Creatine and Adderall: Are They Safe To Combine?

Adderall, a controlled substance prescribed for ADHD treatment, is also a performance-enhancing drug. On the other hand, Creatine is a popular supplement used for muscle growth. How do these drugs/supplements work? Can creatine and Adderall be combined? This blog discusses why you shouldn’t combine creatine and Adderall.
Klara Hatinova

Klara Hatinova

Klara is postgraduate researcher in experimental psychology at the
University of Oxford.

A blue image with text saying "Creatine and Adderall"

Can you combine creatine and Adderall?

Adderall should only be taken when prescribed, and supplementing with creatine should be done cautiously. Make sure to monitor your symptoms to see if creatine is altering the effects of Adderall.

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid crucial to the body's energy production. Primarily stored in the skeletal muscles as phosphocreatine, creatine generates adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body's primary energy currency. Creatine is used mainly during high-intensity, short-duration exercises like weightlifting or sprinting, where glucose cannot reach the muscle quickly [1, 2].

Creatine is synthesized in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. It can also be obtained through dietary sources, mainly from animal products like red meat and fish or supplements [2, 3].

Creatine's metabolite, creatinine, is a standard measure in blood tests. A normal range is between 0.7 to 1.3 mg/dL in men and 0.6 to 1.1 mg/dL in women. A value above this can indicate kidney problems, excretion deficits or dehydration.

Creatine supplements, available in powders, liquids, and tablets, are popular among athletes and bodybuilders for their potential to enhance athletic performance. They work by increasing the amount of creatine available in your muscles, which may help generate more energy, increase muscle mass, and improve strength and power [2, 5].

In addition to its role in physical performance, creatine has been studied for its potential therapeutic benefits in neurodegenerative diseases, congestive heart failure, and certain metabolic disorders. Preliminary evidence suggests that creatine could support muscle wasting, which would help across these conditions. However, the proof of these benefits is still preliminary, and more research is needed [6, 7].

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription medication that is primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sometimes narcolepsy, a condition characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness [8, 9, 10, 11]. It is a combination of two drugs, dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, which are central nervous system stimulants [9, 10, 11].

Adderall works by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, two critical neurotransmitters in your brain [8, 9, 11]. This stimulates your central nervous system, increasing energy levels and alertness and improving concentration, memory, and organization [9, 11].

Adderall is a brand name of the generic amphetamine salt combo, which has the same effects as Adderall [11].

Important

Adderall is a controlled substance that can be highly addictive and has the potential to be abused. It should only be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Combining Creatine and Adderall: Pros and Cons

There have not been any direct studies looking at the physiological effects of combining creatine and Adderall, or amphetamines, in humans.

Critically, Adderall is a controlled substance, which would flag positive on doping tests, compared to creatine, which is a nutritional supplement available for widespread use [12].

Creatine supplementation can also have effects on cognitive abilities, but the evidence is mixed. Some studies show potential benefits while others find no significant impact.

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Klara Hatinova

Klara Hatinova

Klara is a postgraduate researcher in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford. She has worked across a spectrum of hot topics in neuroscience, including her current project measuring reinforcement learning strategies in Parkinson’s disease. Previously, she studied the efficacy of psilocybin as a therapy for critical mental health conditions and examined molecular circadian rhythms of migraine disorders. She completed her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow and participated in a year abroad at the University of California, where she worked on a clinical trial for spinal cord injury.