Vyvanse vs. Adderall


Adderall and Vyvanse are prescription psychostimulant drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While Adderall is sometimes the more effective of the two, Vyvanse is considered less addictive. Adderall is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine; in Vyvanse, the active ingredient is lisdexamfetamine.

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Type of drug Psychostimulant Psychostimulant
Used to treat ADHD, narcolepsy ADHD
Active Ingredient mixed amphetamine salts - Dextroamphetamine and Levoamphetamine. 25% is the inactive L-enantiomer. Lisdexamfetamine
Legal status ℞ Prescription only;Schedule II (US) and Schedule I (CA) Schedule II (US)
Forms Available Tablet or extended-release capsule Capsules
Introduction Adderall is a brand name of amphetamine salts-based medication used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, legal only in the United States and Canada. Vyvanse is a brand name of Lisdexamfetamine used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, legal only in the United States and Canada.
Dosage Tablet taken 2-3 times daily, 4-6 hours apart - dosages vary. Extended release ("XR") capsules taken once daily - XR capsules available in 10 mg, 20 mg and 30 mg. One capsule a day – dosages vary from 30 mg to 70 mg
Off-label use Depression, obesity, sleep cycle disorders Depression, schizophrenia, excessive daytime sleepiness, binge eating disorder.
Prescription for Ages 10-19 (2011,US) 1.6 million 4.1 million
Manufacturer Shire Shire
Addictive? Yes Yes, but less addictive as compared to Adderall.
Routes (Medical) Oral, (Recreational) Oral, Insufflated, Intravenous Oral
Restrictions Should not be taken during pregnancy or alongside MAOIs Should not be taken during pregnancy or alongside MAOIs.
Effect Increases amount of dopamine and norepinephrine between synapses in the brain. Increases amount of dopamine and norepinephrine between synapses in the brain to more normal levels.
Side effects Weight loss, insomnia, headaches, irritability, increased muscle tension, anxiety, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, dry mouth, reduced efficacy over time. Discomfort, erectile dysfunction, dizziness, restlessness, nausea, dry mouth, anxiety, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, insomnia, weight loss, irritability, euphoria, upper abdominal pain, rapid heartbeat.
Refillable? No No
Generic Available? Yes No
Pregnancy cat. C (US) C
AHFS monograph monograph

Contents: Vyvanse vs Adderall

edit Uses

Both Adderall and Vyvanse increase the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine between synapses in the brain, which is useful for several medical conditions.

Adderall, which is used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, is also sometimes prescribed for depression, obesity, and sleep cycle disorders. Vyvanse is used to treat ADHD in individuals ages 6 and older. Doctors are also researching its effectiveness at treating depression, schizophrenia, excessive daytime sleepiness, and binge-eating disorders. While more research is necessary, there is some evidence that both drugs may prove useful as smoking cessation aids.[1]

edit Efficacy

Numerous studies have been carried out on Adderall and Vyvanse regarding their efficacy and safety. Compared to placebo, children are much more likely to remain focused in school when taking these drugs.[2]

Overall, Adderall and Vyvanse are similarly effective at treating ADHD in children and adults and are generally well-tolerated, even up to daily doses of 70 mg.[3] However, Vyvanse has so far been found to be less addictive.

edit Dosage

Adderall is available in either tablet or extended-release capsule form. The tablets should be taken 2-3 times every day at 4-6 hour intervals. For individuals aged 6 or over, dosage begins with 5 mg once or twice daily and can be increased by increments of 5 mg every week. The dose rarely exceeds 30 mg. The capsule is taken once a day in the morning and should be swallowed whole, or opened and the contents sprinkled on apple sauce. Adults taking the capsule usually receive a dosage of 20 mg a day, while children and adolescents usually start with 10 mg a day before the dosage is increased.

Vyvanse is a single capsule taken once in the morning, with or without food. It can either be swallowed whole or opened and sprinkled into water. The recommended starting dose is 30 mg a day, but this may be increased by increments of 10 mg or 20 mg a week up to a maximum of 70 mg a day.

A comparison of popular ADHD medications Focalin, Vyvanse, Adderall, and Ritalin.
A comparison of popular ADHD medications Focalin, Vyvanse, Adderall, and Ritalin.

edit Side Effects

Adderall may cause a temporary decrease in growth rate but does not affect eventual adult height. It may decrease appetite, leading to weight loss. It can cause insomnia, headaches, increased muscle tension, irritability, and anxiety, as well as an increased risk of cardiac problems.

A 2010 study has found that treatment with Vyvanse led to statistically significant reduction in expected height, weight and BMI.[4] It may cause discomfort, erectile dysfunction, dizziness, restlessness, nausea, dry mouth, anxiety, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, insomnia, irritability, upper abnominal pain, and a loss of appetite.

edit Restrictions

Adderall should not be taken during early pregnancy or within two weeks of taking any MAOI medication. It causes a risk of serotonin syndrome when combined with SSRIs like Prozac, Zoloft or Lexapro.

Vyvanse also should not be taken during pregnancy or within two weeks of taking any MAOI medication.

edit Withdrawal

Adderall is a habit-forming drug. When an individual stops taking Adderall, they may experience extreme fatigue, insomnia, irritability and mental depression.

Vyvanse was designed to be less addictive than Adderall, but still has withdrawal side effects if abused, including exhaustion, depression, mood swings, heart irregularities and psychosis.

edit Abuse

Adderall and Vyvanse are both often used by college students to increase concentration. Adderall is more commonly used than Vyvanse.

Selling or giving away Adderall or Vyvanse without a prescription is a felony.

edit Popularity

According to a 2013 drug trend report, Adderall is, by far, the most popular of the stimulant drugs. However, compared to Adderall, which was approved by the FDA in 1996, Vyvanse, approved in 2008, has gained its popularity very rapidly.

ADHD drug market share in the U.S., 2013

edit Recent News

edit References

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Comments: Adderall vs Vyvanse

Anonymous comments (5)

January 15, 2013, 4:08am

Callie: It's clear you're against consumption of the medications Adderall and Vyvanse, but I'm having a tough time understanding the origin of your argument. Are you upset that our eating habits are awful enough to cause a plethora of health problems? Or are you upset that these medications containing so many chemicals are only for short-term treatment? Which one?

If people eat poorly then it's no surprise that their minds and bodies are in poor condition. That's reasonable, and makes sense. But even the healthiest habits can't protect or prevent certain conditions. I have severe ADHD--I also exercise daily, grow my own vegetables, do not smoke, do not consume alcoholic, carbonated, or sweetened beverages (okay, I have a soft spot for apple juice), refrain from eating fried or processed foods, consume the meat of animals from my own farm (the ingredients of their feeds are no mystery--I should know, I make them most mornings), do not gulp antibiotics for every case of the sniffles, and take my vitamins every morning. Something tells me my diet isn't a major contributor to my ADHD, but hey, it's just a hunch.

Are medications loaded with chemicals nowadays? Sure they are--otherwise they wouldn't be called medication. Are herbal/natural remedies loaded with chemicals nowadays and since forever ago? Sure they are--otherwise they wouldn't be called remedies. If herbal teas didn't contain chemicals that make a sick person feel better, the only thing they'd be good for is making said sick person pee every fifteen minutes. If you would rather take herbal/natural substances to ease your symptoms, you're consuming just as many chemicals (if not more) than a person taking prescribed medication. (My cupboard is fully stocked with dried leaves and petals, harvested from my garden, meant for tea-brewing. A dash of milk, and my sore throat is gone for the next few hours. It's not because of magic--it's because of chemicals.)

Before people were popping aspirin (its active ingredient is acetylsalicylic acid) for head aches and fevers, they were chewing willow tree bark. Why were they chewing willow tree bark? Because it naturally contains acetylsalicylic acid, a well-known pain, fever, and inflammation reducer.

Before people were taking antibiotics to cure infections, they were making teas and poultices with tasty substances such as basil, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, etc. Why use these natural remedies? Because they naturally contain chemicals such as coumarins (benzopyrone), and rosmarinic acid (a common polyphenol), which have been shown to inhibit bacterial growth.

(By the way, antibiotics as we know them are naturally occurring substances, too. The antibiotics we take to fight bacterial infections are acutally PRODUCED by other bacteria. Bacteria are more ancient and more numerous than most other things on this planet we call Earth, and have been producing antibiotics for who knows how long. Doesn't get more natural than that.)

So on to your concerns with the short-term effects of the ADHD medications (I'm still not entirely sure if this was your argument, or if you actually, really, truly, only logged on to a webpage about ADHD to complain about eating habits--a little clarity would be fantastic). Unfortunately, the medication is a short-term aid, something that would have to be taken every day to be effective. But, if this is the source of your concern, does that mean that if they produced a long-term medication for ADHD you would conveniently forget your grievances with society's diets, and the chemicals in medication, to consume this long-term treatment?

When you ridicule others for taking ADHD medications by saying things like "I can't believe we give this to our children," with the implication that most health problems can be solved by a change in diet or lifestyle, you are NOT simply ridiculing parents on how they raise their children. What you ARE doing is condemning an entire population of physically healthy, happy, working, playing, contributing people for wanting to treat something that is out of their preventable control. Did I ask for ADHD? Heck no! I actually enjoy controlling the pace of my thoughts and hearing myself think, believe it or not. How can you blame people for seeking relief from something that they did not cause? And if there are adverse long-term effects of the medication, then mind your own business and let others make that decision for themselves.

By the way, if the parents of 10 yr old Timmy, who live five counties over, decide to put him on ADHD medication, how is Timmy a member of "our children"? Did you raise him? 'Cause I didn't. He isn't mine, that's for sure. Can you please tell me how Timmy's health is any of your business? I don't know about you, but if someone I didn't personally know tried to tell me how to raise MY child, I'd be a little irate.

— 74.✗.✗.147

May 3, 2014, 4:11pm

I've been on Vyvanse for a month and it hasn't helped to relieve my add symptoms at all. It has causes my heart rate to go up and makes me feel nervous. It is also very expensive.. I've talked with my doc about it and he put me on 20mg xr adderall and I will start that today.

— 71.✗.✗.145

December 5, 2013, 5:29am

Adderall x 20mg seems better then Vyvanse 70mg. It helped me to concentrate and focus better. I also feel that it didn't make me feel strung out. It makes you feel like yourself again.

— 66.✗.✗.72

March 15, 2013, 8:18am

Wow -- I'm kinda getting the feeling this person just upped their dose!

— 76.✗.✗.240

January 22, 2013, 3:00pm

We're taking these anti-drug crusaders seriously? Pathetic.

— 72.✗.✗.85


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