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Vyvanse: Forms, Uses, Side Effects & More

Vyvanse ADHD medication
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


Medical Disclaimer
The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs. Read more

Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) is a stimulant medication often prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It can help manage symptoms and complications associated with hyperactivity or a lack of focus. But how exactly does stimulant medication like Vyvanse do that and how to use it correctly? Read on to find the answers and review many other aspects of Vyvanse.

What Is Vyvanse?

Vyvanse drug class: cerebral stimulant. 

Vyvanse is a central nervous system stimulant. In patients with ADHD, it shows effects relatively quickly [1*] , usually within 90 minutes, and can last up to 14 hours after administration. It helps improve cognitive performance, including attention, memory, and impulse control. When Vyvanse is used for binge eating disorder (BED), noticeable effects may take several weeks to appear. 

Note that since it is a Schedule II controlled substance, the treatment process should be thoroughly monitored by your healthcare provider.

What Is Vyvanse Used for?

Vyvanse stimulant is most commonly prescribed for ADHD in adults and children. It aids in managing hyperactivity, lack of concentration, and fidgeting, among other symptoms. It can also be prescribed as a part of a treatment plan for binge eating disorder. 

There are also several off-label uses, such as treatment-resistant depression and some other conditions. The most suitable medication for any mentioned condition is determined by a medical provider based on individual symptoms, family history, medication history, and other factors.

Vyvanse Facts You Need to Know

  • Prodrug structure. Vyvanse is a prodrug [2*] , meaning it’s inactive in its original form. It only becomes active after it’s metabolized in the body, specifically after it comes into contact with enzymes in the red blood cells.
  • No generic. There’s no generic version of Vyvanse available in the U.S. This is in contrast to many other ADHD medications that have generic alternatives.
  • Innovative mechanism. Vyvanse’s unique mechanism of action, specifically how it targets the brain’s neurotransmitters, has been the subject of extensive study, highlighting the innovative approaches in modern psychopharmacology.
Contact MEDvidi experts to know what treatment options for ADHD can help you best.

How Vyvanse Works

By acting on specific pathways in the brain, Vyvanse not only improves attention and focus in ADHD patients but also curtails the excessive eating episodes in those with BED. This medication’s unique mechanism offers a tailored therapeutic approach to these distinct, yet impactful, conditions. 

Treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Being a stimulant in nature, Vyvanse mainly acts on the central nervous system. It raises the level of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals), specifically dopamine and norepinephrine, which makes it suitable for ADHD treatment.

However, Vyvanse is often a part of a complex treatment plan. So, it’s used along with psychological therapy and other therapeutic interventions. Note that the need for a Vyvanse prescription is only determined by a healthcare professional because this medicine has a high chance of substance abuse.

Treating Binge Eating Disorder

When it comes to binge eating disorder in adults, Vyvanse proved to reduce the number of binge episodes [3*] . The mentioned condition is a chronic eating disorder in which an individual consumes a large amount of food without being able to control portions and stop. Most people with a binge eating disorder are overweight and obese, but there are chances that one might be at an average weight and still binge eat. Due to its mechanism of action, Vyvanse helps to eliminate compulsive behavior and binge eating thoughts.

How to Use Vyvanse?

Vyvanse should be used exactly as prescribed by a healthcare professional. While the recommendations are individualized, here are some general guidelines:

  1. Follow the prescribed dosage. Take Vyvanse exactly as instructed by your healthcare provider. Do not alter the dosage without consulting them first.
  2. Take it in the morning. Vyvanse is typically taken once daily in the morning. The stimulating effects of the medication can interfere with sleep if taken late in the day or too close to bedtime. It is also advised to take Vyvanse at the same time each day to maintain consistent effects.
  3. Swallow whole with water. Take the Vyvanse capsule whole and swallow it with a glass of water. Do not crush, chew, or open the capsule, as it is designed to provide extended release of the medication.
  4. Food intake. Vyvanse can be taken with or without food. However, taking it with a meal may help reduce potential stomach discomfort.
  5. Regular check-ups. Attend regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your progress, discuss any concerns or side effects, and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Vyvanse also requires attention to potential drug interactions and impact on underlying health issues to avoid negative consequences. It is also essential to prevent misuse and substance abuse that otherwise may lead to side effects that can be life-threatening for patients with certain conditions. Therefore, remember to discuss any concerns, prior or current conditions, and other health aspects with your clinician when selecting ADHD treatments.

Who Can and Who Cannot Take Vyvanse

While Vyvanse is commonly prescribed and is beneficial for many patients, it has several precautions. These are some factors to consider:

  1. Medical history. Certain health conditions can require choosing an alternative medication. These may include arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), symptomatic cardiovascular disease, moderate to severe hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), psychiatric issues, or known hypersensitivity or idiosyncrasy to amphetamines. Past experience of substance abuse affects the choice of treatment too.
  2. Concurrent medications. Inform your healthcare provider about any medications, supplements, or herbal products you are currently taking. Vyvanse may interact with some drugs, including but not limited to monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), certain antidepressants from other drug classes, and antihypertensive medications. These interactions can potentially lead to serious side effects.
  3. Pregnancy and breastfeeding. Patients who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant, should discuss the risks and benefits of Vyvanse and learn more about the safety measures or alternative treatments.

Response to medication can vary, so patients should report any side effects or concerns to their healthcare provider. It is also important not to stop medication abruptly without consulting a clinician to avoid withdrawal effects.

Vyvanse Dosage for Binge Eating Disorder and ADHD in Adults

The Vyvanse dosage depends on the condition treated, the intensity of the symptoms, treatment progress, and other factors. Typical Vyvanse doses and regimes for ADHD and BED are as follows:

  • The initial daily dose of Vyvanse for adults with ADHD or binge eating disorder is 30 mg. 
  • The maximum recommended dose of Vyvanse is 70 mg per day.
  • Vyvanse must be taken once daily.
  • The best time to take Vyvanse is in the morning. Taking a Vyvanse pill in the evening might cause insomnia and difficulty in staying asleep.

Some of the signs showing that a patient’s prescribed Vyvanse dose is too high are the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Brisk reflexes
  • Fast breathing
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

The exact dosage and the proper way of using Vyvanse can only be determined by a qualified healthcare professional. In the case of adverse effects, it is advised to follow up with a clinician and discuss adjustments in the treatment plan.

Get your ADHD symptoms evaluated by an ADHD expert and obtain a personalized treatment plan.

Vyvanse Forms and Strengths

Vyvanse is available in both capsule and chewable tablet forms, and its strengths range from 10 mg to 70 mg. The appropriate form and strength are determined by a clinician based on multiple factors:

  • Age and weight. Younger patients or those with lower body weight typically start with a lower dosage.
  • Tolerance. As the body gets accustomed to Vyvanse, the required dosage might need adjustments.
  • Condition being treated. ADHD and binge eating disorder might have different optimal dosages.
  • Other medications. If the patient is on other medications, it might affect the required dosage of Vyvanse.
  • Patient preference. Some patients might have a personal preference for tablets over capsules or vice-versa.
Forms Vyvanse Chewable Tablets Vyvanse Capsules
  • 10 mg
  • 20 mg
  • 30 mg
  • 40 mg
  • 50 mg
  • 60 mg
  • 70 mg
  • 10 mg
  • 20 mg
  • 30 mg
  • 40 mg
  • 50 mg
  • 60 mg
  • 70 mg

Vyvanse Side Effects

It is possible to experience Vyvanse side effects when treating ADHD or binge eating disorder even when a patient follows the doctor’s recommendations. Side effects may be mild or severe as summarized in the table below. 

Mild Side Effects of Vyvanse

Serious Side Effects of Vyvanse

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon
  • Personality changes
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Addiction
  • Severe allergic reactions

A common side effect of Vyvanse is weight loss due to its appetite-suppressing effects. However, this medication cannot be used for obesity management. 

When it comes to cardiovascular problems as a result of treatment with this medicine, they can appear in the form of increased heart rate and blood pressure and may lead to serious events. Therefore, individuals with pre-existing heart conditions or high blood pressure should use Vyvanse with caution and only under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Regular monitoring of heart rate and blood pressure may be necessary.

Vyvanse can also potentially cause circulation problems, including peripheral vasculopathy and Raynaud’s phenomenon. Any symptoms such as numbness, coldness, or discoloration of extremities should be reported to a healthcare provider.

Vyvanse may affect individuals with existing mental health conditions such as anxiety, psychosis, or bipolar disorder. Also, being a stimulant medication, it may not be suitable for patients with a history of substance abuse. Finally, Vyvanse may affect a person’s alertness, reaction time, and focus. Therefore, it is important to assess how Vyvanse affects you individually before driving or operating machinery.

It is essential to discuss any side effects with a healthcare provider to ensure they are manageable or to choose another course of treatment.

Potential Risks and Precautions

As with all medications, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with Vyvanse, especially given its classification as a Schedule II controlled substance. Here are some precautions and considerations [4*] for patients and healthcare providers:

  1. Potential for dependency. Due to its stimulant nature, Vyvanse has the potential for misuse, leading to dependence or addiction. It is vital for patients to follow prescribed dosages and for healthcare providers to monitor use.
  2. Cardiovascular concerns. Patients with a history of heart issues, including arrhythmias, heart attacks, or any other cardiovascular disease, should be closely monitored when on Vyvanse, as stimulant medications can increase heart rate and blood pressure.
  3. Mental health impacts. Vyvanse can exacerbate symptoms in individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder or severe anxiety. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported immediately.
  4. Circulatory concerns. Vyvanse has been known to cause circulation problems in the fingers and toes. Symptoms can include pain, discoloration, or numbness, and should be reported immediately.
  5. Interactions with other medications. It is crucial for you to disclose all medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements, as there can be interactions that reduce the efficacy of Vyvanse or boost the potential for side effects.

Being informed about these potential risks and having open communication with healthcare providers will ensure that you get the maximum benefit from Vyvanse while minimizing potential negative outcomes.

Drug Interactions

Vyvanse can interact with certain substances, including but not limited to:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Taking Vyvanse with MAOIs or within 14 days of discontinuing them may cause a hypertensive crisis.
  • Antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) may interact with Vyvanse, affecting the levels of certain chemicals in the brain and leading to adverse effects, known as serotonin syndrome.
  • Blood pressure medications. Vyvanse can increase heart rate and blood pressure, so it is important to monitor blood pressure closely when taking it alongside antihypertensive medications.
  • Acidic agents. Medications that increase stomach acid or uric acid can reduce the effectiveness of Vyvanse.

It is also advisable to avoid or limit the consumption of certain substances while taking Vyvanse, including:

  • Alcohol. Vyvanse can intensify the sedative effects of alcohol while alcohol can mask the stimulating effects of the medication.
  • Caffeine. High doses of caffeine can increase the stimulant effects of Vyvanse, potentially leading to restlessness, anxiety, or heart-related side effects.
Get professional consultation on possible drug interactions and get proper treatment for ADHD.

Bottom Line

Vyvanse is commonly used for ADHD and binge eating disorder treatment. Its dosage and other recommendations should only be determined by a certified healthcare expert individually, and any side effects should be reported to a clinician immediately.

At MEDvidi, you can consult medical experts who are qualified to treat ADHD. We are here to conduct a thorough assessment, consult on ADHD medication options, and develop a personalized holistic treatment plan for you.


ADHD drug Vyvanse is a federally controlled substance classified as Schedule II medication as it can be misused and has a high potential for abuse. The long-term use of Vyvanse may lead to the development of drug dependency. Due to this aspect, Vyvanse can be purchased only by prescription, and the treatment course should be supervised by a licensed mental health professional.
Vyvanse half-life is about 10 to 12 hours. While its effects peak fast, they decrease relatively quickly as well. The medication is detected in blood for about 8 hours, while urine samples may show it for up to three days. Note that the half-life of Vyvanse may be slightly affected by individual specifics, other medications, and more.
The choice of medication depends on individual factors and needs. Both Adderall and Vyvanse are prescription ADHD meds with different advantages and drawbacks as well as effectiveness varying from person to person. It is best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine which ADHD medicine may be more suitable for you.
Primarily, Vyvanse treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and binge eating disorder (BED). It is approved for these uses by the FDA. In certain cases, Vyvanse may be prescribed for depression off-label, but it is not the first-line treatment for this disorder.
While taking Vyvanse, patients should avoid alcohol and high caffeine intake. Since Vyvanse can affect focus and alertness, it’s important to analyze individual responses to it before driving or operating machinery. Finally, patients should not alter the dosage without medical supervision.
If you miss a dose of Vyvanse, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed one and continue with your regular schedule. Avoid taking a double dose to make up for the missed one. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions regarding missed doses.
Vyvanse starts showing effects within 1 to 2 hours, but for binge eating disorder, the full effects may take up to a few weeks to be fully noticeable. The onset and duration of action can also vary depending on individual factors such as metabolism, dosage, and response to the medication.
Abruptly discontinuing Vyvanse after long-term use can lead to withdrawal symptoms. To minimize these effects, it is advisable to gradually decrease the dosage under the clinician’s supervision. Gradual tapering allows the body to adjust and can help reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.

If you are currently taking or weaning off Suboxone, healthcare professionals at MEDvidi can prescribe you Vyvanse only if you provide a letter from your clinician indicating that it is safe and appropriate.


4 sources
  1. Review of Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate in Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
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  2. Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate (Vyvanse), A Prodrug Stimulant for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
    Source link
  3. Lisdexamfetamine and binge-eating disorder
    Source link
  4. Vyvanse
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


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