GERD (Acid Reflux) Community
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Avatar universal

Is there a link with Adderall and GERD (Acid Reflux)? Any prescription reccomendations?

I think I probably have Acid Reflux or Gerd though I am not sure how serious.  I am planning on addressing it with my Doctor but am not sure if I should wait until my next scheduled appointment in 2 months or sooner.  It is getting annoying and painful enough to where I may do it sooner.  I am wondering if anyone has had experience with Adderall XR or Wellbutrin XL and Reflux symptoms?  I started Wellbutrin about 6 months ago, and Adderall XR about 3-4 months ago.  I finally feel like I have the side effects under control for the most part.  A few weeks ago I noticed that I was burping almost consistently around the same time every night and if I stay up I typically get painful heartburn – though sometimes get it right away anyways and I feel like now it is starting to happen earlier in the evening.  I burp up acid and have a chronic deeper cough this last month – I thought I maybe had caught something from teaching in a school, but just realized that it is mainly worse at night/evening when I have the burping/acid symptoms.  I had terrible heartburn when pregnant for a while, but it is now sometimes almost worse, and the burping is constant - so super annoying!!  I don't even want to stay up and do homework or work because it is annoying and painful.  

I looked at the recommendations to make lifestyle changes first – but I rarely drink alcohol or eat chocolate or fried foods.  I don’t really eat spicy or acidic foods either.  And I typically do not have heavy meals since being on the Adderall XR – I actually probably do not eat enough since it takes away my hunger – I eat from 1-3 meals a day – I guess since the school year started I am eating more like 2-3 meals, where before I was lucky to eat one.  I have been trying to remember to drink more water but know I am far from where I should be.  I also am pretty stressed out most of the time (being a first time mom to a toddler, teaching my first year of special education and going to grad school.)  So there are a few different factors.  I have never posted to one of these things before but am just looking for feedback from other people who have had this issue while taking Adderall XR – did it go away?  Is it safe to take over the counter ant-acids like pepcid if you are experiencing symptoms EVERY NIGHT?   What prescriptions were you able to take with Adderall XL to help with these symptoms?  Any suggestions?  (Besides adding more fruit and veggies and water to my diet)    
3 Responses
620923 tn?1452919248
Everyone can react to meds diff...ne time u have a reaction or side effect call ur dr or pharmacist ASAP.

Adderall- do not use if  You have not tried other psychotherapy, have high blood pressure or any form of heart disease, are very nervous or have severe insomnia, have a history of addiction to drugs or alcohol, or have Tourette syndrome. Do not combine with monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
Common Side Effects
Dry Mouth
Loss of appetite
Difficulty falling asleep (insomnia)
Nervousness including agitation, anxiety and irritability
Less Common Side Effects
High blood pressure
Rapid pulse rate
Tolerance (constant need to raise the dose)
Feelings of suspicion and paranoia
Visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not there)
Cocaine craving
Dermatoses (infected or diseased skin)
Urinary tract infection
Infection or viral infection
Elevated ALT enzyme levels in the blood (signaling liver damage)

Wellbutrin XL Extended-Release Tablets

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome when using Wellbutrin XL Extended-Release Tablets:

Constipation; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; flushing; gas; headache; increased sweating; increased urination; loss of appetite; nausea; nervousness; restlessness; ringing in the ears; stomach pain; taste changes; trouble sleeping; vomiting; weakness; weight changes.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur when using Wellbutrin XL Extended-Release Tablets:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, unusual hoarseness); chest pain; confusion; dark urine; delusions; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; hallucinations; hearing problems or ringing in the ears; menstrual changes; muscle pain; new or worsening mental or mood changes (eg, concentration problems, depression, panic attacks, aggressiveness, agitation, anxiety, impulsiveness, irritability, hostility, exaggerated feeling of well-being, inability to sit still); red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; seizures; severe headache or dizziness; severe or persistent joint or muscle pain; severe or persistent nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain; severe or persistent nervousness, restlessness, or trouble sleeping; shortness of breath; suicidal thoughts or attempts; tremor; unusual swelling; vision changes; worsening depression; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Avatar universal
Hello, I've actually had this problem for a while now and seems to be related to high doses of amphetamine and/or caffeine (I usually need both when cramming in pharmacy school). Your post caught my eye because my symptoms do not behave like normal GERD or Acid Reflux. Instead, like you, I had constant burping or a feeling  of pressure that is only relieved by the occational "deep burp" and this was most bothersome around finals time when I'd be using both Adderall and Caffiene in large amount while also staying up late.

I am still searching for answers and have not been seen by a specialist but here are a few posts from other people that I plan on checking out later...

Post 1:
"I'm going to tell you exactly where the upset stomach/ bloated feeling/ constant burp feeling/ acid reflux is coming from when you take adderall. I experienced these same symptoms for a long time before I just couldn't take it anymore and finally did some researching.

My first thought was exactly what has been said so far on this thread. I knew the side effects I was experiencing were from acid reflux, and the first thing that comes to mind with acid reflux is acid reducers. So I immediately went to Tums, Maalox, Prevacid, etc. And like you have mentioned, it only slightly curbed the symtpoms for maybe a small amount of time, if any. I also tried these because it is said that since Adderall is a base substance, these products would enhance the absorption rate. But as I thought about it more and more, I realized I was already putting a base substance into my stomach on a daily basis as well as changing my eating habits drastically (because adderall suppressed my appetite the majority of the time).

So instead of looking for an acid reducer, I looked into the opposite direction.

As we get older, our stomach naturally reduces the amount of hydrochloric acid it produces. When we are consistently taking adderall, we are essentially further reducing the amount of acid in our stomachs and throwing off the ph levels. This is where the problems come from. When we eat, food is now not properly being digested because of the lack of acid to break it down. This is why is you feel bloated or have an upset stomach or always feel like you have a lot of gas in your stomach or always feel like you have to burp, that is a direct result of your food not digesting properly. And by taking tums, prevacid, maalox, etc. it actually makes your stomach even more deficient of the acid needed for digesting food. And actually I read that acid reflux is too commonly mis-diagnosed with acid reducers, when in actuality the acid reflux is being caused by insufficient acid in our stomachs. Look it up, its true.

I now take a dietary supplement called Betaine HCl with all big meals, or at least with one meal during the day. Betaine HCl tablets are digestive enzymes that actually increase the amount of acid in your stomach in order to digest food properly. Within the first few days I felt unbelievable relief, almost like it cleaned me out and finally processed all of that old food that was just sitting in my stomach. Give it a try, I will almost guarantee you this works. And you can keep on your normal schedule with taking adderall. You can buy them at any Vitamin or GNC type store. I got mine at the Vitamin Shoppe. Look it up online and read about it. It saved me big time. Hope this helps."

Post 2:
"I just found this thread after searching about the possibility of Adderall causing acid reflux. Without going into everything, I've been on Adderall for 16+ years and had reflux the entire time (and taking meds for it).

I just came out of the hospital after suffering 6 moths of gastrointestinal problems and all they found was that the entire gastric area was inflamed from throat to small intestine, and that I was, as the doctor so humorously put it, full of ----. In other words, my "waste" products weren't moving "out" very fast.

Coincidentally, just when this all began, I had switched from three 20 mg Adderall a day down to a single dose (split in half and taken twice a day). I just didn't need as much any more. The stomach pressure and bloating had started a couple weeks earlier and was similar to stomach problems (not really "stomach," more "intestinal") I'd had periodically for years without any of a dozen or so doctors finding the root of the problem. This was the first time, though, it had lasted so long, or got so bad. (This was all different than my ongoing reflux problem that I never even related to the Adderall until this very moment.)

I went into the hospital last week and stopped the Adderall, of course. They wanted to do an upper & lower GI after 4 days in so they put me on a 24-hour liquid diet and fed me a bunch of stuff to "clean me out."

Though I left without any answers, I decided that the 6 days without Adderall had proven no big deal and that I'd just quit altogether (I have other health problems that made it a good idea even though I certainly benefited from it.)

Anyway, it's now been 2 weeks and despite not finding anything "specific" except telling me to double my GERD meds (which I have yet to start), the gastro problems are MUCH better. And outside of bizarre "coincidence" the ONLY possible reason for that is my eliminating the one 20 mg Adderall every day.

I was sure that was the reason I felt better, but it made no sense so I decided to try to research it. I was led here as well as to other boards that shocked me by linking Adderall with GERD (you'd think after 16+ years that one of the many doctors who treated me for GERD and either proscribed the Adderall or were VERY aware i was getting it from another doctor, might have mentioned the tie-in, but as usual all the doctors i ever see about anything are virtually clueless.)

Anyway, i just found 2 separate sources that STUNNED me. One is:
Inhibition of gastric emptying and intestinal transit by amphetamine and the other is Cholecystokinin.

I won't get into all the reasons I was so blown away by all this, and the reasons why this made things finally make sense to me, but I wanted to at least take the time to post the links here. These two articles (one is just an abstract but the fuller version can be found, and the other is Wikipedia) "might" be as eye-opening for someone else as they were for me. If not, no big deal. Just ignore the links. But if so, they might lead you to info that no doctor was ever intelligent enough to even know about so they could have saved me a TON of problems (I won't go into them but will say they were rather unpleasant, lol.)

I never had any idea that the rather "harmless" Adderall (in most cases) could have such an impact on my gastrointestinal tract. I'd never even seen it mentioned before (though I admit I probably just glossed over it when reading about potential problems, lol).

The one "good" thing is that I know it has to be pretty uncommon (if doctors are clueless about it). But since people here are obviously having 'stomach" issues because of Adderall, I figured i might as well post what I found just in case anyone else ever gets into a situation like I've been through and happens to come across this.

I wasn't even going to bother following up with my gastro specialist since this has been just another waste of my time, but now I've decided I'm going to that appointment because i am VERY anxious to find out if I could possibly have hit on something that might have a huge (and positive) impact on my life."

I hope this helps and if you ever do find out more or find a solution,  
This is genius! How do you fix it, without stopping the Adderall? and are there other ADD meds that do not cause this?
Interesting!  I started having GERD-like symptoms four months ago, after halving the dose of Klonopin, an anti-anxiety drug that I've taken for twenty years. Very much like Sam, but from reducing a sedative rather than a stimulant. I think maybe our bodies get so used to this stuff but the whole rather than a stimulant. I think maybe our bodies get so used to this stuff that the whole nervous system gets riled up, and the effects show up in the GI tract. I don't think at all that the timing is coincidence, since I've been gastric sleeve perfectly healthy all my life, and this only showed up when I changed along last I don't think at all that the timing is coincidence, since I've been gastricly perfectly healthy all my life, and this only showed up when I changed a long standing drug regimen. If I had known, I would've never changed the damn dose!  Now I have to figure out a solution to a problem caused by what I thought was the wise decision to lower my intake of a powerful benzo!  Sheesh. Will look up your article, Sam.

Super late on this post.... I'll comment on the entire thing, but just a side note... I too never had gastro, reflux, or GERD issues and had a gastric sleeve done 6 years ago. And after a lot of testing and getting incredibly sick.... we discovered that my sleeve was just so small it created so much pressure and forced my acid up. It also gave me a hiatal hernia. It's very common among people who have the sleeve done...so keep that in mind! I just had a gastric bypass AND had the hernia removed and there's already an improvement!
Thanks for sharing that!  Would love to hear your whole story.  Glad you are improving!
18886416 tn?1469304968
I tried everything else, just like you
I have teenage twins and work, school, LIFE
I have tried other ADHD meds, all had too many side effects, adderal did not. Wellbutrin did make my lymph swell and give me muscle aches. Adderal works!
I was desperate to find a solution because I was diagnosed with all these gastro ailments and it was only getting worse.
At first ALOE GOLD worked really well, licorice root, ginger, also aided a LITTE but not much, OTC stuff hasn't had any results not even pepto bismal or liquid mylanta  . . .
I read somewhere about benadyl and shocking IT WORKED
I can't explain why! And if it starts making me sleepy, I take a half dose more of my adderal which seems to do the trick.
I am soooooo happy to finally have relief, hope it works for you too . . .

Another thing that's helped is 3 minutes of excercise on my floor focusing on chest and abdominal muscles . . .  here's a link on good chest excersizes just click on the arrow to scroll through 7 EASY things to do
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