Vyvanse vs. Adderall
When choosing the correct medication for you or a loved one, you need to have all the information close at hand. While nothing can take the place of your doctor, knowing which questions to ask and coming to your appointment armed with the facts can go along way in selecting the right treatment plan — one you are comfortable with.
That’s why we’ve done the research so you can easily find what you need.
Differences Between Vyvanse and Adderall
Vyvanse and Adderall are both Central Nervous Stimulants. Both of these drugs interact with the central nervous system, however, their methods of doing so are different.
Both Adderall and Vyvanse are psychostimulants. However, only Vyvanse is a prodrug, which is a biologically inactive medication that must be metabolized in the body in order for its desired effect to happen.
In Vyvanse, the drug introduced to the body is lisdexamfetamine. Lisdexamfetamine is then metabolized in the body and is turned into dextroamphetamine. Dextroamphetamine increases the amount of available dopamine and norepinephrine in the body and central nervous system.
Vyvanse produces stimulant effects by facilitating the release and blocking the reuptake of norepinephrine. This drug also releases and blocks the reuptake of dopamine in the brain. This increase causes decreased motor restlessness and increased alertness.
Adderall produces its central nervous stimulant effect by blocking the reuptake mechanism of dopaminergic neurons in the brain. In other words, this medication increases the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain without having to be metabolized first by the body.
This increase results in an improvement in alertness and motor activity.
There are only two FDA approved uses of Adderall. The primary use of Adderall is to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or (ADHD). ADHD is a disorder in which patients have difficulty concentrating, controlling their impulses, paying attention, managing time, remembering important daily activities, being organized, keeping a job and setting goals.
ADHD interferes with every aspect of a person’s life, therefore, control is very important. Adderall can help those with ADHD concentrate, improve listening, help them to control impulses and keep them on task.
The second use of Adderall is to treat narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a disorder in which individuals have little to no control over when they will fall asleep. These individuals will experience uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep in the day.
This may happen at any time without warning. Therefore, it can be very dangerous, distracting and inconvenient for those living with this condition. Adderall works to increase alertness and decrease or eliminate the narcoleptic sleep attacks.
The use of Adderall in these conditions is lifelong. Therefore close examination, diagnosis, and consideration must be taken before deciding to take this medication.
Vyvanse only has two FDA approved uses in the United States. Similarly to Adderall, ADHD is the primary use of this medication. ADHD is a disorder which disrupts one’s ability to focus or control impulses. Vyvanse increases the ability of individuals to concentrate.
Another use of Vyvanse is to treat those with moderate to severe binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder is a life-threatening issue that includes a person eating large quantities of food rapidly, beyond the point of being full.
Unlike in bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder does not include the use of unhealthy compensatory methods such as purging (or throwing up) to control their weight gain from eating. This medication is not a treatment for weight loss, however, it is proven to decrease the number of binge occurrences in those who take it.
Possible Side Effects of Adderall
According to the FDA, common side effects of Adderall include stomach aches, a decrease in appetite, and nervousness,
Other side effects include but are not limited to: aggressiveness, anxiety, dizziness, hallucinations, depression, irritability, migraine, suicidal ideation, decreased libido, increase in pulse, insomnia, hyperactivity, constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and sedation.
Although all side effects may be serious, more common serious side effects include the slowing of growth in both height and weight in children, seizures, addiction, blurred vision or changes in vision, and serotonin syndrome (which can happen if it is taken with other medications).
Possible Side Effects of Vyvanse
As with all drugs, there are many side effects associated with Vyvanse as well. According to the FDA, The most typical side effects that happen to those with ADHD on Vyvanse are dry mouth, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, decreased appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, upper stomach pain, irritability, loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and weight loss.
The most typical side effects associated with those taking Vyvanse for binge eating disorder is dry mouth, trouble sleeping, decreased appetite, increased heart rate, constipation, anxiety and a jittery feeling.
Important Side effects to Be Aware of With Adderall and Vyvanse
There are many serious side effects of both Adderall and Vyvanse that require immediate attention. Three main areas to pay attention to if you start using either of these medications is heart-related, mental related and circulation related.
Since both of these medications are stimulants, they pose the risk of serious complications.
Heart-related complications include things such as sudden death in those with heart problems/heart defects, sudden death by stroke and heart attack, along with increased blood pressure and heart rate. It is important to regularly check blood pressure and heart rate with the use of these medications.
Mental problems associated with these stimulants include new or worse behavior or thoughts, including manic symptoms, hearing voices, being suspicious about things, suicidal ideation, and bipolar illness. It is important to contact a doctor immediately if these symptoms occur.
Lastly, circulation problems may occur with the use of Adderall and Vyvanse. Fingers and toes may lack circulation of blood and therefore may feel and look cold, numb, painful, blue.
Call a doctor immediately if you notice any unexplained wounds on the fingers or toes while on these medications.
Adderall Drug Interactions
There are many medications that may interact negatively with the use of Adderall.
Acidifying agents such as but not limited to, guanethidine, reserpine, glutamic acid HCl, ascorbic acid, ammonium chloride, sodium acid phosphate, and methenamine salts.
Other medications under the following classifications also have related side effects to Adderall.
- adrenergic blockers,
- Alkalinizing agents,
- Tricyclic antidepressants,
- CYP2D6 inhibitors
- Serotonergic drugs
- MAO inhibitors
- Proton pump inhibitors
- Veratrum alkaloids
Other drugs that may interact negatively with Adderall include;
- Lithium carbonate
- Methenamine therapy
Due to the extensive list of potential interactions, it is important for you to be open and honest with your physician about all prescription, over the counter, herbal and home remedy medications that you take or plan to take while on Adderall.
Negative interactions with Adderall are not solely limited to drugs. However, those with certain medical conditions may react negatively to its use. It is important to talk to your doctor if you have any of the following issues. This may affect both your ability to take Adderall or your prescribed dose.
- Angina pectoris
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Fructose intolerance
- Glucose-galactose malabsorption
- Heart failure
- Motor tics
- Recent MI
- Severe agitation
- Severe hypertension
- Sucrase-isomaltase insufficiency
- Tourette’s syndrome or family history
Vyvanse Drug Interactions
There are slightly different drug interactions with the use of Vyvanse. However, they are generally the same as the interactions of drugs with Adderall. It is important to discuss with your doctor before use of Vyvanse if you are using or plan to use any of the following medications;
- MAO inhibitors
- Serotonergic drugs
- CYP2D6 inhibitors
- Alkalinizing agents
- Acidifying agents
- Tricyclic antidepressants.
- Adrenergic blockers
- Gastrointestinal & Urinary acidifiers
- Veratrum alkaloids
- Sympathomimetic drugs
Other medications with interactions include:
Since drug interactions are not the only interactions a person can have with the use of Vyvanse, it is important to discuss if you have any of the following conditions with your doctor before the use of Vyvanse.
- Advanced arteriosclerosis
- History of drug abuse
- History of seizures
- Moderate to severe hypertension
- Symptomatic cardiovascular disease
Always follow the directions of your medical professional. However, generic dosing for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder includes the following:
- This medication is not recommended for children who are under the age of three years old.
- Children aged 3 to 5 years of age should start with a daily dose of 2.5mg. If this medication dose is not enough to achieve the desired effect, then the daily dose can be raised in 2.5mg increments weekly. This can be repeated until the patient achieves the desired response.
- The daily dosage for children who are 6 years of age or older is 5mg once or twice daily. If this dose does not produce the desired outcome, then the daily dose may be increased in increments of 5mg weekly. It is very rare for children to need more than 40 mg of a daily dose per day. The first dose is to be given in the morning and any additional doses should be given in 4 to 6-hour intervals. Ever so often, the use of this drug may need to be stopped in order to re-assess if the patient still needs to take this medication
The dosage for the patient with narcolepsy is slightly different.
- Generally, the typical doses range between 5mg and 60mg per day, in divided doses. This will completely be up to the patient’s response to this medication.
- The suggested dose for patients aged 6 to 12 is 5mg per day. This dose may be increased during weekly intervals by 5mg.
- In patients who are 12 years and older, their suggested dose is 10mg daily. The daily dose may be increased by 10mg increments weekly to achieve the desired effect. Similarly to ADHD use, the first dose of the day should always be given in the morning, and the other doses should be given at 4 to 6-hour intervals.
The dosage for individuals with ADHD taking Vyvanse is as follows.
- For both adult and pediatric patients, the initial dose is 30 mg each morning. If that dose does not produce the desired effect then the daily amount can be increased by either 10 mg or 20 mg per week. However, the maximum dose allowed for all patients is 70 mg a day.
- For patients who are taking Vyvanse to treat their binge eating disorder, the suggested initial dosage is 30mg every morning. If this amount does not help the patient achieve their desired effect, then the dose can be increased at weekly intervals by 20mg a day. The maximum dosage for Vyvanse is 70mg per day.
- Special considerations for those with renal impairment may be needed. For patients with severe renal impairment, the maximum allowed dose is 50mg per day. For those with end-stage renal disease, the maximum allowed dosage is 30mg per day.
Costs: Vyvanse vs Adderall
Currently, Adderall is available for purchase in generic form. Typically generic medications can be purchased for less money.
However, Vyvanse can only be purchased in its current brand name form. There are no existing generic brands of Vyvanse, so the price will be more expensive than Adderall.
The estimated cost of Adderall is $760 per 100 capsules. However, the generic versions of this drug are available for approximately $465-$533 for 100 capsules.
Vyvanse however, is only available in one form at approximately $884 for 100 capsules. A generic form of this drug is not expected until 2023.
Although insurance may help foot the bill for these drugs, your out of pocket costs for Vyvanse is generally going to be higher than Adderall.
Is One Drug Safer Than the Other?
Since Vyvanse is a prodrug, it has many benefits. First, the side effects are typically less severe than Adderall.
Secondly, Vyvanse can only be taken orally to work, since it needs the enzymes in the body to metabolize it before it can do its job. However, Adderall can be ground up to be snorted and mixed with water to be injected.
This means that it may be less likely to be abused than Adderall. However, that is not to say that abuse of Vyvanse does not exist.
There is a huge potential for abuse with the use of Vyvanse. It is also thought to produce less negative effects related to the “crash that happens when a person stops taking stimulants” once the drug wears off or is stopped.
Due to these reasons alone, some may choose Vyvanse over Adderall.
Making a Choice
The choice between the two medications is up to you. While there are many good reasons to choose Vyvanse over Adderall for the use of ADHD, it is important to keep in mind the price.
It is also important to remember that Vyvanse may not work for narcolepsy and Adderall may not work for binge eating disorder. Creating an honest and open dialogue with your doctor is your best bet to finding which drug will work best for you.