?

If you choose not to take Adderall while breastfeeding, consult with your healthcare provider to make a decision about the best course of action. The dosage they recommend once you've stopped breastfeeding may be different than what they prescribed before.

Do not begin taking any medication again, even one that you have previously taken, until you have guidance from a physician who knows your personal health history.

A Word From Verywell

ADHD can make daily functioning challenging, and Adderall is one way to manage it. If you took Adderall before you became pregnant or during your pregnancy, you may be able to continue doing so while breastfeeding. While there are no known effects of Adderall on a breastfeeding baby, there is also limited research in this area, so there are possible unknown risks. Choosing whether or not to take Adderall while breastfeeding is a decision for you and your healthcare provider to make together.

4 Sources
Verywell Family 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.
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  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dramatic increase in ADHD prescriptions filled by reproductive-age women. January 18, 2018.

  3. Sinita E, Coghill D. The use of stimulant medications for non-core aspects of ADHD and in other disorders. Neuropharmacology. 2014;87. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2014.06.014

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By Kelly Kamenetzky
Kelly Kamenetzky is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer/editor with more than a decade of experience covering the parenting and family space. She enjoys connecting with experts in the parenting field and delivering impactful recommendations on family issues. She is also a mother of three.