According to experts, the drug works by sending out brain signals that the body has reached satiety, which in turn decreases appetite. The medication is also associated with improved metabolism, increased energy and dopamine levels, better cognitive health and self-control.
In fact, the drug was actually known to inhibit body mass index growth on certain occasions. A study published in 2014 revealed that the stimulant drug was able to curb weight gain in children with ADHD. To carry out the study, researchers pooled data from the Geisinger Health System with a total cohort population of 163,820 Pennsylvania children aged three to 18 years old. The research team found a constant correlation between un-medicated ADHD and higher BMI in children. However, the use of stimulant drugs such as Adderall was associated with slower BMI growth in children.
"The study provides the first longitudinal evidence that ADHD during childhood not treated with stimulants was associated with higher childhood BMIs. In contrast, ADHD treated with stimulants was associated with slower early BMI growth but a rebound later in adolescence to levels above children without a history of ADHD or stimulant use. The findings have important clinical and neurobiological implications," the researchers wrote in Pediatrics, the flagship publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Despite these seemingly positive effects, the scientific community continue to discourage the use of Adderall for weight loss -- and for good reasons.
As impressive as these weight loss data might be, the FDA has yet to grant approval for Adderall as a weight loss agent. In contrast, the federal agency has actually issued a boxed warning against the drug, indicating the Adderall use would likely result in drug dependence. According to Dr. Carl Knopke, a board of trustees member at the Obesity Medicine Association, Adderall is a type of amphetamine. This is the same compound that is seen in crystal meth. Dr. Knopke noted that the drug contains a similar effect as that of the illegal compound: increased energy and reduced appetite.
According to experts, Adderall users who take the drug for weight loss were at an increased risk of medication abuse, addiction and dependence. Experts said taking hold of the potentially effective weight loss drug may prompt people to be more impulsive and may take the drug in higher doses to speed up the effect. People who did not readily achieve their target weight loss during the first few phases of Adderall intake may continuously increase their doses to attain their goals. The experts also cautioned that the subsequent weight loss and the apparent positive outcome such as improved cognitive performance and pleasurable mental effects may lead people into continuing their drug intake.
Health experts also noted that the effects of Adderall do not persist for a long time. According to scientists, the longer a person takes the drug, the less pronounced the weight loss effects become. As a result, people may resort to increasing their doses to see their weight loss results. This may continue until the user reaches the tipping point of Adderall dosage. The experts also noted that weight loss seen in Adderall users may actually be more related to muscle loss.