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Is It Okay to Mix Adderall & Methadone?

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Feb 20, 2024 • 7 cited sources

Mixing Adderall and methadone together without a doctor’s instruction can be dangerous. While some patients can and should be on the medications together, this should always be done with medical supervision. 

Quick Facts on Adderall & Methadone

Adderall and Methadone are medications used to treat two different conditions–namely ADHD and substance use disorder. Some patients may have both conditions and require treatment for both, which means they may be on these two medications at the same time. While this certainly can be done safely, it should be done under medical supervision. 

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a brand-name medication containing dextroamphetamine and amphetamine.[1] The medication is used to treat difficult symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), including an inability to focus and remain still.[1] Adderall is also used to treat the sleep disorder narcolepsy in people 12 and older.[1]

Adderall works by increasing the chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. While the medication is effective, it can cause serious side effects, including strokes and heart attacks. Doctors will monitor you during treatment to ensure you stay healthy.[4]

What Is Methadone?

Methadone is a long-acting opioid approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat OUD. When taken as prescribed in Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) programs, methadone is safe and effective. It reduces opioid cravings and blocks the action of other opioids.[5]

Common side effects associated with methadone include restlessness, nausea and itchy skin. If you take too much, you may also feel sedated and struggle to breathe. Your doctor will monitor your health during treatment and ensure you’re doing well.[5]

Dangers of Combining Adderall & Methadone

Some individuals are prescribed both methadone and Adderall simultaneously. This is generally safe to do particularly under the careful supervision of a doctor. In fact, some studies suggest that people with ADHD are more likely to stay in MAT programs if they have Adderall too.[6]

However, combining Adderall and methadone can come with serious risks, including the following:[7]

  • Vasoconstriction
  • Slow breathing rates
  • Respiratory failure
  • Overdoses

If you’re using methadone and Adderall simultaneously, a doctor should monitor your progress and ensure you’re healthy and doing well.

Do People Misuse These Drugs Purposefully?

Some people combine stimulants and opioids to get high. This is referred to colloquially as speedballing.[3] If a person misuses and speedballs their methadone and Adderall, they may experience a number of dangerous health risks.

While the interactions aren’t clearly understood, experts say that stimulants cause tight blood vessels, increasing the body’s need for oxygen. At the same time, opioids cause slow breathing rates, so that need for more can’t be met.[7]

While anyone who misuses drugs could face an overdose, a combination can make the problems more likely and the outcomes more severe.

Is Mixing Adderall & Methadone Ever Safe?

Yes, potentially. There are a number of patients who may have both ADHD and may also struggle with opioid use, and thus might benefit from both medications. Generally, it is safe to combine these medications so long as the therapy is done under the supervision of a physician.

However, it is NEVER safe to combine these medications without a prescription. If you do combine these medications either with or without a prescription, you should always speak to your doctor openly and honestly so that they can counsel you appropriately about the risks, benefits, and warning signs to look out for.

Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD

Peter Manza, PhD received his BA in Psychology and Biology from the University of Rochester and his PhD in Integrative Neuroscience at Stony Brook University. He is currently working as a research scientist in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the role ... Read More

Sources
  1. Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601234.html. April 2019. Accessed August 2022.
  2. Methadone. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682134.html. February 2021. Accessed August 2022. 
  3. “Speedballing”: Mixing Stimulants and Opioids. The Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association. https://www.mncourts.gov/mncourtsgov/media/High-Profile-Cases/27-CR-20-12646/Exhibit1708282020.pdf. August 2020. Accessed August 2022.
  4. Adderall Label. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/011522s043lbl.pdf. January 2017. Accessed January 2024.
  5. Methadone. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://www.samhsa.gov/medications-substance-use-disorders/medications-counseling-related-conditions/methadone. September 2023. Accessed January 2024.
  6. Prescription Amphetamines in People with Opioid Use Disorder and Co-Occurring Psychostimulant Use Disorder Initiating Buprenorphine: An Analysis of Treatment Retention and Overdose Risk. BMJ. https://mentalhealth.bmj.com/content/26/1/e300728.abstract. July 2023. Accessed January 2024.
  7. Editorial: A Changing Epidemic and the Rise of Opioid-Stimulant Co-Use. Frontiers in Psychiatry. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.918197/full. July 2022. Accessed January 2024.

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