Table of Contents

Vyvanse vs Adderall: Key Differences & Effects | ADHD Medication Guide

Clinically Reviewed by: Dr. Robin Campbell, LMFT, PHD

Vyvanse Vs. Adderall

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Managing ADHD often involves finding the right ADHD medication, and two commonly prescribed options are Adderall and Vyvanse. Both Adderall and Vyvanse belong to the class of stimulant medications and are classified as Schedule II controlled substances by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In this blog post, we will explore the similarities and differences between Adderall and Vyvanse, including their active ingredients, formulations, clinical effects, and potential risks.

What is Vyvanse?

Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) is a prescription medication used to treat ADHD in adults and children, as well as binge eating disorder in adults. It is a central nervous system stimulant that converts to its active form, dextroamphetamine, in the body. Vyvanse is taken once daily in the morning and can cause side effects such as dry mouth, loss of appetite, and insomnia. It is a Schedule II controlled substance due to its potential for abuse and dependence. Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and report any concerning symptoms.

 

Vyvanse Types and Dosages

Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) is available in various dosages and forms:

  1. Capsules: Dosages include 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 50 mg, 60 mg, and 70 mg.

  2. Chewable Tablets: Dosages include 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 50 mg, and 60 mg.

Vyvanse is taken once daily in the morning, with or without food. Always follow the prescribed dosage by your healthcare provider.

 

Vyvanse Uses for ADHD and Binge Eating Disorder

Vyvanse is primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children. It helps increase attention, focus, and impulse control. Additionally, Vyvanse is used to treat binge eating disorder in adults by reducing the number of binge eating episodes. Compared to other ADHD medications, Vyvanse offers a unique benefit due to its prodrug formulation, which may result in a smoother onset and longer duration of action.

 

How Long Does Vyvanse Stay in Your System?

The half-life of Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) is about 12 hours. This means that it takes approximately 12 hours for half of the dose to be eliminated from the body. Because Vyvanse is converted to its active form, dextroamphetamine, the total duration of its effects can last up to 14 hours. Generally, Vyvanse can be detected in the body for about 2 to 3 days after the last dose, but this can vary depending on individual factors like metabolism, age, and overall health.

 

How Long is Vyvanse Detectable in Your System?

depending on the type of test used:

  1. Blood: Detectable for up to 8-24 hours.

  2. Urine: Detectable for up to 2-3 days.

  3. Hair: Can be detectable for up to 90 days.

These durations can vary based on factors such as metabolism, age, dosage, frequency of use, and overall health.

 

How Does Vyvanse Work in the Central Nervous System and Body?

Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) is a prodrug that converts to dextroamphetamine in the body. Dextroamphetamine increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain, enhancing attention, focus, and impulse control. This helps manage symptoms of ADHD and reduces binge eating episodes by improving brain function related to attention and behavior regulation.

Vyvanse behaves similarly to an extended release form once ingested, providing a prolonged effect that helps manage ADHD symptoms throughout the day.

 

Vyvanse Effects on the Body

Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) affects the body in several ways:

  1. Central Nervous System: Increases levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, enhancing focus, attention, and impulse control.

  2. Cardiovascular System: Can increase heart rate and blood pressure.

  3. Appetite: Often reduces appetite, leading to weight loss.

  4. Digestive System: May cause dry mouth, nausea, or stomach pain.

  5. Sleep: Can lead to insomnia or difficulty sleeping.

  6. Mental Health: Potentially improves mood and reduces symptoms of ADHD but can also cause anxiety or irritability in some cases.

 

Vyvanse Efficacy

Vyvanse is effective in treating ADHD and binge eating disorder. It improves attention, focus, and impulse control in ADHD patients and reduces binge eating episodes. Clinical studies have shown significant improvements in symptoms for both conditions, with effects lasting up to 14 hours. Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for best results.

Vyvanse Side Effects 

Short-term side effects of Vyvanse include:

  • Dry mouth

  • Loss of appetite

  • Insomnia

  • Increased heart rate

  • Nausea

Long-term side effects may include:

  • Weight loss

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Heart problems

  • Anxiety

  • Dependency or abuse potential

 

Is Vyvanse Addictive? 

Yes, Vyvanse can be addictive. It is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and dependence. Always use Vyvanse as prescribed by a healthcare provider and report any concerns about misuse or dependency.

 

Can You Overdose on Vyvanse?

Yes, it is possible to overdose on Vyvanse. Symptoms of overdose can include:

  • Rapid heart rate

  • High blood pressure

  • Agitation or restlessness

  • Tremors

  • Confusion

  • Hallucinations

  • Severe headache

  • Seizures

In case of suspected overdose, seek immediate medical attention. Always use Vyvanse as prescribed by a healthcare provider.

 

Alcohol Use and Vyvanse

Combining alcohol use with Vyvanse can be dangerous. Here are key points to consider:

  1. Increased Heart Risk: Both substances can raise heart rate and blood pressure, increasing the risk of cardiovascular problems.

  2. Masking Effects: Vyvanse can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, leading to excessive drinking and potential alcohol poisoning.

  3. Worsened Side Effects: Combining can worsen side effects like anxiety, dizziness, and impaired judgment.

  4. Mental Health: The combination can negatively affect mood and increase the risk of anxiety and depression.

 

Vyvanse and Pregnancy

Using Vyvanse during pregnancy is generally not recommended due to potential risks to the fetus. Here are key points to consider:

  1. Potential Risks: Vyvanse can cause harm to the unborn baby, including low birth weight, premature birth, and withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.

  2. Consult Healthcare Provider: If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, discuss with your healthcare provider to weigh the benefits and risks of continuing Vyvanse.

  3. Alternatives: Your doctor may suggest alternative treatments that are safer during pregnancy.

 

Vyvanse Interaction with Other Medications

Vyvanse can interact with various medications, including:

  1. MAO Inhibitors: Can cause dangerous increases in blood pressure.

  2. Antidepressants: Can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.

  3. Antacids: May increase Vyvanse’s absorption and effects.

  4. Blood Pressure Medications: Effects may be reduced or altered.

  5. Other Stimulants: Increases risk of cardiovascular side effects.


Vyvanse Controlled Substance Classification

Vyvanse is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. This designation indicates that it has a high potential for abuse and dependence, but it is also recognized for its medical uses. Always use Vyvanse as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

 

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription medication that combines amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which are central nervous system stimulants. It is primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by increasing attention, focus, and impulse control, and it also treats narcolepsy by reducing excessive daytime sleepiness. Adderall is available in immediate-release (IR) and extended-release (XR) formulations, typically taken once or twice daily. Common side effects include increased heart rate, dry mouth, loss of appetite, weight loss, and insomnia, while serious side effects can involve heart problems and mental health issues. It is crucial for patients to disclose their full medical history, particularly concerning heart conditions and mental health disorders, and to discuss any other medications they are taking to avoid harmful interactions. Adderall is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States due to its high potential for abuse and dependence. Patients should always follow their healthcare provider’s instructions and promptly report any unusual symptoms or concerns.

 

Adderall Types and Dosages

Adderall is available in two forms:

  1. Immediate-Release (IR): Dosages include 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg.

  2. Extended-Release (XR): Dosages include 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, and 30 mg.

 

Adderall Dosage Guidelines

Adderall dosage guidelines vary based on age, condition, and individual response:

  1. ADHD (Children 3-5 years): Start with 2.5 mg daily, increase in 2.5 mg increments.

  2. ADHD (Children 6 and older): Start with 5 mg once or twice daily, increase in 5 mg increments weekly.

  3. ADHD (Adults): Start with 5 mg to 20 mg per day, as needed, with adjustments as prescribed.

  4. Narcolepsy (Adults and children 6 and older): Start with 10 mg daily, increase by 10 mg weekly.

The maximum recommended daily dose is 40 mg for immediate-release and 30 mg for extended-release. Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for best results.

 

Adderall Uses

Adderall is primarily used to treat:

  1. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Helps improve attention, focus, and impulse control.

  2. Narcolepsy: Reduces excessive daytime sleepiness and helps maintain wakefulness.

 

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

The half-life of Adderall, which consists of a mixture of amphetamine salts, ranges from 9 to 14 hours. This means it takes approximately 9 to 14 hours for half of the dose to be eliminated from the body. Given this half-life, Adderall can generally be detected in the system for:

  • Blood: Up to 24 hours.

  • Urine: 2-4 days.

  • Saliva: 1-2 days.

  • Hair: Up to 90 days.

Individual factors such as metabolism, age, dosage, and frequency of use can influence these detection times.

 

Adderall Onset and Duration

  1. Immediate-Release (IR):

    • Onset: 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion.

    • Duration: 4 to 6 hours.

  2. Extended-Release (XR):

    • Onset: 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion.

    • Duration: 10 to 12 hours.

These times can vary depending on individual metabolism and other factors. Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for optimal use.

 

How Long is Adderall Detected in Your System?

Adderall can be detected in your system for varying durations depending on the type of test used:

  1. Blood: Up to 24 hours.

  2. Urine: 2-4 days.

  3. Saliva: 1-2 days.

  4. Hair: Up to 90 days.

Detection times can vary based on individual factors such as metabolism, age, dosage, frequency of use, and overall health.

 

How Does Adderall Work in the Brain and Body?

Adderall works in the brain and body by affecting the levels of certain neurotransmitters, specifically dopamine and norepinephrine. Here’s how it functions:

Central Nervous System Stimulation: Adderall contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which are central nervous system stimulants. These compounds increase the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Dopamine and Norepinephrine Release:

  • Dopamine: Increases in dopamine levels enhance feelings of pleasure, focus, and motivation.

  • Norepinephrine: Increases in norepinephrine improve alertness, attention, and response to stimuli.

Reuptake Inhibition: Adderall inhibits the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine, meaning these neurotransmitters stay in the synaptic cleft longer, prolonging their effects.

Effects on the Brain: By increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, Adderall helps improve attention, focus, and impulse control in individuals with ADHD and promotes wakefulness in those with narcolepsy.

Physical Effects: It can increase heart rate and blood pressure, reduce appetite, and may cause insomnia or other side effects related to its stimulant properties.

Adderall is available in both immediate release form and extended release form, providing flexibility in managing ADHD symptoms.

Overall, Adderall enhances cognitive function and alertness by boosting the levels of key neurotransmitters in the brain.

 

Adderall Effects on the Body

  1. Central Nervous System: Increases alertness, focus, and attention.

  2. Cardiovascular System: Can raise heart rate and blood pressure.

  3. Appetite: Often decreases appetite, potentially leading to weight loss.

  4. Sleep: May cause insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns.

  5. Mental Health: Can improve mood but may also cause anxiety or irritability in some individuals.

Always use Adderall as prescribed and monitor for any adverse effects.

 

Adderall Efficacy

Adderall is effective in treating ADHD and narcolepsy. It improves focus, attention, and impulse control in ADHD patients and reduces excessive daytime sleepiness in those with narcolepsy. Clinical studies show significant symptom improvement, with effects lasting 4-6 hours for immediate-release and 10-12 hours for extended-release formulations. Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for best results.

 

Adderall Side Effects

Short-term side effects of Adderall:

  • Increased heart rate

  • High blood pressure

  • Insomnia

  • Loss of appetite

  • Dry mouth

  • Anxiety

Long-term side effects may include:

  • Weight loss

  • Cardiovascular issues

  • Dependence or addiction

  • Mood swings

  • Anxiety or depression

Always consult your healthcare provider for a complete understanding of potential side effects.

 

Is Adderall Addictive?

Yes, Adderall can be addictive. It is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance due to its high potential for abuse and dependence. Always use Adderall as prescribed by a healthcare provider and report any concerns about misuse or dependency.

 

Can You Overdose on Adderall?

Yes, it is possible to overdose on Adderall. An overdose can lead to serious symptoms such as:

  • Severe agitation or restlessness

  • Rapid heart rate

  • High blood pressure

  • Tremors

  • Hallucinations

  • Seizures

  • Loss of consciousness

If you suspect an Adderall overdose, seek immediate medical attention or call emergency services.

 

Alcohol Use and Adderall

Combining alcohol with Adderall is not recommended. It can increase the risk of adverse effects such as:

  1. Increased heart rate and blood pressure

  2. Masking the effects of alcohol, leading to excessive drinking

  3. Worsened side effects like dizziness and impaired judgment

 

Adderall and Pregnancy

Using Adderall during pregnancy is generally not recommended due to potential risks to the fetus. Key points to consider:

  1. Potential Risks: Adderall can cause harm to the unborn baby, including low birth weight, premature birth, and withdrawal symptoms.

  2. Consult Healthcare Provider: If pregnant or planning pregnancy, discuss with a healthcare provider to weigh benefits and risks.

  3. Alternatives: Your doctor may suggest alternative treatments that are safer during pregnancy.

 

Adderall Interaction with Other Medications

Adderall can interact with various medications, including:

  1. MAO Inhibitors: Can cause dangerous increases in blood pressure.

  2. Antidepressants: Increases risk of serotonin syndrome.

  3. Antacids: May increase Adderall’s absorption and effects.

  4. Blood Pressure Medications: Effects may be reduced or altered.

  5. Other Stimulants: Increases risk of cardiovascular side effects.

 

Adderall Controlled Substance Classification

Adderall is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. This designation indicates that it has a high potential for abuse and dependence, but it is also recognized for its medical uses. Always use Adderall as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

 

Vyvanse vs. Adderall: A Comparative Analysis

Vyvanse and Adderall are both prescription medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Here’s a comparison:

  1. Active Ingredients: Vyvanse contains lisdexamfetamine, which is metabolized into dextroamphetamine in the body, while Adderall contains a mixture of amphetamine salts, including dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine.

  2. Duration of Action: Vyvanse typically lasts up to 14 hours, while Adderall immediate-release formulations last about 4 to 6 hours, and extended-release formulations last about 10 to 12 hours.

  3. Abuse Potential: Both Vyvanse and Adderall are classified as Schedule II controlled substances due to their potential for abuse and dependence. However, Vyvanse has a lower potential for abuse because it is a prodrug that must be metabolized in the body to become active. Both Vyvanse and Adderall are classified as Schedule II drugs, indicating their high potential for abuse and dependence.

  4. Side Effects: Both medications can cause similar side effects, including increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, loss of appetite, insomnia, and potential mood changes.

  5. Dosage Forms: Vyvanse is available as capsules and chewable tablets, while Adderall comes in immediate-release and extended-release tablets.

  6. Cost: The cost of Vyvanse and Adderall can vary depending on factors such as dosage, formulation, and insurance coverage. The availability of a generic form of Adderall makes it a more cost-effective option for some patients, whereas Vyvanse does not currently have a generic form.

Clinical drug investigation has shown that both medications are effective in treating ADHD symptoms, but individual responses may vary.

Ultimately, the choice between Vyvanse and Adderall depends on factors such as individual response to the medication, duration of action needed, and potential for abuse. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate treatment option.

 

Which is Right for You?

Determining whether Vyvanse or Adderall is right for you depends on factors such as individual response, duration of action needed, and potential for abuse. Consult with a healthcare provider to discuss your medical history, symptoms, and treatment goals to determine the most appropriate medication for your condition.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, while Adderall and Vyvanse are both effective medications for managing ADHD symptoms, they have significant differences in their formulations, duration of action, and potential for abuse. Adderall contains mixed amphetamine salts and comes in both immediate-release (IR) and extended-release (XR) forms, while Vyvanse contains lisdexamfetamine, which is metabolized into dextroamphetamine in the body and is available only in an extended-release capsule form. Physicians typically review a patient’s history and specific symptoms before prescribing Vyvanse or Adderall, and they should consider the potential risks and drug interactions associated with these medications. Ultimately, the choice between Adderall and Vyvanse should be made in consultation with a mental health clinician or physician who has knowledge of the patient’s individual needs and medical history.

 

Seeking Treatment? We Can Help!

At New Hope Healthcare, as an in-network provider we work with most insurance plans, such as:

If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or substance abuse, reach out to New Hope Healthcare today. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to support your journey towards lasting well-being. Give us a call at 866-799-0806

Frequently Asked Questions

Vyvanse and Adderall are prescription medications used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. They belong to the class of stimulant medications and work by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which helps improve focus, attention, and impulse control.
  • Vyvanse contains lisdexamfetamine, which is metabolized into dextroamphetamine in the body, while Adderall contains a mixture of amphetamine salts, including dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine.

  • Vyvanse is a prodrug that requires metabolic activation, leading to a smoother onset and longer duration of action compared to Adderall.

Both Vyvanse and Adderall are effective in managing ADHD symptoms, but individual responses may vary. Some people may respond better to one medication over the other based on factors such as metabolism, dosage, and formulation.
Common side effects of both medications may include increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, loss of appetite, insomnia, and potential mood changes. Long-term use may also be associated with weight loss, cardiovascular issues, and mood swings.
Healthcare providers typically consider factors such as a patient’s medical history, specific ADHD symptoms, potential for abuse, and individual response to medication when deciding between Vyvanse and Adderall. They may also take into account the patient’s preference for dosing frequency and formulation.

Get Help Now

Admission Coordinators are available 24/7.

Take Control Of Your Life and Call Now.