Can vyvanse help with depression

The Effects of Vyvanse on the Body

The Effects of Vyvanse on the Body
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Medically reviewed by Rebecca Barnhart, PharmD, BCPP — By Ann Pietrangelo — Updated on Jul 27, 2021

Vyvanse is mainly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In some cases, it may cause side effects such as gastrointestinal problems, numbness, or a fast heart rate.

Vyvanse can help improve symptoms associated with ADHD, such as issues with focus and attention, as well as hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

In January of 2015, Vyvanse also became the first medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of binge-eating disorder in adults.

In this article, we’ll cover the effect that Vyvanse has on different systems of the body, and how it’s used to treat binge-eating disorder and ADHD.

Vyvanse is the brand name for lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, a prodrug. It isn’t active in the body until it’s absorbed in the GI tract and converted to the active component dextroamphetamine, which belongs to the class of drugs known as amphetamines.

This drug is a federally controlled substance, which means it has the potential for abuse or dependence.

Vyvanse hasn’t been tested in children under age 6 who have ADHD, or in children under age 18 with binge-eating disorder. It’s not approved for use as a weight loss drug or to treat obesity.

Vyvanse can begin working in the body as soon as the first dose. Like any medication, it may take a few weeks to adjust to side effects, and your doctor may need to adjust the dose over a period of time to figure out the correct dose.

Before using Vyvanse, tell your doctor if you have any pre-existing health conditions or if you take any other medications. Be sure to tell your doctor if you experience side effects. It’s illegal and dangerous to share your prescription with someone else.

Vyvanse works by altering the balance of chemicals in your brain and increasing norepinephrine and dopamine levels. Norepinephrine is a stimulant, and dopamine is a naturally occurring substance that stimulates feelings of pleasure and reward.

If you have ADHD, you may notice an improvement in your attention span. It can also help control hyperactivity and impulsiveness and improve concentration. It’s also used off label for treatment resistant depression and narcolepsy. It may improve depression, fatigue, sleepiness and wakefulness.

When used to treat binge-eating disorder, Vyvanse may help you binge less frequently.

Common side effects in the central nervous system include:

  • trouble sleeping
  • mild anxiety
  • feeling jittery or irritable

Rare side effects include:

  • fatigue
  • extreme anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • mania
  • hallucinations
  • delusions
  • feelings of paranoia

Tell your doctor if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Vyvanse can be habit-forming, especially if you take it for a long time, and it has a potential for abuse. You should not use this medication without a doctor’s supervision.

If you become dependent on amphetamines, stopping suddenly can cause you to go through withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • shakiness
  • inability to sleep
  • excessive sweating

Your doctor can help you lower the dose a little at a time so you can safely stop taking the drug.

Some children may experience a slightly slower rate of growth while taking this medication. It’s not usually cause for concern, but your doctor will probably monitor your child’s development as a precaution.

You shouldn’t take this medication if you’re taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, if you have heart disease, or if you’ve had a bad reaction to another stimulant drug.

One of the more common cardiovascular system side effects is a slightly faster heart rate. You may also have a substantial elevation in heart rate or blood pressure, but this is less common. It can also cause cardiac arrhythmias.

Vyvanse can also cause problems with circulation. You may have circulation problems if your fingers and toes feel cold or numb, or if your skin turns blue or red. If that happens, tell your doctor.

Rarely, Vyvanse can cause shortness of breath.

Vyvanse can affect your digestive system. Some of the more common digestive system problems include:

  • dry mouth
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • constipation
  • diarrhea

Some people have a noticeable drop in appetite when taking this medication. This can lead to some weight loss, but Vyvanse isn’t a good weight loss treatment. It may lead to anorexia in some cases.

It’s important to maintain a balanced diet and talk with your doctor if weight loss persists.

Amphetamines can pass through breast milk, so be sure to tell your doctor if you’re breastfeeding. Also, frequent or prolonged erections have been reported. If you have a prolonged erection, you should seek medical help.

Last medically reviewed on July 27, 2021

How we reviewed this article:

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • Amphetamine (Adderall). (2012).
  • Guerdjikova AI, et al. (2016). Novel pharmacologic treatment in acute binge eating disorder – role of lisdexamfetamine.
  • Label: Vyvanse- lisdexamfetamine dimesylate capsule. (2021).
  • Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) capsules, for oral use, CII. (2017).

Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

Jul 27, 2021

Written By

Ann Pietrangelo

Edited By

John Bassham

Medically Reviewed By

Rebecca Barnhart, PharmD, BCPP

Copy Edited By

Connor Rice

Sep 2, 2018

Written By

Ann Pietrangelo


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Medically reviewed by Rebecca Barnhart, PharmD, BCPP — By Ann Pietrangelo — Updated on Jul 27, 2021

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Vyvanse For Depression: Lisdexamfetamine As An Adjunct Treatment

Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) is a drug developed by Shire Pharmaceuticals as a successor to Adderall.  Vyvanse was first approved for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder  (ADHD) in 2007.  In 2015, Vyvanse was approved for binge eating disorder and was found to successfully minimize appetite and number of binge eating episodes per week compared to a placebo.

The drug has been investigated for a variety of other conditions, including the treatment of major depressive disorder.   In fact, Shire Pharmaceuticals was fairly confident that the drug would be a success in treating depression, so much so that they conducted multiple late-stage clinical trials to determine its effectiveness as an adjunct.  Unfortunately the trials were discontinued as a result of the drug’s poor efficacy.

The trials indicated that using Vyvanse with an antidepressant was no more effective than using a standalone SSRI or SNRI.  Despite these findings, there is significant evidence that using psychostimulants as antidepressant augmentation strategies in cases of refractory depression is highly effective.  Among individuals with depression that’s resistant to normative treatments, Vyvanse may provide some benefit.

Vyvanse for Depression: Lisdexamfetamine as an Adjunct

Many cases of refractory depression respond well when a psychostimulant is added as an adjunct.  While a psychostimulant may not be even a first-line adjunct option, in many cases it is effective.  Adding a psychostimulant to an existing antidepressant may improve energy, motivation, cognition, and address low dopamine levels that may be contributing to depression.

A majority of psychiatrists end up testing drugs like antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and even thyroid hormone as an adjunct strategy for depression.  However, these substances may exacerbate SSRI-induced side effects (e.g. weight gain, sluggishness, sexual dysfunction), a psychostimulant like Vyvanse may be a better adjunct.  Furthermore, Vyvanse may counteract unwanted antidepressant-induced side effects (e.g. weight loss, sexual dysfunction, drowsiness).

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Research Timeline: Vyvanse for Depression

The drug Vyvanse was slated to become an FDA approved adjunct treatment for depression, but was found ineffective in late stage clinical trials.  That said, there have been numerous studies suggesting that Vyvanse may help with certain aspects of depression.  It may be particularly beneficial for those with major depression and: comorbid ADHD, executive dysfunction, or lingering depressive symptoms during antidepressant treatment.

2011: A study published in 2011 investigated the safety and efficacy of Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) among individuals with ADHD that had a history of depression and/or substance use.  Researchers gathered data of comorbid depression from medical history reports filed by clinicians.  The study incorporated a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design with forced titrations of Vyvanse.

Results from the study were analyzed based on ratings from the ADHD Rating Scale and Clinical Global Impressions Scale.  Data was collected prior to treatment with Vyvanse, and following the treatment of 30 mg, 50 mg, or 70 mg.  Outcomes indicated that Vyvanse produced the same effect among individuals regardless of whether they had a history of depression, substance abuse, or no comorbid condition.

Based on the results of this study, Vyvanse was able to eradicate attentional deficits just as significantly among individuals with a history of depression as those without one.   While this is a small scale study, it highlights the fact that the drug may be particularly beneficial for those who have ADHD with comorbid depression or vice-versa.  It remained unclear as to whether those with a history of depression were depressed at the time of the study, as well as whether mood improved as a result of Vyvanse treatment.

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2013: Results from a randomized clinical trial were published that evaluated Vyvanse as an adjunct treatment for adults with residual depressive symptoms following treatment with Lexapro.  The goal of this trial was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Vyvanse in reducing lingering depressive symptoms that weren’t alleviated by Lexapro.  A total of 129 adults participated in the study, and the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale was administered to assess pre-trial, intra-trial, and post-trial depressive symptoms.

Results of the study suggested that the depressive symptoms of the 65 individuals receiving Vyvanse improved significantly when compared to the 64 individuals receiving a placebo.   Researchers noted significant reductions in Montgomery-Asberg Depression Ratings after 14 weeks.  Authors suggest that among individuals with inadequate responses to an antidepressant, adjunct treatment with Vyvanse may be an effective option.

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2013: Another study was published in 2013 that specifically analyzed the effects of Vyvanse on body weight and metabolism. Their secondary objective was to analyze the effect of Vyvanse in reducing ADHD and depressive symptoms among individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder (both type 1 and 2).  The study consisted of 45 adults with bipolar disorder and comorbid ADHD with stable moods.

The study involved flexible dosing and was regarded as being open-label. All participants began with 30 mg of Vyvanse as an adjunct for the first week.  Flexible dosing meant that some participants may have their dosage titrated upwards between 30 mg and 70 mg between Week 2 and Week 4 of the study.

The average dose of Vyvanse administered was 60 mg, and researchers noted a significant decrease in weight after 4 weeks when compared to baseline measures.  The following measures also decreased when compared to baseline: body mass index, fasting total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high density lipoprotein cholesterol.  Reductions in ADHD and depressive symptoms were considered significant after 4-weeks when compared to baseline measures.

This suggests that short-term (one month) treatment with Vyvanse may elicit favorable effects on body weight (e.g. weight loss) and body mass index.  More importantly, the drug was considered effective in reducing both attentional deficits and depressive symptoms among those with bipolar disorder.  This provides further evidence elucidating some benefit associated with using Vyvanse for depression.

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2014: A study published in 2014 evaluated Vyvanse as an augmentation to antidepressant monotherapy among individuals with executive dysfunction with comorbid partial or fully remitted major depression.  This was a randomized, placebo-controlled study with 143 adult participants.  All individuals had been taking an antidepressant for at least 8 weeks and were assessed with the following measures: Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF), and Self-Report-Global Executive Composite (GEC).

Following a preliminary screening period of 2 weeks, all participants were assigned to 9 weeks of either Vyvanse or a placebo as an adjunct, followed by a single-blind setup with just a placebo.  A total of 119 individuals were able to complete the study, and statistically significant improvements were noted among the 60 individuals receiving Vyvanse compared to the 59 receiving a placebo.  These improvements were significant among all rating scales: MADRS, BRIEF, and GEC.

Results suggest that among adults with executive dysfunction, and partial or fully remitted depression, Vyvanse significantly improved the executive dysfunction and further reduced depressive symptoms.   Authors noted that Vyvanse had a relatively safe side effect profile and that the results were consistent with other findings.  This means that if your depression is compromising your executive performance, Vyvanse may provide significant benefit.

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2015: Newer research published in 2015 attempted to determine both the efficacy and tolerability of Vyvanse among individuals experiencing bipolar depression.  In this study, 25 individuals with either Type 1 or Type 2 bipolar disorder enrolled in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study over the course of 8 weeks.  Of these individuals, 11 were administered Vyvanse, while 14 were administered a placebo.

To determine the degree to which a person’s depression had improved, researchers assessed depressive symptoms using the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Scale.  Results from the study suggested that there were no significant differences in terms of mood between the Vyvanse group and the placebo group based on Montgomery-Asberg Depression Scale ratings.   That said, self-reports among those receiving the Vyvanse were notably different than those receiving the placebo.

Those administered the Vyvanse self-reported less depressive symptoms, reduced fatigue, less daytime sleepiness, and reductions in binge eating.  Further data revealed that those taking the Vyvanse had reduced fasting levels of low-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol.  Authors of the study indicate that Vyvanse was well-tolerated, but may have potential for abuse.

The subjective self-reports of reduced depression as a result of the Vyvanse should be worth noting.  Additionally the small sample size of the study makes it difficult to determine the degree by which those receiving the Vyvanse differed from those receiving the placebo.  There is a need for larger-scale, longer-term studies analyzing the effects of Vyvanse in treating bipolar depression.

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How Vyvanse May Help Depression: Mechanisms of Action

Vyvanse may help alleviate certain depressive symptoms via its mechanism of action as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor and its ability to stimulate the release of presynaptic neurotransmitters.   This provides an individual with increases in dopamine, that when combined with an SNRI are targeting the trifecta of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.  In other words, you’re getting an effect akin to taking a “triple reuptake inhibitor” (SNDRI).

  • CNS stimulation: Vyvanse is a potent CNS stimulant. The lisdexamfetamine is metabolized into dextroamphetamine and the amino acid l-lysine.  The dextroamphetamine is what stimulates the central nervous system and increases your energy levels.  This means that you’ll feel more activated, less tired, and your brain will be operating at a higher level than without the drug.
  • Dopamine increase: For some individuals, a notable benefit resulting from the usage of psychostimulants like Vyvanse is a dopamine increase. Vyvanse substantially increases dopamine levels and activates dopamine receptors in the prefrontal cortex (D1 receptor).  Some individuals may benefit significantly from the dopamine increase.   In fact, certain people may find that dopamine not serotonin was the initial cause of their depression; targeting it with Vyvanse may help.
  • Other neurotransmitter increases: Vyvanse is known to increase a variety of other neurotransmitter concentrations, most notably norepinephrine. There is speculation that low norepinephrine and depression are linked.  It also affects serotonin to a minor extent, eliciting subtle increases.
  • Prefrontal activation: Those with depression and/or executive dysfunction often have impaired activation of the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the most advanced part of your brain that helps you with critical analysis, planning, thought organization, attention, and even mood.  Vyvanse helps activate the prefrontal cortex, offsetting the effects that stem from hypoactivation – one of which may be depression.
  • Triple reuptake inhibition: There’s a lot of buzz about new “SNDRI” drugs, but these shouldn’t be regarded as anything special. If you want to experience these triple reuptake inhibitors, you could theoretically just add Vyvanse to an SNRI.  This will provide reuptake of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.  Some people may find this advantageous over targeting just one neurotransmitter like serotonin.

Potential Benefits of Vyvanse as an adjunct

Below are some potential benefits associated with taking Vyvanse for depression.  Many of these benefits may indirectly contribute to mood improvement as a result of improvements in realms such as: cognitive function, productivity, motivation, and weight loss.

  • Cognitive enhancement: Vyvanse is well documented as a cognitive enhancer. In fact, taking it has been shown to increase IQ by an average of 4.5 IQ points among those with ADHD.  While this improvement may not be permanent, it can provide a temporary boost to someone who is severely depressed that cannot think clearly.  For some individuals, just enhancing cognition results in improved self-esteem and less depression.
  • Counteracting side effects: Another obvious benefit associated with using Vyvanse is that it may counteract antidepressant-induced side effects. This means that if your antidepressant is causing weight gain, it may neutralize it or tip the scale towards weight loss.  It also can improve antidepressant-induced brain fog, excessive drowsiness, or sexual dysfunction.
  • Motivation boost: There’s also potential for Vyvanse to significantly increase your motivation. The dopamine increase as a result of this medication is believed to motivate us to achieve goals and avoid unfavorable outcomes.  This means that you may feel more motivated to accomplish goals.  Goal-oriented behavior is known to help offset depression and increase feelings of well-being.
  • Productivity: Those taking Vyvanse may find that they are significantly more productive while taking it than they had in the past. This is due to the increase in prefrontal activation coupled with the dopaminergic and noradrenergic effects of the drug.   When you feel more motivated, can think clearer, and your brain is performing at a higher level, your productivity will increase.  Increasing productivity may lead to a better mood via feelings of accomplishment, achievement, or a pay increase at work.
  • Sexual enhancement: Regardless of whether you find your antidepressant causing sexual dysfunction, Vyvanse has potential to help. It may enhance sexual function as a result of increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels.  This may result in a higher libido, improved sexual performance, or greater pleasure associated with sex.
  • Socialization: Sometimes users may attain a pro-social effect from a drug like Vyvanse. This makes them feel increasingly confident in social situations as a result of heightened mental acuity.  In other words, a person may feel more “primed” for conversation and derive more pleasure from social interactions than they had in the past.
  • Weight loss: There is significant evidence linking Vyvanse and weight loss. The drug is known to curb binge eating episodes, reduce appetite, speed metabolism, and provide you with increased energy for working out.  Although it shouldn’t be used solely for weight loss, the added benefit of weight loss could theoretically translate to an improved mood.

Optimal scenarios to use Vyvanse for depression

There are several types of depression that may respond better to Vyvanse as an adjunct than others.  Since Vyvanse is approved to treat ADHD and binge eating disorder, individuals with those conditions may experience an indirect mood boost from getting their attentional deficit or binge eating under control.

  • ADHD: If you have ADHD, medicating your attention-deficit and/or hyperactivity may benefit your depression.  Some individuals with ADHD may find that when their attention span increases, they feel less depressed.  ADHD can cause depression, or occur entirely separate from depression.  In any regard, those with ADHD and comorbid depression or depression with comorbid ADHD may stand to benefit from Vyvanse.
  • Binge eating disorder: In 2015 Vyvanse was approved by the FDA for the treatment of binge eating disorder (BED).  Those who experience depression related to their binge eating may feel less depressed when Vyvanse gets their binge eating under control.  That said, even if the binge eating and depression are mutually exclusive conditions, it’s possible that the Vyvanse may alleviate certain aspects of depression.
  • Dopaminergic depression: If you have abnormally low levels of dopamine, working to increase dopamine may offset many of your depressive symptoms.  Although natural methods for increasing dopamine may provide benefit, they are not as potent as Vyvanse.  For individuals that are believed to have an atypical dopaminergic depression, Vyvanse may be a preferred treatment.
  • Fatigue-based symptoms: Just because Vyvanse isn’t approved to treat narcolepsy or excessive daytime sleepiness doesn’t render it ineffective for those conditions.   The active ingredient resulting from the breakdown of Vyvanse is dextroamphetamine, which has been used to reduce sleepiness and fatigue since World War II.  If you have a fatigue-based depression, Vyvanse may help combat your tiredness.
  • Treatment-resistant depression: Those with depression that is resistant to traditional treatments may respond well when adding Vyvanse to antidepressant monotherapy. Sometimes there’s a symbiotic or synergistic reaction between various medications and their ability to reduce depression.  Adding Vyvanse to an existing antidepressant may provide significant benefit to those with refractory depression.

Why you may want to avoid Vyvanse for depression

Not every person with depression will respond well to Vyvanse.  In some cases, Vyvanse may exacerbate depressive symptoms or even worsen comorbid conditions like anxiety.  For others, the drug may lead to abuse, addiction, and/or dependence – potentially increasing depression.

  • Abuse potential: Vyvanse is classified as a “Schedule II” controlled-substance.  This means that it has a high potential for abuse.  The potential for abuse stems from the dopaminergic rush that the drug provides, creating a temporary euphoria for abusers.  Abuse may result in abnormally high dopamine levels and ultimately may trigger stimulant psychosis.
  • Addiction: If you have an addictive personality, this may be the wrong drug to try.  Many people become addicted to its stimulatory effects and they continue to seek out Vyvanse or other stimulants.  If you are constantly thinking about taking your next Vyvanse pill or getting your next dextroamphetamine fix, this probably isn’t a good fit.
  • Anxiety: Many individuals with depression have comorbid anxiety.  In rare cases, a person’s anxiety may actually improve from Vyvanse, but this is uncommon.  In most cases, an individual will feel a heightened sense of anxiety, nervousness, and discomfort.
  • Dependence: Over time, it is highly possible to become dependent upon Vyvanse for functioning.  This means that you may come to rely on the drug in order to perform (at school or work), socialize, or even stay alert throughout the day.  This dependence is most often psychological in that a person feels they need the drug to mentally function, but may also be physical.
  • Insomnia: Another potential drawback associated with Vyvanse is that it may throw off your sleep cycle as a result of insomnia.  Sure the stimulation from the drug may improve your depression, but it may also lead to an inability to sleep or broken sleep.  Difficulties with sleep can exacerbate depression and lead to other health problems.
  • Long-term effects: The long-term effects associated with psychostimulant usage may be undesirable, particularly for those without ADHD.  Over time, your brain may downregulate dopamine receptors and burn up endogenous dopamine stores as a result of the Vyvanse.   This means that over the long-term, you may be digging yourself in a dopaminergic hole that will be difficult to escape.
  • Refill difficulty: Due to the fact that Vyvanse is a “Schedule II” drug, refills are not available.  This means that you must have a physical signed copy of a prescription from your psychiatrist for each 30 day supply of Vyvanse.  If you aren’t able to see your psychiatrist within a month, you may experience temporary withdrawals.
  • Side effects: Some people don’t react well when taking psychostimulants.  Vyvanse may make them feel jittery, jumpy, or restless.  In other cases, a person may experience headaches, dizziness, or excess sweating.  If the side effects become unbearable, this drug may not be a good option.
  • Tolerance: It is relatively easy to build up tolerance to the effects of dextroamphetamine.  This means that you may need to frequently increase your Vyvanse dosing to alleviate your depressive symptoms.   Once tolerance is established to the highest dose, you may find that you get no additional relief from the drug.
  • Withdrawal: The discontinuation associated with stopping Vyvanse shouldn’t be minimized.  Those that have taken the drug for a long-term, especially at a high dose are likely to experience debilitating Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms.  These include increases in fatigue, sleepiness, and cognitive impairment.  In many cases the withdrawals will be more severe than the symptoms experienced prior to taking the drug.

How does Vyvanse compare to Adderall for depression?

In the past, many psychiatrists utilized Adderall for depression as a psychostimulant adjunct.  Adderall is very similar to Vyvanse in that it contains dextroamphetamine (75%), but also contains levoamphetamine (25%).  Vyvanse is a prodrug, meaning it is biologically inactive until orally ingested.  Upon ingestion, the drug takes nearly 2 hours before it is metabolized into dextroamphetamine and l-lysine.

Vyvanse is considered to have a slightly lower potential for abuse, is slightly less potent, and a longer duration of effect by comparison.  For more information, you can check out the comparison article I wrote called “Adderall vs. Vyvanse.”  Neither Vyvanse nor Adderall should be regarded as superior to the other for depression – responses are largely subject to individual variation.

How does Vyvanse compare to Provigil for depression?

Vyvanse differs from Provigil in that it has a greater potential for abuse and dependence.  Provigil doesn’t provide as significant of a dopamine kick and has a shorter duration of effect by comparison.  That said, Provigil may be the preferred choice by some psychiatrists due to the fact that it doesn’t have as significant abuse potential, has less intense side effects, and minimal withdrawal symptoms (by comparison).

Some individuals may respond better to the mechanisms of Provigil better than Vyvanse or vice-versa. For additional information, read “Provigil for depression.

Personal Experience Taking Vyvanse for Depression

For several months, I took Vyvanse on an intermittent basis to treat depression.  Although it was meant to be used as an adjunct, I used it intermittently as a standalone option.  I wasn’t too keen on continuing with my antidepressant due to undesirable side effects, so I stopped it and only used Vyvanse as needed.

Due to the potential for abuse, I used an extremely low dose by taking a 30 mg capsule and pouring the powder into yogurt – this was recommended by my psychiatrist.  I probably was taking somewhere around 10 mg to 15 mg and experienced noticeable benefit.  It may not have made me feel “happy” or “euphoric” like Adderall did, but it certainly alleviated my depression.

It dramatically increased my mental clarity, optimism, and cognitive function.  Despite my experience with low dose Vyvanse for depression, I never wanted to become dependent upon it or fall victim to the long-term trap of downregulation of dopamine receptors and low dopamine levels.   That said, nearly every time I took it, it eradicated my suicidal thoughts and depression, while simultaneously giving me hope for the future.

Verdict: Vyvanse may be an effective adjunct treatment for depression

Despite the fact that formal FDA approval wasn’t granted to Vyvanse as an adjunct treatment for major depression, there is evidence suggesting that it may be helpful for select individuals – particularly those with treatment-resistant depression.  Additionally, those that have comorbidities of ADHD, binge eating disorder, executive dysfunction, or fatigue may derive significant benefit from Vyvanse.  Certainly this drug shouldn’t be used in everyone, particularly those with addictive personalities.

That said, if a psychostimulant is to be used as an adjunct, Vyvanse may be a preferred option over older drugs.  This is due to the fact that it is a prodrug, is believed to have a smoother absorption, is less likely to make a person “crash,” and has a long duration of effect.   However, some psychiatrists may still prefer Provigil (modafinil) over Schedule II substances like Vyvanse due to its well established efficacy and reduced abuse potential.

Have you found Vyvanse helpful for depression?

If you have personally used Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) to help treat your depression, feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.  For those that are taking Vyvanse as an adjunct, what benefits were most pronounced when you started taking it?  Did you find the drug effective at offsetting SSRI or SNRI-based side effects?  Keep in mind that some people may find that Vyvanse worsens their depression, if you disliked this drug’s effect on your mood, be sure to explain.

what you need to know - Drink-Drink

Although not common, Vivanse can cause long-term side effects. This includes side effects that may persist even after the end of treatment, or side effects that occur after taking the drug for a long time.

If you have any questions about possible long-term side effects of Vivanse, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Vyvanse is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children 6 years of age and older. Children may be more prone to certain side effects than adults.

Studies have also reported sudden changes in emotion or mood in children aged 6 to 12 years who took Vivanse. Examples of these types of changes may include uncontrollable crying or laughing at inappropriate times. Emotional or mood changes have not been reported in people aged 13 years and older who took Vivanse during the studies.

Vivanse may cause growth retardation (height and weight) in children. Your child's doctor will closely monitor their height and weight and compare them to the average height for your child's age. If they notice signs of growth retardation, your child's doctor may temporarily or permanently stop taking Vivanse.

If you have any questions about Vivanse side effects in children, talk to your child's doctor or pharmacist.

Frequently Asked Questions about Vivanse Side Effects

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Vivanse side effects.

Can Vivanse's side effects vary depending on the strength of my dose (10mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 50mg, 60mg, 70mg)?

It is possible. For example, studies have shown that weight loss is more likely at higher doses of Vivanse.

These studies did not always compare side effects at different dosages of Vivanse, so it is not known if other side effects may differ depending on the dosage.

If you experience side effects from taking Vivanse, lowering the dose may help reduce the side effect. But you should not change your dose of Vivanse unless your doctor tells you to do so. Always take Vivanse exactly as directed by your doctor.

If you have any other questions about how your dose may affect the risk of side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Does Vyvanse cause anger or other emotional side effects?

Yes, Vivanse can cause emotional side effects, including anger.

People who took Vivanse reported certain emotional side effects in studies, including:

  • anger
  • depression*
  • irritability
  • extreme excitement and energy)
  • mood changes

If you are concerned about the emotional side effects of Vivanse, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They can discuss how to treat these side effects.

How long do the side effects of Vivance last?

In many cases, the side effects caused by Vivanse are supposed to be temporary. And mild side effects often go away on their own or are easy to treat.

But if you have any symptoms that persist or bother you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may suggest stopping Vivanse treatment and switching to another drug.

Side effects explained

Find out more about some of the side effects Vivanse may cause.

Sleep problems

Sleep problems may occur during treatment with Vyvance. Sleep problems reported in studies of the drug included insomnia (trouble sleeping) and nightmares. Insomnia was one of the most common side effects of Vivanse's drug. In rare cases, people have stopped taking Vivanse due to insomnia.

Insomnia has been more common in adults in studies, but has also been reported in children treated with Vivanse.

It is important to note that sleep problems can also be a symptom of serious side effects that Vivanse can cause. Examples of these serious side effects include psychiatric disorders such as mania, depression and psychosis.

What can help

Vyvanse is a central nervous system stimulant that may keep you awake if taken later in the day. To prevent sleep problems such as insomnia, avoid taking your dose in the afternoon while taking Vivanse. Instead, take Vivanse in the morning.

If you have trouble sleeping while taking Vivanse, talk to your doctor. They may offer treatment for this side effect, which may include new prescription or over-the-counter medications. Or they may force you to stop taking Vivanse and switch to another treatment for your condition.


Some people may experience headaches during treatment with Vivanse. This side effect has been rare in studies, but some people have stopped taking Vivanse due to headaches.

What can help

Vivanse headaches can go away on their own. But if you experience headaches that bother you or don't go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may suggest treatment for this side effect, such as a new prescription or over-the-counter drug. Or they may suggest that you stop taking Vivanse and try another treatment for your condition.


In some cases, depression may occur when using Vivanse. Studies have reported depression in people taking Vivanse, but this was not common.

Symptoms of depression may include:

  • changes in appetite
  • feelings of agitation or anxiety
  • feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy
  • help you sleep too much or too little
  • What can be done

    If you notice symptoms of depression while taking Vivanse, it is important to talk to your doctor. They may suggest treatment options such as prescription drugs, cognitive behavioral therapy, or a combination of therapies. Your doctor may also suggest that you stop taking Vivanse and try another treatment for your condition.

    Misuse and risk of addiction

    Vivanse has a warning in the box for risk of misuse (also called abuse) and addiction. The boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It warns doctors and patients about drug side effects that can be dangerous.

    Treatment with Vivanse may lead to physical dependence or misuse. With addiction, your body needs the drug to feel normal. Misuse, on the other hand, means taking the drug differently from what your doctor ordered. This includes taking medications for non-medical purposes.

    Misuse can lead to addiction. Some people may also develop addiction when taking Vivanse as prescribed. In addiction, it is difficult to stop taking the drug, even if it can cause harm.

    Symptoms of misuse of Vivanse may include:

    • aggressive or hostile behavior
    • excessive sweating
    • heavy breathing
    • high blood pressure
    • sleep problems, including insomnia
    • Thoughts of hurting yourself or others
    What can help

    Your doctor will review your medical history before prescribing Vivanse. They will look for any risk factors for misuse or addiction. They will also monitor you for any symptoms of abuse or addiction during treatment.

    Call your doctor right away if you are concerned about misuse or addiction while taking Vivanse. They may lower your dose or force you to switch to a different drug for your condition.

    Because Vivanse can be addictive, it is important that you do not stop taking the drug unless your doctor tells you to. If you need to stop treatment, your doctor will reduce your dose over time. This can help prevent withdrawal symptoms (side effects that can occur when you stop taking a drug your body has become addicted to).

    Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about stopping treatment with Vivanse or the risk of abuse or dependence.

    Allergic reaction

    Like most medicines, Vivanse may cause an allergic reaction in some people. But this side effect was not reported in studies. However, this has been reported since the drug was approved for use.

    Symptoms may be mild or severe and may include:

    • skin rash
    • itching
    • redness (temporary warmth, redness, or increased skin color)
    • swelling under the skin, usually on the eyelids, lips, arms, or legs
    • swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat that makes breathing difficult
    What can help

    If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest an over-the-counter oral antihistamine such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) or a topical product such as hydrocortisone cream to relieve your symptoms.

    If your doctor confirms that you had a mild allergic reaction to Vivance, they will decide whether you should continue using it.

    If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or difficulty breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. These symptoms can be life threatening and require immediate medical attention.

    If your doctor confirms that you have had a serious allergic reaction to Vivance, he may ask you to switch to another treatment.

    Tracking side effects

    Consider keeping a record of any side effects you experience during your treatment with Vyvanse. You can then share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful when you first start taking new medications or using a combination of treatments.

    Your notes about side effects may include things like:

    • what dose of the drug you were taking when you had the side effect
    • how soon after starting this dose you had the side effect
    • what were your symptoms due to for a side effect
    • how it affected your daily activities
    • what other medications you also took
    • any other information you think is important

    Taking notes and sharing them with your doctor will help him learn more about how Vivanse is affecting you. And your doctor can use this information to adjust your treatment plan if necessary.

    Warnings for Vivanse

    Before deciding to take Vivanse, certain warnings must be taken into account. See below for details.

    Warning box: risk of misuse and addiction

    Vivanse has a warning in the box for risk of misuse and addiction. The boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    The use of stimulant drugs such as Vivanse can lead to abuse and dependence. This can happen even at recommended doses.

    See the "Explanation of Side Effects" section above for more information.

    Other warnings

    Vyvanse may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other health conditions. Talk to your doctor about your medical history before taking Vivanse. The list below includes factors to consider.

    Blood flow problems. Vyvanse can cause problems with blood flow in the fingers and toes, including a condition called Raynaud's phenomenon. If you already have blood flow problems, taking Vivanse may make your condition worse. Your doctor can help determine if it is safe for you to take Vivanse.

    Heart problems. In rare cases, Vivanse may cause heart-related side effects, including heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, or sudden death. You may be at a higher risk of these side effects if you already have heart problems, such as an abnormal heart rhythm or heart disease. Your doctor can help determine if it is safe to take Vivanse for your heart condition.

    Kidney problems. Tell your doctor if you have kidney problems such as chronic kidney disease before taking Vivanse. Kidney problems can lead to a buildup of the drug in the body, which can increase the risk of side effects. Your doctor may need to prescribe a lower dose of the drug for you.

    Mental health conditions. Vivanse may cause certain psychiatric disorders including mania, depression and psychosis. If you or a family member has a mental illness, you may be at a higher risk of these side effects if you are taking Vivanse. Your doctor can determine if Vivanse is safe for you. They can also advise you on symptoms to look out for if they prescribe Vivanse for you.

    Allergic reaction. If you have had an allergic reaction to Vivanse or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Vivanse. Ask your doctor which other medicines are best for you.

    Alcohol use and Vyvanse

    There are no known interactions between alcohol and Vyvanse. But Vivanse has a warning in the box for the risk of abuse and addiction. (See "Explanation of Side Effects" above for more information.)

    If you have ever abused or depended on alcohol, your doctor may decide to prescribe a medicine other than Vivanse. This is because you may have a higher risk of misuse or dependence on Vyvanse.

    If you drink alcohol, talk to your doctor before taking Vivanse. They can tell you how much alcohol (if any) is safe for you during treatment.

    Pregnancy and lactation while taking Vivanse

    There are limited data on the use of Vivanse during pregnancy. But taking Vivanse during pregnancy can harm the fetus.

    If you have any questions about using Vivanse during pregnancy, talk to your doctor. If you are taking Vivanse while pregnant, consider registering with the National Pregnancy Registry for ADHD medications. Pregnancy registries collect information about the safety of certain medicines when taken during pregnancy.

    You should not breastfeed while taking Vivanse. This is due to the fact that the drug passes into breast milk. The drug can cause serious side effects in a breastfed baby. If you have questions about using Vivanse while breastfeeding, talk to your doctor.

    What to ask your doctor

    If you are looking for treatment options for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or an eating disorder, your doctor may suggest Vyvanse. Like most medicines, taking Vivanse can cause side effects in some people.

    Talk to your doctor if you are considering treatment with Vivanse. Some examples of questions you might want to ask include:

    • What are the side effects of Vivanse compared to other medicines that might help my condition?
    • Can Vivanse cause sexual side effects?
    • If I get side effects while taking Vivanse, will a lower dose help?

    If you are taking Vivanse for ADHD, consider subscribing to the Drink-Drink online newsletter. This resource offers guidance on managing your condition and provides answers to frequently asked questions.

    Ask a pharmacist


    If I need to stop taking Vivanse, will I have withdrawal symptoms?



    If you suddenly stop taking Vivanse, withdrawal symptoms may result. Since your body can become dependent on Vyvanse, it is important that you do not stop taking the drug unless your doctor has recommended it. (With addiction, your body needs the drug to feel normal.)

    Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that occur when you stop taking a drug that your body has become addicted to. Examples of these symptoms include:

    • severe fatigue (low energy)
    • depression
    • severe cravings
    • mood changes
    • chills

    If you and your doctor decide to gradually decrease your dose over time, your doctor will decide to stop your treatment over time. This helps prevent withdrawal symptoms.

    If you have any questions about stopping your Vivanse treatment, talk to your doctor.

    Tanya Kerstman, PharmD Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.

    Registration data: Drink-Drink has made every effort to ensure that all information is accurate, complete and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and experience of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always check with your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or side effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given medicinal product does not mean that the drug or combination of drugs is safe, effective, or suitable for all patients or for all specific uses.

    All About Vyvanse - Drink-Drink

    Here are a few symptoms that may occur when using Vyvanse incorrectly:

    If you are concerned about the risk of addiction or misuse of Vyvanse, talk to your doctor. They will check your risk before prescribing the drug. They will also monitor your risk at all times during your treatment with Vyvanse.

    Tell your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of misuse of Vivanse. They may reduce the dosage of Vivanse or evaluate the need to continue taking the drug.

    You may have weight loss while you're taking Vyvanse. This was a common side effect in studies of the drug.

    Some people experience loss or decrease in appetite when taking Vivanse. These side effects can also lead to weight loss.

    If you are concerned about weight loss while taking Vivanse, talk to your doctor. They may suggest healthy ways to boost your appetite or control your weight.

    Vivanse may cause weight loss as a side effect. But the drug is not approved for use in weight loss or the treatment of obesity. The use of such drugs for these purposes has caused serious heart problems.

    Personality effects

    You may notice effects on your personality while you are taking Vivanse. This has been a common side effect in studies of the drug, especially in children.*

    Vyvanse may cause changes in your behavior or thoughts. For example, Vivanse may cause:

    • agitation
    • emotional breakdown, such as inability to control one's emotions
    • irritability
    • mood changes

    Tell your doctor right away if you or your child notice any personality changes while taking Vivanse drug. Your doctor may advise you not to take this drug.

    Allergic reaction

    Some people may have an allergic reaction to Vivance. An allergic reaction has been reported after initial drug studies were conducted.

    Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction may include:

    • skin rash
    • itching
    • redness (temporary warmth, redness, or increased skin color)

    A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction may include swelling under the skin, usually on the eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They may also include swelling of the tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause breathing problems.

    Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Vyvanse. But if you think you need a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

    How is Vivanse taken?

    Your doctor will tell you how you should take Vivanse. They will also explain how much to take and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions. The following are commonly used dosages, but Always take the dosage prescribed by your doctor.


    Vyvanse is available in two forms that you take inside:

    • Capsules
    • Chewing tablets

    Vyvanse have the following strong sides:

    • 10 milligrams (mg)
    • 30 mg
    • 40 mg
    • 50 mg
    • 60 mg

    Vyvanse capsules also have a dosage of 70 mg.


    In Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Vivance's doses for adults are the same as for children. For Binge Eating Disorder (BED), Vyvanse is only used in adults. It is not used in children with BED.

    Vivanse does not have a recommended dosage by weight. Instead, your dose of Vyvanse depends on:

    • the condition you are using Vyvanse for
    • how well your condition is improving with Vyvanse
    • other medical conditions you have, such as kidney problems
    • other medicines you take

    For ADHD and ADHD, you will take Vivanse once a day. It is best to take a dose of Vivanse in the morning. If you take it in the afternoon or evening, Vivanse may cause insomnia (trouble falling or staying asleep).

    The maximum recommended dose of Vivanse is 70 mg per day.

    To learn more about ADHD and BED, see "What is Vyvanse used for?" section below.

    Questions about Vivanse's admission

    Here are some common questions about Vivanse's admission.

    • What if I miss a dose of Vivanse? If you miss a dose of Vivanse in the morning, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. But be aware that taking Vivance in the afternoon or evening can cause sleep problems. For this reason, it may be better to skip the missed dose and just take your regular dose the next day. If you are not sure whether to take the missed dose or skip it, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
    • Do I need to use Vyvanse for a long time? Possibly. Some people may use Vivanse for a long time. Your doctor will recommend the correct amount of time to take the drug.
    • Can Vyvanse be chewed, crushed or divided? Vyvanse is available as capsules and chewable tablets. You should do the following:
      • Chew Vyvanse chewable tablets completely before you swallow them. Don't crush or split them.
      • Swallow Vivanse capsules whole. Do not chew or crush them. If you have trouble swallowing the capsules whole, you can separate them. The powder inside the capsules can be mixed with water, juice or yogurt. However, be sure to take the mixture right away. Do not store it to eat or drink later.
    • Should I take Vivanse with food? ? You may take Vivanse with or without food.
    • How long does Vyvanse take to work? Vivanse begins to act within 1 hour after taking a dose. But you may need to take the drug for several weeks before you start to see improvement in your condition.
    • What are the signs that my dose of Vivanse is too high? Taking a high dose of Vyvanse can raise your risk for side effects. For details about side effects Vyvanse may cause, see the “What are Vyvanse’s side effects?” section above. Additionally, if your Vyvanse dose is too high, you may have symptoms of overdose. To learn more, see the “What should be done in case of overdose?” section below.

    Questions to ask your doctor

    You may have questions about Vivance and your treatment plan. It is important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.

    Here are some tips to help guide your discussion:

    • Before the meeting, write down questions such as:
      • How will Vyvanse affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
    • Take someone with you to the meeting if it makes you feel more comfortable.
    • If you don't understand something about your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.

    Remember that your doctor and other healthcare professionals are always ready to help you. And they want you to get the best possible care. So don't be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback about your treatment.

    What are the frequently asked questions about Vyvanse?

    Find answers to some frequently asked questions about Vyvanse.

    How does Vivanse work? What is its half-life and how long does it stay in your system?

    Vivanse is a type of stimulant drug called amphetamine. It is not known exactly how Vyvanse treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and compulsive overeating (BED).

    Vyvanse levels in your body usually peak about 3.5 hours after taking a Vyvanse capsule. It peaks approximately 4.4 hours after taking the chewable tablet. Peak levels of Vivanse may vary depending on whether you take the drug with food. For example, it may take longer for your body to reach maximum levels of Vivanse if you are taking Vivanse with food rather than without it.

    Vivanse's effects usually last about 14 hours after a dose.

    Vivanse's half-life describes how long it takes for half a dose of a drug to leave your body. The half-life of Vivanse is about 12 hours. So it takes about 12 hours for your body to get rid of half a dose of Vivanse.

    It usually takes about five half-lives for a drug to completely leave the body. For Vivanse, this means the drug will stay in your body for about two and a half days after your last dose.

    To learn more about how Vivanse can affect your body, read this article.

    Does Vyvanse cause different side effects in women and men? What about children?

    No, there are no side effects of Vivanse in men or women.*

    The only female-specific side effects of Vivanse are associated with the use of Vivance during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Using Vivanse while pregnant or breastfeeding may not be safe. To learn more about this, see "What to consider before taking Vivanse?" section below.

    Vyvanse is used to treat ADHD in children 6 years of age and older. Most of the side effects of Vivanse in children are expected to be the same as in adults. (See "What are the side effects of Vivanse" above for more information.)

    Some side effects of Vivance may be more common in children. This includes:

    • loss of appetite
    • weight loss
    • personality effects such as emotional breakdown
    • stunted growth

    If you have questions about the risk of certain side effects from Vivanse in you or your child, talk to your doctor.

    Will I get withdrawal symptoms if I stop taking Vivanse?

    Yes, you may experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking Vivanse. These symptoms are sometimes referred to as the "Vyvanse crash".

    "Vyvanse crash" refers to feeling irritated or tired as the effects of Vyvanse wear off.

    If you have an accident with Vivanse during treatment, talk to your doctor. They may either recommend a different treatment for your condition or adjust the dosage of the drug.

    During your treatment with Vyvanse, your doctor may ask you to stop taking Vivance from time to time to give your body a break from the drug. This is sometimes referred to as "drug release".

    For example, if you are taking a drug for ADHD, your doctor may tell you to stop taking Vivanse on weekends. This is because weekends usually require less focus and concentration than weekdays when you are at work or school.

    If your doctor advises you to take breaks from Vivanse, talk to him about the best way to do this. They can recommend ways to manage potential Vivanse withdrawal symptoms during a drug-related holiday.

    Is Vyvanse a controlled substance? And is it a stimulant or a drug?

    Yes, Vyvanse is a controlled substance.

    Controlled substances are drugs that can cause addiction or abuse.* With addiction, your body becomes addicted to the drug and needs it to feel the way it normally does. When used incorrectly, the medicine is not taken as prescribed and is continued to be used even if it causes harmful effects.

    Vivanse is a type of stimulant drug called amphetamine. Vivanse is not a drug.

    Drugs are opioid drugs. "Drug" can refer to illegal opioids such as heroin. This can also apply to prescription opioids such as oxycodone (Oxaydo, Roxicodone) and fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic).

    Does Vyvanse treat depression or anxiety?

    No, Vyvanse is not approved to treat depression or anxiety.

    In fact, depression and anxiety are possible side effects of Vivanse. Thus, Vyvanse may not be the best treatment option for these conditions.

    If you have questions about treatment options for depression or anxiety, talk to your doctor.

    How does Vivanse compare to Focalin and Dexedrine?

    Vyvanse, Focalin, and Dexedrine are prescription drugs used to treat ADHD in adults and children 6 years of age and older. Each is a type of stimulant drug called amphetamine.

    Focalin is available in two forms:

    • immediate-release (short-acting) tablets called Focalin
    • extended-release (long-acting) capsules called Focalin XR

    Dexedrine is available as long-acting (long-acting) capsules.

    To learn more about the similarities and differences between Vivanse, Focalin and Dexedrine, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

    What should I know about Vivance vs. Adderall?

    Vyvanse and Adderall are not usually used together. But both drugs can be used alone to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

    Adderall comes in two varieties:

    • immediate-release (short-acting) tablets called Adderall
    • extended-release (long-acting) capsules called Adderall XR

    If you want to learn about using Vyvanse or Adderall for your condition, talk to your doctor. Also, check out this detailed comparison for more information on these medications.

    What should I consider before taking Vivanse?

    It is important to consult your doctor when considering treatment with Vivanse. Tell them about other medical conditions you may have. Also tell them about all other medicines you are taking.

    These considerations are described in more detail below.


    Taking medicines, vaccines, foods, and other things with a certain medicine can affect how it works. These effects are called interactions.

    Be sure to tell your doctor about all medicines you are taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, before taking Vivanse. Also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with Vivanse.

    Interactions with drugs or supplements

    Vyvanse may interact with several types of drugs. These drugs include:

    • Preparations of monoaminoxidase inhibitor (IMAO)*, such as:
      • IMAO Antidepressants
      • Diseases of blood diseases methylene blue (Provayblue)
        • Acts
      • Paroxetine (Paxil)
      • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
    • Serotonin-raising drugs such as:
      • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
      • Plant additive St. John's wort
    • drugs that increase or reduce the level of pH of urine, such as:
      • containing sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
    • antidepressants:
      • bupropion (Wellbutrin XL, Aplesin)
      • tricyclic antidepressants

    This list does not contain all types of drugs that may interact with Vivanse. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about these and any other interactions that may occur while using Vivanse.

    Other interactions

    Vivanse may interact with caffeine.

    Caffeine is a natural stimulant. It can be found in foods such as chocolate. It can be found in beverages such as coffee, tea, and sodas. Caffeine is also found in some over-the-counter cold medicines and weight loss supplements.

    Vyvanse is also a stimulant. Thus, taking it with caffeine may increase the risk of stimulant-related side effects from Vivanse. Examples of these side effects include:

    • restlessness
    • feeling nervous (tense, nervous, or unable to relax)
    • increased heart rate
    • insomnia (trouble falling or staying asleep)

    It may be best to avoid large amounts of caffeine while you are taking Vivanse. Your doctor can recommend a safe amount of caffeine for you to take with this drug.

    Boxed Warning

    Vyvanse has a warning about the risk of addiction and misuse. The boxed warning is a serious Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning.

    When you're addicted, your body needs a drug to make you feel like you used to. If used incorrectly, the medicine is not taken as prescribed.

    For more information, see What are the side effects of Vivanse? section above.

    Other warnings

    Vyvanse may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other health conditions. Talk to your doctor about your medical history before taking Vivanse. Factors to consider include those listed in the list below.

    • Heart problems. If you or anyone in your family has had heart problems, talk to your doctor about taking Vivanse. Examples include abnormal heart rhythms, coronary artery disease (CHD) and high blood pressure. Vyvanse can cause heart problems such as high blood pressure and heart palpitations. Your risk of these side effects is even higher if you already had heart problems before taking Vivanse.
    • Kidney problems. If you have kidney problems tell your doctor before you start taking Vivanse. Your doctor may need to adjust the dosage of Vivanse. They may also monitor you more closely for side effects of the drug.
    • Psychiatric disorders such as psychosis or bipolar disorder. If you or anyone in your family has a psychiatric disorder such as psychosis or bipolar disorder, talk to your doctor before taking Vivanse. This drug may increase your risk of developing mania (periods of extreme arousal and energy) or psychosis. Talk to your doctor about the risk of these side effects while you are taking Vivanse.
    • Problems with blood flow to fingers and toes. Vivanse can cause problems with blood flow to the fingers and toes, such as Raynaud's phenomenon. If you already have a medical condition that causes this problem, Vivanse may make it worse. Be sure to tell your doctor about any problems you or your family members may have with blood flow to your fingers and toes. They can decide if Vyvanse is right for you.
    • Allergic reaction. If you've had an allergic reaction to Vyvanse or any of its ingredients, you shouldn't take Vyvanse. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.
    • Use with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). You should not take Vivanse at the same time as an MAOI. MAOIs are a group of medicines used to treat depression. Taking Vivanse with an MAOI may raise your risk of dangerously high blood pressure. Taking both drugs together can also lead to serotonin syndrome. (This condition is caused by high levels of a chemical called serotonin in the body.) Your doctor will ask you to wait at least 2 weeks after you stop taking an MAOI before you start taking Vivanse.

    Vivanse and alcohol

    The manufacturer of Vivanse has not stated that you should not drink alcohol while taking Vivanse. But it may be best to avoid drinking alcohol while taking the drug.

    This is because Vivanse is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. Thus, Vivanse and alcohol may mask each other's effects. This means:

    • drinking alcohol while taking Vivanse can make it difficult for you to know if Vivanse is working for your condition
    • Taking Vivanse while drinking can make it difficult to keep track of how much alcohol you drink.

    Be sure to tell your doctor if you have ever abused alcohol. If you have, you may be at higher risk of addiction and abuse of Vivanse. * (When you are addicted, your body needs the drug to make you feel normal rather than as prescribed.)

    If you have questions about drinking alcohol while taking Vivanse, talk to your doctor.

    Pregnancy and breastfeeding

    It may not be safe to use Vivanse while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have questions about using Vivanse while pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor.

    What should I know about Vyvanse and Concerta and other alternatives?

    Vivanse and Concerta are stimulant drugs used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

    The active drug in Vivans is called lisdexamfetamine and the active drug in Concert is called methylphenidate.

    See this article for a side-by-side breakdown of Vyvanse and Concerta. Talk to your doctor about which drug is right for you.

    Read on for other alternatives.

    Vyvanse vs. Ritalin

    Vivanse and Ritalin are stimulants used to treat ADHD.

    Vyvanse contains the active drug lisdexamfetamine and Ritalin contains the active drug methylphenidate.

    If you want to know more about the similarities and uniqueness of Vyvanse and Ritalin, check out this comparison. Be sure to discuss with your doctor which drug is right for you.

    Vyvanse vs. Strattera

    Vyvanse and Strattera are drugs used to treat ADHD.

    Vyvanse contains the stimulant lisdexamfetamine as an active ingredient. Strattera contains the non-stimulating atomoxetine as an active ingredient.

    Talk to your doctor if you are interested in learning more about the similarities and differences between Vyvanse and Strattera. You can also read this detailed article which describes the comparison of these two drugs.

    Vyvanse vs. Mydayis

    Vyvanse and Mydayis are stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD.

    Vyvanse contains the stimulant lisdexamfetamine as an active ingredient. Mydayis contains four types of amphetamines as active ingredients.

    To learn more about Vyvanse and Mydayis, see this detailed breakdown. Ask your doctor about drug comparisons and which one is best for your condition.

    Can Vivanse be used for other purposes?

    Yes, Vyvanse can be misused and addictive.

    In fact, Vyvanse has a warning in the box for the risk of addiction and misuse, sometimes referred to as "abuse" or "addiction". (In addiction, your body needs the drug to make you feel normal. When used incorrectly, the drug is not taken as prescribed. Misuse can lead to addiction, in which the drug is taken even if it causes harmful effects.)

    The boxed warning is a severe FDA warning. For details on the Vyvanse boxed warning, see "What are the side effects of Vyvanse?" section above.

    Unlike other stimulants, the Vivanse effect is not immediate. For Vivanse to work, it must first be broken down in your body, which takes time.

    Perhaps Vivanse can be misused if someone is trying to increase its effect or become "high". But trying to enhance the effect of Vivanse on the body is not recommended. Some people may try snorting Vyvanse to induce a "high". But this is not an approved use of the drug.

    It is important to understand that improper use of Vyvanse can cause dangerous side effects. These include hostile or aggressive behavior and thoughts of harming oneself or others. In rare cases, misuse of Vivanse can cause life-threatening side effects to you or others.

    You should only take Vivanse as directed by your doctor. If you are concerned about the risk of misuse or dependence on Vyvanse, talk to your doctor.

    What is Vivanse used for?

    If you have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or an eating disorder, your doctor may prescribe Vivanse for you.

    Vivanse is a prescription medicine used to treat the following conditions:

    • ADHD in adults and children 6 years of age and older. With ADHD, you have hyperactive behavior. You also have a hard time sitting still or focusing on a task.
    • Moderate to severe binge eating disorder (BED) in adults. With BED, you eat a large amount of food in a short amount of time, even if you are not hungry. You also feel guilty or ashamed afterwards.

    Vivanse may cause weight loss as a side effect. But Vyvanse is not approved for weight loss or the treatment of obesity. The use of such drugs for these purposes has caused serious heart problems.

    Vivanse is a type of stimulant drug called amphetamine. It is not known exactly how Vyvanse treats ADHD and BED.

    How much does Vivanse cost?

    The cost of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use. For current prices for Vyvanse capsules (or other forms) in your area, please visit

    If you have questions about how to pay for a prescription, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the manufacturer's Vyvanse website to see if they have support options.

    What to do in case of an overdose?

    Do not take more Vivanse than prescribed by your doctor. Using more can lead to serious side effects.

    Overdose symptoms

    Overdose symptoms may include:

    • abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
    • confusion
    • rapid breathing
    • hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that are not really there)
    • heart problems such as high blood pressure, low blood pressure, or irregular heartbeat
    • restlessness
    • tremor (trembling), cramps or twitching

    What to do if you take too much Vivanse?

    Call your doctor if you think you have taken too much Vivanse. You can also call 800-222-1222 to contact the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use their online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, call 911 (or your local emergency number) immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.

    What to ask your doctor

    If you have questions about using Vyvanse to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or compulsive overeating (BED), talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

    You can ask your doctor about other treatments for ADHD and BED. Below are a few articles that you might find helpful:

    • ADHD Treatment Options
    • 15 Helpful Tips to Fight Overeating

    Here are some questions you can ask your doctor about Vyvanse:

    • How is Vyvanse different from other ADHD and BED medications?
    • Will Vivanse interact with any medications I take?
    • Am I at high risk of addiction or misuse of Vivanse?

    You can also learn more about ADHD by subscribing to the Drink-Drink ADHD newsletter.

    Ask a pharmacist


    Q: My doctor said that Vyvanse may interact with drugs that change the pH level of my urine. How do these drugs affect Vivanse?

    Patient Anonymous


    A: Medications that change the pH (acidity) of the urine can either increase or decrease Vivanse blood levels.

    This can happen because your body gets rid of Vyvanse through your urine. Your urine pH can affect how much Vyvanse is removed from your system.

    Medications that increase urine pH may reduce the amount of Vivanse that is excreted from the body. This may increase the level of Vivanse in the blood. An increase in blood levels of Vivanse may increase the risk of side effects.

    For this reason, it is recommended to avoid substances or drugs that increase the pH of urine, such as: