In this contribution, adaptive rate transmissions are investigated in the context of direct-sequence code-division multiple-access (DS-CDMA) systems using variable spreading factors (VSFs). In the context of the recently established family of adaptive rate-transmission schemes, the transmission rate is typically adapted in response to the channel’s fading-induced quality fluctuation. By contrast, in this contribution the transmission rate is adapted in response to the multiuser interference fluctuations encountered. We present the philosophy of the proposed adaptive rate-transmission scheme and analyze the effective throughput as well as the achievable bit error rate (BER) performance, when communicating over additive white Gaussian noise channels. Our study shows that by employing the proposed VSF-assisted adaptive rate-transmission scheme, the effective throughput may be increased by up to 40%, when compared to that of DS-CDMA systems using constant spreading factors. This increased throughput is achieved without wasting power, without imposing extra interference upon other users, and without increasing the BER.