Vyvanse: Benefits, Dosages and Risks - BuzzRx

Vyvanse, also known as lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, is a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults and can also be used to treat binge eating disorder in adults. Vyvanse works by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which help to improve focus, attention, and behavior.

How Vyvanse Works

Vyvanse contains lisdexamfetamine, which is a prodrug of dextroamphetamine. When taken orally, lisdexamfetamine is converted to dextroamphetamine, which is a central nervous system stimulant. Dextroamphetamine increases the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which can help to improve attention, focus, and behavior in people with ADHD.

Benefits of Vyvanse

  •  Treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults
  • Convenient, simple once-daily dosing regimen with no dietary restrictions
  • Various dosage forms (capsule, chewable tablet) available, which can be a substitute on a milligram-per-milligram basis, allowing for easy switching between dosage forms
  • Vyvanse capsules can be sprinkled over yogurt, water, or orange juice and consumed immediately, making it easier for people who have trouble swallowing
  • Extended-release medication, providing a steady effect throughout the day
  • Also approved for the treatment of moderate-to-severe binge eating disorder (BED) in adults
  • May help improve focus, attention, and behavior in individuals with ADHD
  • Can help reduce the symptoms of BED, including binge eating episodes and feelings of loss of control

Potential Side Effects of Vyvanse

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Belly discomfort or pain
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Insomnia

Serious side effects:

Inform your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Heart problems such as chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeat, and high blood pressure
  • Peripheral vasculopathy, which can lead to numbness, tingling, or pain in the fingers and toes
  • Serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition that can cause fever, hallucinations, and seizures

It's important to take into consideration family history when considering Vyvanse use, as it can increase the risk of developing serotonin syndrome. Signs of serotonin syndrome may include fever, agitation, confusion, sweating, shivering, muscle rigidity, tremor, diarrhea, headache, and rapid heart rate. If left untreated, it can lead to seizures, hallucinations, and in extreme cases, death.

Drug Interactions with Other Medications

It is important to inform your doctor or pharmacist about any prescription, over-the-counter, herbal, or dietary supplements you are taking before starting Vyvanse. Certain medications can interact with Vyvanse and may cause serious side effects. 

Some of the medications that can interact with Vyvanse include:

  • Acidifying and alkalinizing agents: These medications can alter the pH of the urine, which can in turn, alter the blood levels of Vyvanse. Patients should talk to their doctor or pharmacist before using any stomach acid medicines, such as prescription or over-the-counter heartburn or GERD medicines.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): These medications are used to treat depression and other mood disorders. MAOIs can cause a serious reaction when taken with Vyvanse, including high blood pressure, fever, and seizures.
  • Antidepressants: Certain antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants, can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome when taken with Vyvanse. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include fever, sweating, agitation, hallucinations, fast heart rate, twitching, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Blood pressure medications: Vyvanse can cause a rise in blood pressure and heart rate, so it should not be taken with medications that lower blood pressure or heart rate.
  • Other stimulants: Vyvanse is a stimulant medication, and taking it with other stimulants, such as amphetamines or cocaine, can increase the risk of serious side effects, including heart attack, stroke, and death.

Warnings and Precautions 

Vyvanse is a controlled substance and should be taken only as prescribed by a doctor. Given the potential for misuse and dependence, it is advised that patients with a history of drug or alcohol abuse should not take Vyvanse, and that those considering taking the medication should consult with their healthcare provider to discuss the risks and benefits.

Other warnings and precautions include:

  • Heart problems: Vyvanse can cause a rise in blood pressure and heart rate, and there have been reports of patients experiencing heart attacks, strokes, and even death. Patients with a history of serious heart problems, severe high blood pressure, or congenital heart defects should not take Vyvanse. If you experience irregular or fluttered heartbeat, fainting, or chest pain, you should call your doctor immediately.
  • Growth suppression in children: Vyvanse can slow down the growth rate in children, so height and weight should be monitored closely during treatment.
  • Peripheral vasculopathy: Vyvanse can cause a disease of the blood vessels, including Raynaud's syndrome. Patients should monitor their fingers and toes for any changes in sensation, such as tingling, numbness, or pain.
  • Psychiatric problems: Vyvanse can cause or exacerbate psychiatric problems, including behavior changes, agitation, mania, and hallucinations. Patients with a history of bipolar disorder, depression, or other psychiatric illness should be closely monitored during treatment.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Vyvanse may not be safe for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Patients should talk to their doctor before taking Vyvanse if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Allergy: Patients who are allergic to any of the ingredients in Vyvanse should not take it.
  • Patients who are taking Vyvanse should be monitored for the emergence of suicidal thoughts or behavior, as well as any changes in behavior that could indicate the emergence or worsening of depression, agitation, aggression, or thoughts of suicide.

Alternatives to Vyvanse

There are several other medications that can be used to treat ADHD and other disorders. Some of the alternatives to Vyvanse include:

  • Adderall, Adderall XR, and Concerta: These are other stimulant medications used to treat ADHD.
  • Strattera: This is a non-stimulant medication used to treat ADHD.
  • Intuniv XR: This is a non-stimulant medication used to treat ADHD.

Common Dosages

  • The recommended starting dose of Vyvanse for adults with ADHD is 30 mg once a day in the morning. The dose can be increased by 10-20 mg per week, depending on the individual's response and tolerance. The maximum recommended dose is 70 mg once a day.
  • For children ages 6-12 with ADHD, the recommended starting dose is 20-30 mg once a day in the morning. The dose can be increased by 10-20 mg per week, depending on the individual's response and tolerance. The maximum recommended dose is 70 mg once a day.
  • For the treatment of binge eating disorder, the recommended starting dose is 30 mg once a day in the morning. The dose can be increased by 20 mg per week, depending on the individual's response and tolerance. The maximum recommended dose is 70 mg once a day.
  • It's important to take Vyvanse at the same time every day, with or without food. The capsules should be swallowed whole with water or other liquids, or the contents of the capsules can be mixed with water, yogurt, or orange juice and consumed immediately. The contents of the capsules should not be stored for later use.
  • If a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as remembered, unless it's already late in the day. In that case, the missed dose should be skipped and the regular dosing schedule should be resumed the next day. Double doses should not be taken to make up for a missed dose.
  • The dose of Vyvanse should be adjusted for patients with moderate to severe kidney problems and for elderly patients. Patients should follow their doctor's instructions for dosing and never take more than the recommended dose.


Vyvanse should be stored at room temperature between 15-30°C (59-86°F) in a tightly closed container to protect it from moisture, heat, and direct light. It is important to keep Vyvanse out of reach of children and pets as it can be habit-forming. If you have any unused Vyvanse, it is important not to consume it past the expiration date. Proper disposal of unused Vyvanse is essential as it is a controlled substance. Drug Take-Back Programs sponsored by the FDA are the best way to dispose of unused Vyvanse. You can inquire about these programs at local pharmacies for more information on proper medication disposal.

Cost of Vyvanse

Vyvanse is not available as a generic drug, so the cost of Vyvanse can be relatively high, even with insurance coverage. However, there are several ways to save money on Vyvanse. One option is to look for a manufacturer coupon or savings card. Another option is to use a prescription savings program such as the BuzzRx savings program. With the BuzzRx savings program, you can get a free Vyvanse coupon that can significantly reduce the cost of Vyvanse at major pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, and many others. With the coupon, you could pay as little as $353.69 per month for Vyvanse.

Commonly Asked Questions

1. What is Vyvanse used for?

Vyvanse is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults, as well as moderate to severe binge eating disorder (BED) in adults.

2. How does Vyvanse work?

Vyvanse works by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically dopamine and norepinephrine. This helps improve focus, attention, and control of behavior.

3. How is Vyvanse different from other ADHD medications?

Vyvanse is unique in that it is a prodrug of dextroamphetamine, which means it is inactive until it is metabolized in the body. This allows for a slower onset of action and longer duration of effect compared to other stimulant medications.

4. What are the potential side effects of Vyvanse?

The most common side effects of Vyvanse include loss of appetite, weight loss, insomnia, dry mouth, and irritability. Less common side effects include hallucinations, paranoia, and heart problems. It is important to talk to your doctor about any potential side effects before starting Vyvanse.

5. Can Vyvanse be used during pregnancy?

There is limited information on the safety of Vyvanse during pregnancy, and it should only be used if the benefits outweigh the potential risks. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

6. Can Vyvanse be abused or cause dependence?

Yes, Vyvanse is a schedule II controlled substance and has a high potential for abuse and dependence. It should only be taken as prescribed by a doctor.

7. Can Vyvanse be taken with other medications?

Vyvanse can interact with certain medications, so it is important to inform your doctor of all medications you are taking, including prescription medications, over-the-counter products, and dietary supplements. It is also important to talk to your doctor before starting any new medications while taking Vyvanse.

8. Can Vyvanse be used for other conditions besides ADHD and BED?

Vyvanse is not approved for other conditions besides ADHD and BED. It should only be used for the conditions it is approved for by the FDA.

A healthcare professional should always be consulted before taking any medication, as they can provide advice and guidance on the best course of action for treating conditions such as ADHD and BED and can also advise on any other treatments or therapies that may be available. If you have any questions about the use of medications for ADHD and BED, please call 1-800-FDA-1088 for more information.

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