Here at MindMed we receive numerous questions from people regarding not only natural treatments of ADHD such as ADHD Treatment, but also plenty with respect to medication specifics as well. In our ADHD Medication FAQ series, we try to address the most frequent of these. Of course when considering trying a new medication, whether switching from another prescription or starting medicinal treatment all together, it is important to be well informed when discussing options with your medical practitioner. Hopefully this will help you in that endeavor.
1. What is Vyvanse?
Vyvanse is a relatively new drug in the fight against ADHD. Approved by the FDA in 2008 for public use in the USA, Vyvanse (who’s chemical name is Lisdexamfetamine) is a psychostimulant prodrug belonging to the amphetamine class of pharmaceuticals and is designed to combat symptoms of the disorder.
2. What’s the difference between Vyvanse and Adderall?
The technical difference and a side by side comparison, should you be interested, can be found here. In terms of how the medication is felt by patients however, which is what most are really asking, is that Adderall is basically stronger than Vyvanse, but is likely comes with increased risk of side effects such as anxiety and or other physical side effects.
3. How do I take Vyvanse?
Simple, tablets are taken (orally) once a day in the morning with or without food, depending of course on the dosage and tablet size prescribed by your doctor. Vyvanse tablets vary in size from 20mg to 70mg, but starting doses tend to be 30mg for the most part.
4. Can I take Vyvanse?
For the large majority of people, yes you can. It is approved to be prescribed to individuals aged 6 and over, but there are certain restrictions, such as during pregnancy or within two weeks of any MAOI medications. The former should avoid Vyvanse all together.
5. Does Vyvanse have any side effects?
Like all drugs, Vyvanse is not without its side effects, both serious and mild, and common and uncommon. Among the common are issues such as restlessness, headaches, weight loss and dry mouth. These are usually short lasting and not serious.
More infrequently effects such as euphoria, constipation and/or diarrhea are felt. It can also contribute to erectile disfunction, increases the risk of cardiac problems and can temporarily cause a decrease in growth rate but does not affect final adult height. If any of these side effects occur, be sure to let your medical practitioner know immediately.
6. Is Vyvanse addictive?
Vyvanse has the potential for addiction, but this is mostly among people who do not have ADHD. In addition, because Vyvanse is a prodrug (meaning it is released during digestion) it is rendered less likely for recreational abuse and has decreased addictiveness.
7. Is Vyvanse the right medication for my child?
To truly know the answer to the question, one must consult a medical professional. To help you become better informed before that meeting however, be sure to read message boards of people with ADHD who have taken it before, as they can tell you from first had experience.
To help you better understand the drug Vyvanse, Leigh Anderson, PharmD gives a great overview in the following video: