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  #1  
Old 11-28-07, 12:34 AM
relux relux is offline
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Nicotine and adderall?

Hello everyone. Ive been reading over the posts and have found some great information! I have a bit of a problem myself. I am 27 and have been taking Adderal for about 5 years or so. I started off at 20mg a day and it worked great for about 4 years. I took it in the morning and it got me through the day with no loss of concentration or being tired. Throughout this time I did have a loss of appetite but I knew how to deal with it and make sure i stayed healthy by eating right. Now, I quit smoking about a year ago and it seems ever since then the adderal stopped working. I am always hungry, I am tired almost all day and very tired at around 3pm and can barely keep eyes open. My doctor upped my dosage to a 20mg in the morning and then a 10 in the afternoon..now its up to 20mg in the morning and 20mg in the afternoon. Still same result..no motivation, nothing. Somedays it seems to work okay but nowhere near where it used to. Ive also gained about 20 pounds as well.

I have tried everything..ive tried taking vitamins, taking it on a full stomach, empty stomach, later in the day, etc. I cant seem to get it to work the same way it did. My doctor has now said I could switch to Concerta or Straterra. Any thoughts on this? Any relation to not smoking and adderal?

I would love to hear any comments!
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Old 11-28-07, 03:45 PM
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Re: Nicotine and adderall?

I haven't heard of a connection but someone else might have.

I think changing your meds might be a good idea. Sometimes if you're on one for a while it'll lose some of its effectiveness. I think it's worth trying the two meds you mentioned.
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Old 11-28-07, 03:59 PM
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Re: Nicotine and adderall?

I agree with ozchris.. I'm not too sure you quitting the ciggs actually stopped the meds from working.. you may have just noticed it more that you were clear of nicotine; which can amp some individuals up..

My assumption is to listen to your doc and try something else to see if it works..

Good Luck!
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Old 11-28-07, 04:21 PM
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Re: Nicotine and adderall?

I would switch and I suggest trying Concerta first.
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Old 11-28-07, 05:28 PM
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Re: Nicotine and adderall?

First let me say that I'm by no means an expert on the brain and in the neurosciences. What I'm about to say is from memory and is a rough account of what happens and is not accurate and definitely oversimplified. I know I'll be getting this all wrong, so this is just an appoximation of what's going on, from reading about it a long time ago.

A drug can't make you experience a feeling to a greater degree than what your body is capable of experiencing. Take for example pain. Pain is a feeling created by messages sent through nerves to the pain-sensing center of your brain. Nerves relay messages from one nerve to the other until it reaches its destination. The relay of the message is done at a location called 'synapses', which you can think of as the connection point of two nerve cells.

What happens is when a nerve cell is stimulated by some event, the 'end' of the nerve cell quickly secretes a chemical component. This component is received by the 'beginning' (or receptor) of the adjacent nerve cell that the 'end' is connected to. Now, the particular chemical component has a specific shape, and the many receptors have different shapes as well. Think of the receptors as 'holes' and the chemical as shapes. The shape can only go in matching (or closely-matching) holes, the same way that a cube won't fit in a spherical hole, and a sphere won't fit in a triangular hole.

The process of secretion and reception is what causes our nerves to communicate and the message making it from the limbs to the brain and back to our limbs. How much is secreted and how many receptors are available are an important factor in how intense the experience of pain is.

So, if you're a drug company and you want to create a pain killer, what's your approach? Maybe you could try disabling the part of the brain that processes pain, or maybe you could try turning down the speed at which the particular 'pain component' is secreted, or you could try to block the message from making its way to the brain by covering the particular receptors with a component that fits as a lid so that the natural secretion of the pain component cannot connect to the receptor and so the message doesn't get sent.

Your body in fact produces a natural painkiller (endorphins) which acts by putting a lid on the pain receptors. Morphine, heroin and other opiates are essentially nothing but a chemical component that resembles endorphins in their chemical structure (i.e. shape) and act as an effective lid on the pain receptors, thereby reducing the amount of pain messages sent to the brain.

Endorphins are secreted constantly to regulate the amount of pain that someone experiences. When morphine or other opiates are in the body, endorphins don't get secreted because the pain threshold that triggers its secretion is not reached. This explains the severe withdrawal symptoms when someone comes off opiates: not only are the artificial drugs leaving your body, but your body has been trained to secrete much less endorphins than naturally, hence the person experiences a lot of pain until the endorphins have time to 'catch up' back to their natural levels. So, everytime a cell dies, which happens millions (billions?) of times a day, you'd feel it without endorphins. Ouch.

Yes I do have a point....

The medicines that we take for ADHD are generally " reuptake inhibitors". These drugs essentially inhibit the 'recycling' of the secreted substance, lengthening the amount of time that the secreted substance lingers in the nerve cell receptors. This then changes the intensity or length of time of the experience that you feel.

Now on to nicotine...
Nicotine is a stimulant that acts on dopamine (one of those secreted substances by your nerve cells). Adderall is also a stimulant that acts on dopamine. I don't know if nicotine works in a similar way as adderall (by keeping the dopamine 'active' for a longer time) or whether it acts by making the nerves secrete more dopamine than it normally would. Either way, my guess is what's happening here is that the two have a combined effect on dopamine which causes more of the feel-good dopamine secretion to be used in neural communications and thus creating a more satisfying effect than either one on its own.

When you started Adderall, you were dosed such that you would reach a therapeutic effect. You were on nicotine at the time. When you quit nicotine (a very good decision), the decreased release or action of dopamine probably did not decrease the therapeutic effect of Adderall, but has just decreased the level of dopamine that you require for it to be effective for your ADHD symptoms. i.e. if your goal is to fill a cup with liquid, and you normally fill it with 1/4 cup milk (the nicotine) and 3/4 cup water (the Adderall) then when you take away the milk, you're left with a cup that no longer gets filled.

And so, it's possible that you just need to have another chat with your doc about increasing your dose. Please don't go back to nicotine. It is a short-acting substance that is delivered by a cancer-causing mechanism. It's not the right substance for treating ADD. And another thing that helps is proper nutrition, hydration, sleep and exercise.


Finally, I must reiterate that a lot of the above are guesses and shouldn't be seen as much more than a very basic understanding of how the brain and drugs work. Don't make any conclusions about what I said... it's all much, much more complicated than the rough illustration I tried to give here... That said, I hope it helps you understand.
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Old 11-28-07, 05:51 PM
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Re: Nicotine and adderall?

I had a similar experience. I was smoking again, but along with it came jitteriness. I didn't know why. However, I always feel that way when the doses of Ritalin are too high, or too low. If you up your dose, I'm guessing Adderall will work for you again.
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Old 11-28-07, 10:29 PM
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Re: Nicotine and adderall?

Before you switch meds, which may be a good idea, trying a slightly higher dose such as 25mg BID would make sense. Run this by your doctor before you change meds, and if you do go to Concerta your daily amount taken will most likely need to be about twice as much as the adderall total daily dose.

And pedalpounder makes a great point about smoking. Since you have quit whatever you do don't start up again. Nicotine is hard to quit so congratulations on that.
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Old 11-29-07, 01:24 AM
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Re: Nicotine and adderall?

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Old 11-29-07, 01:27 AM
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Re: Nicotine and adderall?

Hey guys. My apologies in advance for the super long post. I may not be as experienced with ADD meds as you guys but I gained a lot of useful information from this board while beginning ADD treatment and I feel that as a responsible person I should share my experience today with you as well.

Just so you know, I am diagnosed as ADD rather than ADHD and my biggest problem has been that I am bad at switching tasks. I can do many things at once but when I decide to add a task or change tasks, I always having to spend time “warming up” to the new one.


I've only tried adderall for a few months and focalin before that but what I realized with both of them was that while they made me more productive and focused, they were also destabilizing in the way that they would create a surge of positive effects and disappear rapidly, leaving me worse off than before I started.

I had some fun times in the beginning and grew a tolerance to Adderall pretty quickly. I read about some people on this board enhancing their meds with smoking and I wanted to try as well, but since I quit 7 years ago I decided to go the patch route, mainly because I dislike smelling like smoke. I got the target brand ones that don’t leak when you cut them and cut a 21mg patch into 24 pieces. What I discovered is that the patch worked awesomely with adderall, even when I was only using 1/24 of a 21mg patch all day. I had the focus and energy adderall originally gave me, and I somehow felt more myself as well.> >

Due to some exciting experiences that I had when I initially got my script I recently began to run low on the Adderall and so I decided to save the rest for when I really needed then and just used the nicotine patch with lots of coffee. The results were very impressive. The nicotine patch + 3 starbucks talls a day combo made me feel much more in control and productive than when I was using adderall or adderall + patch. In addition, I felt productive all day rather than just for 4-8 hour. I’ve been doing patch plus coffee for about 2 weeks now. I've also read some other posts of people who've had success with nicotine as well.


Today, I tried a little bit of adderall with my coffee/nicotine combo, just to see if it would help but it just gave me what can be described as a feeling of comfort and did not really help me to become more productive at all. After a while, I felt like the adderall wore off and I just felt a bit less comfortable than before I took it. > >

I will still keep my pills for now, but now that I have discovered the patch plus coffee I may end up throwing the rest away. In my case, I think that the greatest benefits of the patch is that it delivers a drug that is good for treating my ADD and it does it seems to give me a steady flow of it all day. Coffee has a similar benefit since I take a lot of time to finish each one. On the other hand, my ADD meds and the other forms of nicotine delivery just dump a whole bunch of the drugs into my system at once - or twice if XR. I would consider mixing my adderall in a bottle of water and sipping that during the day if I didn’t think that I would just down it because I just like adderall so much once I start consuming it.> >

Now how does what I say apply to the OP? Well, I believe that perhaps while it is good that OP quit smoking, it may have been unproductive for him to give up nicotine. And for ultra-anti-smokers out there who just think everything related to smoking is sooo unhealthy - What? Do you think amphetamines are better for you? I think that most of us who are on medication for ADD understand that we are sacrificing some years of our lives so that we can be happier with the ones we’ve got left.
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Old 11-29-07, 01:47 AM
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Re: Nicotine and adderall?

I can't quit smoking while on adderall. I've tried really really hard this year and I can't. I smoke more or something while on adderall. Well not maybe more, but the need to smoke is more 'OMG I MUST SMOKE NOW OR I WILL CRY' type of feeling. The intensity of how much I feel I need a cigarette.

I did the patch and the gum. The patch was better than the gum, but it just isn't happening for me. I had a question for you--- you said you quit? Did you use the gum? Did it make your throat tighten/close up? I was wondering if Adderall had something to make it do that. I called my American Cancer Association Sponsor, but I think they were reading from a script to me.

just to add 4 shot soy lattes and protein bars give me about 50-70 percent great feeling of what adderall does to me now. adderall isn't lasting me through the day anymore either, but I am only on 10 mg of adderall xr so who knows?
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Old 11-29-07, 02:14 AM
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Re: Nicotine and adderall?

Thanks a ton for the input so far!

pedalpounder: Excellent post and some great points made. I do think there may be some connection between the way i was feeling while smoking and how I am now. I have not at any time considered starting up again. However, after reading the comments of uuweee below I may consider trying a patch for a day and see what happens. For those trying to quit smoking, I went from over a pack a day to nothing while still taking adderal. I used the patch and bought all 3 steps at once so I made sure I used them all. It took two tries but it worked. I found the patch made me not physically able to smoke for some reason. I couldnt even inhale without coughing..it worked though.

Watts: I am going to try and up the dosage a little bit more and see what happens. I have already done this to an extent and have still failed to get it to where it used to be.

Strangely, another observation lately is it for some reason also seems to work better when I am running on less sleep than normal. For example, I seem to get a more productive day following a night of 4 hours of sleep than I do if I have a night of 8 hours of sleep.

I think I will talk to my doctor and try the Concerta and see how that works. I have done some research and have learned that Concerta and Stratera, and even adderal are all 3 different types of drugs. It appears Concerta may be the best best to try next...
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Old 11-30-07, 03:28 AM
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Re: Nicotine and adderall?

Quote:
Originally Posted by uuwwee
And for ultra-anti-smokers out there who just think everything related to smoking is sooo unhealthy - What? Do you think amphetamines are better for you?
Yes. Absolutely. Amphetamines are much better for you than smoking.
Now, is an amphetamine pill better for you than a nicotine pill? That I don't know, but I guarantee that a nicotine pill is a thousand times healthier than smoking. Smoking is just nasty for you. (I smoked for 6 years)


Quote:
Originally Posted by uuwwee
I think that most of us who are on medication for ADD understand that we are sacrificing some years of our lives so that we can be happier with the ones we’ve got left.
Nah, that's a myth. It doesn't work that way.

A common misconception is that the heart has no more than X beats in its lifetime, so if you increase your heart rate you lower its expectancy. Yet the farmer who spends 12 hours a day working with his heart pumping 140 BPM lives much longer than the office worker who spends 8 hours a day working at 60bpm.

My grandpa's 89, has smoked for 30 years and has been on morphine for the last 8 years. He's still tickin.. sometimes it doesn't make sense
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Old 11-30-07, 03:33 AM
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Re: Nicotine and adderall?

Quote:
Originally Posted by relux
Strangely, another observation lately is it for some reason also seems to work better when I am running on less sleep than normal. For example, I seem to get a more productive day following a night of 4 hours of sleep than I do if I have a night of 8 hours of sleep.

I think I will talk to my doctor and try the Concerta and see how that works. I have done some research and have learned that Concerta and Stratera, and even adderal are all 3 different types of drugs. It appears Concerta may be the best best to try next...
I generally feel more productive when I'm not completely well-rested. When I'm well-rested I'm too 'chill' to get going. It's like I lose my drive to get 'there' because I'm already 'there'. Lose that drive = lose the motivation == procrastination. Anyway, that's generally what I've noticed.

On the other hand, there's a point where I'm too tired and braindead to do any work. A good in-between is what I need.

About the meds... Strattera is an awesome drug. works and feels better than Adderall IMO. People generally gravitate to Adderall because they can relate to the effects of stimulants better given they've used stims in some form all their life. But I'll tell you that Strattera is definitely worth a shot. It's great stuff! It's a little known secret.. shhh
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Old 11-30-07, 04:29 PM
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Re: Nicotine and adderall?

Quote:
Originally Posted by relux
However, after reading the comments of uuweee below I may consider trying a patch for a day and see what happens.
Here's an alternative to nicotine I thought of for you today... First off let me say that your best route is to have a chat with your doctor. But one thing you might want to try that may be safer than the patch and the risk of addiction is this:

1. On an empty stomach, swallow your Adderall without water, or with little water.
2. Immediately eat up to 4 regular strength Tums (read the directions, but I think 2-4 750mg Tums is adult dosage)
3. Drink one or two sips of water.
4. Don't eat for another 30 minutes

IMPORTANT: Adderall prescribing information says to avoid antacids as they increase the potency of Amphetamines. If you do this, you'd probably be wise to start gradually to see if it has any negative effects.

Also, I don't know your particular health AND I'm not a doctor or scientist, so doing this may actually be harmful.

And, you may be taking other medications that don't react well with Tums (it's a common no-no for medicines), so check with a pharmacist/doctor too.

No, I've never tried this myself, so you're on your own if you do. I just presume it's safer than the nicotine patch (and definitely cheaper), but I can't attest to its safety.
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Old 12-23-12, 04:35 PM
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Re: Nicotine and adderall?

Not trying to resurrect a very old thread, but I felt it would be redundant to create one regarding the same topic.

I was diagnosed with ADHD a long time ago when I was sixteen. I treated it when I was 16 but I was stubborn and wanted to try all those other things people said could work. Diet, exercise cognitive behavioral therapy. I tried it all. I got nowhere fast and had almost forgotten about treating ADHD through adderall again.

About five years ago I started using nicotine products as a desperation for treatment. I did not like ciggarettes as they made me so sleepy I almost passed out. People thought I was on pot. I found however, that things like E cigs and nicotine gum worked well for me. Suddenly my life was picking up. Then I quit nicotine after enrolling for school as I felt extreme exercise could be enough. It wasn't and I actually got sick from exercising too much.

Anyways, flash forward to present when I was prescribed Adderall again and have been trying every add med out there. Nothing truely worked. I was not seeking to get high, my add was just still there. Mitigated only by about thirty percent. So I could say meds helped but I often questioned whether it was worth it.

It happened during a shortage of my meds during finals week that out of desperation I went to nicotine, using patches and gum. This felt much more effective than adderall by itself. But still something was missing. I added Adderall when it was available and amazingly it was like bingo.

I've felt the best on this combo. It does not make me euphoric, doesn't make me sleepy or hyper focus. I just feel alert, aware and able to task manage.

I don't know if this has worked for anyone else but it's actually quite effective for me. Just thought i'd throw out there my as of yet success with it.

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