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Old 07-27-10, 01:13 AM
Blue Paradox Blue Paradox is offline
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Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

This isn't a question, but an explanation for the sudden appearance (or worsening) of heartburn/gastroesophageal reflux disease, +/- signs of asthma, due to Adderall. I'm hoping to help someone else if they have these issues in the future, since it took me so long to figure out.

When I started taking Adderall 4.5 years ago, I thought that my asthma had gotten much worse. I started having difficulty breathing in the morning, about an hour after taking the Adderall. It was very sudden--my chest would get tight, then I could only take very shallow (but slow) breaths. I never felt like I got "enough" of a breath. These acute episodes resolved within an hour or so, but during this month or two, I couldn't even walk a quarter of a mile without resting. My internist was certain that it had nothing to do with the Adderall, and my asthma meds were increased (including a couple rounds of steroids). (This made sense to me since it was Spring when my allergies/asthma often got worse, and because stimulants would most logically improve asthma, not make it worse.)

I finally concluded that the episodes occurred only if I took the Adderall (by simple experimentation). As reluctant as I was to stop the Adderall, I did, and my breathing improved. Finally, during my regular visit to my allergist, I explained my problem, and he asked if I ever got heartburn. I told him that I didn't, to my knowledge. His thought was that the Adderall was exacerbating my heartburn, and the resulting reflux was causing my breathing problems. (Apparently over 20% of women with reflux don't know it). Anyway, I started taking Prilosec, added back the Adderall, and my breathing problems went away!

The point is that Adderall can cause or exacerbate heartburn/esophageal reflux disease (ERD), and this can cause difficulties breathing. The reason ERD causes the breathing problems isn't straight-forward, but one theory is that, particularly when someone is sleeping, they inhale micro-droplets of the acid that's refluxed into the esophagus. The other theory is that the esophageal irritation caused by the acid leads to stimulation of the vagus nerve, which results in bronchoconstriction (and the tight chest).

Why Adderall causes the reflux is another question. My best explanation is that it relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is supposed to clamp off the stomach from the esophagus. So if the sphincter isn't tight, acid can leak into the esophagus. There's plenty of research that shows that dopamine causes relaxation of the LES, so it makes sense that Adderall could lead to ERD through this mechanism.

Anyway, if reading this helps one person, I'm happy. I was so frustrated while going through this. I was newly-diagnosed, and liked the response to Adderall. I knew the Adderall was causing the breathing problems, but it didn't make any sense until the allergist figured it out. In the meantime, I was taking so much medication for my asthma without any of it helping, that I was miserable.

As an aside, Wellbutrin seems to have a similar effect, albeit much more mild.
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Old 07-27-10, 05:24 PM
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Re: Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

i've often wondered if adderall played a role in my developing ERD. That an stress.
Thanks for posting.
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Old 10-25-11, 04:58 PM
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Re: Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

Thank you so much for posting! I am going to try the Prilosec. The SOB is driving me crazy! It just started and I've been on Adderall for 5 months now.
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Old 10-25-11, 08:13 PM
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Re: Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

You might want to look into panic and anxiety disorder. As real as the symptoms can be, there's a fair probability you're inventing those. For example:

8:30am: You get a sharp pain in the middle of your chest. (the pain can be caused by almost anything, including the bones absorbing calcium, completely normal). The problem occurs when you try to interpret the pain. You say to yourself, ''hmm, this isn't right, must be the medication causing me problems...plus I havent ate anything this morning, and my parents told me that if I don't eat, I die...Oh no, I hope they were wrong!...but were they? I hope I don't get the pain again....''

8:34am: The pain persists. You say ''omg something must be happening...I am sick, Adderall is making me sick, I need to eat something and see if I feel better...'' You touch/caress the chest region and focus on it, causing the pain to persist or reach disproportionate dimensions.

9:15am: Pain persists. You say ''I ate and the pain is still there...how can it be, I need to google the symptoms when i get home.'' You start feeling a shortness of breath as you browse through the possible causes of your illness.

5:00pm: You get home, google the symptoms: Chest pain, shortness of breath and what comes out is heart attack and heart failure. So this is when it all goes to Hell. The shortness of breath intensifies over the next 10 minutes, you feel like you're going to choke from one second to another. You feel light headed and dizzy.

5:15pm: You google additional symptoms such as light headyness and dizzyness, and both symptoms match the symptoms of a heart attack. It confirms your worst fears: You are going to die and it's now only matters of hours before you do so.

5:30pm:
You rush to the emergency room and tell people you're having heart attack symptoms and you're going to die. The doctors do a ECG, X-Ray of your chest in all positions and do a blood test. All comes out perfectly normal. They tell you nothing is wrong with you.


What you've had is called a panic attack. It means it was all in your head, and nothing was true, but you went from wrong assumption into wrong assumption where each of your fears fed your symptoms and each of your symptoms fed your fears, and it cycled and cycled until it reached a critical level.

You say you believe it's a reflux problem? Ask your doctor for Nexium. Take 40mg and see if the pain goes away. There is no acid reflux in the world that will stay under 40mg Nexium. I tell you this because my wife tried it and it failed. It was NOT reflux. But yours might be reflux, I'm not a doctor and even if I was one I'd have to see you before telling.
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Old 10-26-11, 11:29 AM
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Re: Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

Good advice on the Nexium. Adderall makes my acid reflux worse, which makes the absorbtion of Adderall worse, which makes my life worse. I absolutely hate the blocker meds, but it can be really hard to heal any damage to your esophagus when you're tossing amphetamines into your stomach all of the time.

Be careful, though - Acid reduction means an increase in Adderall absorbtion, so the effects of your medications will probably change. There was some interaction between Prilosec and one of the salts in Adderall as well, unsure of which one.
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Old 11-23-11, 08:19 PM
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Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

A lot of people get breathing problems and heartburn on adderall. They aren't invented.

Last edited by BR549; 11-27-11 at 12:14 AM.. Reason: etiquette
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Old 11-23-11, 08:25 PM
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Re: Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

Quote:
Originally Posted by Massari View Post

What you've had is called a panic attack. It means it was all in your head, and nothing was true, but you went from wrong assumption into wrong assumption where each of your fears fed your symptoms and each of your symptoms fed your fears, and it cycled and cycled until it reached a critical level.

Adderall hurts people hearts sometimes. It also causes breathing problems.

Last edited by BR549; 11-27-11 at 12:15 AM.. Reason: etiquette
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Old 11-23-11, 09:08 PM
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Re: Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

Quote:
Originally Posted by tired1823 View Post
Get out of town. Adderall hurts people hearts sometimes. It also causes breathing problems.

wow. just wow.
Please provide studies (scientific references) to support your statement. Some medication like Opioids cause breathing problems, and Adderall is not among those medications.
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Old 11-24-11, 01:53 PM
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Re: Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

I have been having a lot of heartburn since starting Adderall xr 20mg. This didn't happen with Vyvanse. Ritalin gave me upset stomach but not heartburn and Focalin xr didn't give me either, just a bit of increased heart rate.
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Old 11-24-11, 08:06 PM
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Re: Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

Don't stone me please but adderal can cause heart problems ...especially if it is too high a dose for the person. I myself ended up in the hospital with a resting heart rate of 145 and climing. Being that I'm 30 with no heart condition this was not normal. Simple adjustment of my adderal (and generic brand i took) wa la ..all better.

With any stims, you are at a heightened awareness. My Dr explained me "searching for a deep breath but not quite getting it" to my muscles being tense ...prescribed a very low low dose relaxer and I can breathe.

I'm not a Dr, that is my and my own experience. Hope I'm not a jerk and don't get stoned like massauri :-)
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Old 11-26-11, 04:02 AM
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Re: Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

Honestly on the internet it is really difficult to accurately determine what is causing the symptoms described pretending for a moment any one here is actually qualified to do so in person.

Adderall can heighten sensitivity, hell ya that is why I take it other wise I live in my own world unaware -

Anxiety can feel like a heart attack

Adderall can cause people to have stomach upset, difficult breathing, irregular heartbeat most of which will stop once the medication is with drawn.

Will adderall cause every one taking it to experience all the bad effects described - nope but the possibility exist regardless of how probable

If people can have deadly allergic reactions to food they eat why would having a bad reaction to medication be so far fetched?

With that being said panic attacks can also cause the symptoms being described. The only part I disagree with is the part about the symptoms not being real - that is crap with a capital "C". Panic attacks are not emotional they are chemical reactions in the brain just like ADHD, and the effects of medication are chemical , thus the reason that doctors do not practice via on-line posting in support forums!

Any thing that has any effect on the body can have a bad one - However just because one person a has a bad reaction does not mean the medication is bad - it is simply bad for that person.

I will throw this in - During any lesson on head lice 95% of those listening to the symptoms of head lice will experience them even though they do not have head lice - so perspective does influence our experiences but it is NOT the only determining factor hence the best place for accurate information regarding your particular situation is a qualified health care practitioner who at the very least knows what you look like. All any of us can offer is our opinion based on our own experiences therefore mileage will vary!

Bottom line no one is wrong or making things up - no need to p i s s on each other here as I am sure most of us get enough of that treatment else where.
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Old 12-07-11, 07:09 PM
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Re: Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

Yeah i had the same issue with adderall especially when i first started taking it. I was desperate for relief of the shortness of breath that i resorted to mixing baking soda with water and drinking it (nasty!!).

What worked for me was taking both prilosec and zantac everyday and it ELIMINATED my acid reflux issues. I also highly recommend Oregamax, you can get it at healthfood stores. Also taking a probiotic like phillips colon health everyday helps tremendously. It's all about having a healthy gut.
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Old 12-10-11, 04:51 AM
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Re: Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

i think any sort of proton pump inhibitor will make amphetamine kick in quicker or something.
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Old 12-31-11, 04:39 PM
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Exclamation Re: Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

Sorry Massari, not true. I began to take my anti-anxiety meds immediately and this is not an anxiety attack. I begin to shake, cannot sleep, no chest pains with my anxiety ever as mine is connected to hormones not ADD meds and my ADD meds are from closed head injury 10 years ago. I've never had Asthma and every one in the ER including the Resp therapist swore I was having an asthma attack, NOT. Please read my entire post at the end when they post. Very scary for me and I was not panicking until I could not swallow from the breathing treatment which I learned is normal.
Thanks but do not confuse people please, this is real!



[quote=Massari;1195405]You might want to look into panic and anxiety disorder. As real as the symptoms can be, there's a fair probability you're inventing those. For example:

8:30am: You get a sharp pain in the middle of your chest. (the pain can be caused by almost anything, including the bones absorbing calcium, completely normal). The problem occurs when you try to interpret the pain. You say to yourself, ''hmm, this isn't right, must be the medication causing me problems...plus I havent ate anything this morning, and my parents told me that if I don't eat, I die...Oh no, I hope they were wrong!...but were they? I hope I don't get the pain again....''

8:34am: The pain persists. You say ''omg something must be happening...I am sick, Adderall is making me sick, I need to eat something and see if I feel better...'' You touch/caress the chest region and focus on it, causing the pain to persist or reach disproportionate dimensions.

9:15am: Pain persists. You say ''I ate and the pain is still there...how can it be, I need to google the symptoms when i get home.'' You start feeling a shortness of breath as you browse through the possible causes of your illness.

5:00pm: You get home, google the symptoms: Chest pain, shortness of breath and what comes out is heart attack and heart failure. So this is when it all goes to Hell. The shortness of breath intensifies over the next 10 minutes, you feel like you're going to choke from one second to another. You feel light headed and dizzy.

5:15pm: You google additional symptoms such as light headyness and dizzyness, and both symptoms match the symptoms of a heart attack. It confirms your worst fears: You are going to die and it's now only matters of hours before you do so.

5:30pm:
You rush to the emergency room and tell people you're having heart attack symptoms and you're going to die. The doctors do a ECG, X-Ray of your chest in all positions and do a blood test. All comes out perfectly normal. They tell you nothing is wrong with you.


What you've had is called a panic attack. It means it was all in your head, and nothing was true, but you went from wrong assumption into wrong assumption where each of your fears fed your symptoms and each of your symptoms fed your fears, and it cycled and cycled until it reached a critical level.

You say you believe it's a reflux problem? Ask your doctor for Nexium. Take 40mg and see if the pain goes away. There is no acid reflux in the world that will stay under 40mg Nexium. I tell you this because my wife tried it and it failed. It was NOT reflux. But yours might be reflux, I'm not a doctor and even if I was one I'd have to see you before telling.[/QUO
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Old 12-31-11, 04:47 PM
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Exclamation Re: Heartburn/Breathing Issues on Adderall

Quote:
Originally Posted by meadd823 View Post
Honestly on the internet it is really difficult to accurately determine what is causing the symptoms described pretending for a moment any one here is actually qualified to do so in person.

Adderall can heighten sensitivity, hell ya that is why I take it other wise I live in my own world unaware -

Anxiety can feel like a heart attack

Adderall can cause people to have stomach upset, difficult breathing, irregular heartbeat most of which will stop once the medication is with drawn.

Will adderall cause every one taking it to experience all the bad effects described - nope but the possibility exist regardless of how probable

If people can have deadly allergic reactions to food they eat why would having a bad reaction to medication be so far fetched?

With that being said panic attacks can also cause the symptoms being described. The only part I disagree with is the part about the symptoms not being real - that is crap with a capital "C". Panic attacks are not emotional they are chemical reactions in the brain just like ADHD, and the effects of medication are chemical , thus the reason that doctors do not practice via on-line posting in support forums!

Any thing that has any effect on the body can have a bad one - However just because one person a has a bad reaction does not mean the medication is bad - it is simply bad for that person.

I will throw this in - During any lesson on head lice 95% of those listening to the symptoms of head lice will experience them even though they do not have head lice - so perspective does influence our experiences but it is NOT the only determining factor hence the best place for accurate information regarding your particular situation is a qualified health care practitioner who at the very least knows what you look like. All any of us can offer is our opinion based on our own experiences therefore mileage will vary!

Bottom line no one is wrong or making things up - no need to p i s s on each other here as I am sure most of us get enough of that treatment else where.
That is what I thought until I was diagnosed last night in the ER with an Acute Asthma attack but no asthma. Then when they listened to my lungs and throat, checked the sites, chest xrays, and everything else they agreed Stimulant induced Asthma Attack. Please read my post when they approve. Very scary to say the least. Even the Respiratory therapist believed it was an asthma attack until they listened to my lungs and read my history. Do not confuse people as this needs to be pursued. Many, especially children are being medicated for Asthma and do not have it. Various cough medications and everything else they do not need just because of these SALT Stimulants.
Please help do not deter!
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