Will Ritalin or Adderall Show up on a Drug Test Kit?

Will Ritalin Show up on a Drug Test Kit?

Millions of people today, both adolescents and adults have diagnosed with a kind of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. Most of those who are diagnosed with this condition are prescribed medication, usually prescription drugs like Adderall or Ritalin.  What are these drugs, and what kind of effect do they have on the body? Should those who are subject to drug screenings concerned if they are regularly taking these medications?


Ritalin is a Methylphenidate. Adderall is a mixture is composed of equal parts racemic amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.  These drugs are categorized as stimulants. Both of these stimulants are used many times to treat conditions such as narcolepsy as well as treat ADHD. Today, many of us are at least fairly aware of these drug names. At the very least; what they are prescribed for.

However, how common are these drugs? Methylphenidate’s like Ritalin, for instance, was the 47th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States in 2017, with more than 16 million prescriptions.

In 2012, roughly 16 million Adderall prescriptions were written for adults between ages 20 and 39. Though these statistics are several years dated, this does give us some insight as to how many in the United States are on medical stimulants.

How do Stimulants Work?

Taking stimulants isn’t like taking an antibiotic to cure an infection, it’s like wearing glasses so you can see, though the glasses don’t cure your vision problems.

With that said, it’s important to understand how the stimulants work, and specifically what part of the body they affect. Stimulants are effective in treating ADHD mainly because the drug increases chemical levels in the brain that cause the subject to more alert and focused.

One of these chemicals is dopamine.  Dopamine is associated with the ‘feel-good’ responses.  The brain releases this chemical after we partake in a rewarding experience like sexual activity or eating food items that we crave.

The other chemical that Stimulants effect is norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is released into the bloodstream naturally as a response to stress.  This chemical can also increase blood pressure and heart rate as well as increase the production of sugar.  Increased heart rate and high blood pressure are some of the known side effects of taking stimulants, so this is important to keep in mind.

Will Ritalin or Adderall Show Up On a Drug Test?

Many who have found themselves subject to a drug screening are concerned if stimulants would show a positive read on a drug test.  Because a large portion of the population is prescribed stimulant medication for conditions like narcolepsy, depression, and adult attention disorders, this is a reasonable concern.

When it comes to a standard drug test kit issued for either employment or regulatory screening purposes, would a drug like Ritalin or Adderall detected?

Adderall, as mentioned, is a mixture is composed of equal parts racemic amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.  If someone is taking a standard urine drug testing kit, perhaps one of the popular choices like the 12 Panel Urine Drug Test, Adderall may detected.  Why?

Consider the components of a urine drug test. The 12 Panel Urine Drug Test detects up to 12 different kinds of drugs. These drugs are listed below:

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Will Adderall Be Detected?

If someone is using a drug test kit or submitting a drug screening, or any test that detects Amphetamine levels stimulants like Adderall will likely show up.  What can someone expect for the detection time of Adderall? How long does Adderall stay in the system? 

Adderall detection time based on the method of drug testing:

  • Urine: Adderall can be detected in urine for three days but may not be detectable for three hours after ingestion.
  • Blood: Adderall can be detected in the blood for about 24 hours.
  • Saliva: Adderall can be detected in saliva for 48 hours, but may not show up until an hour after ingestion.
  • Hair: Adderall can be detected in hair follicles up to a month, but may not be present until a week or two after ingestion.

Will Ritalin Be Detected?

The same can expected of Ritalin when it comes to taking a urine drug test.  In fact, any urine drug testing kit that is designed to detect Amphetamines will likely detect drugs like Ritalin. What are some examples of Amphetamines?


  • amphetamine sulfate (speed, whizz, gooey)
  • methamphetamine (crank, crystal, meth, crystal meth, rock, ice)
  • dexamphetamine and other drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy (dexies, RitalinAdderall, Vyvanse, Focalin, Concerta)
Will Ritalin or Adderall Show Up On a Drug Test

Preparing for a Drug Test/Drug Screening

If you find yourself in the position of going through a drug screening or perhaps having to take a urine drug test, it’s always good to aware of what drugs these tests are actually designed to detect. True, many of the drug test kits that you can purchase easily detect chemicals relating to the most commonly abused drugs, like Fentanyl and Heroin.

However, more care needs to taken on the administrator’s part to ascertain whether the donor is on prescription medication.  A perfect example of this is the consideration needed to evaluate a drug test that reads positive for amphetamines.

The drug test administrator would have to determine whether additional verification is needed for said results, especially if the individual is on prescription stimulant medication.

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