10 Things You Might Not Know About Vyvanse for ADHD

10 Things You Might Not Know About Vyvanse for ADHD

Sharon Orrange, MD, MPHDr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.Posted on February 18, 2019

Vyvanse, used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (or ADHD), is one of the most commonly prescribed brand-name drugs in the US. Whether you’re taking Vyvanse long-term or thinking about starting it, here are 10 lesser-known—but important—things you should know.

1) Vyvanse is not just approved for ADHD.

Not only is Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) approved to treat ADHD, but it was the first medication in the US to be approved for binge eating disorder.

2) Vyvanse and Ritalin work differently.

Two types of medications are used to treat adult ADHD: amphetamines and methylphenidates. Vyvanse, as well as Adderall, belong to the amphetamine class. Ritalin and Concerta belong to the methylphenidate class. Both classes work differently to treat ADHD, so if one type doesn’t work for you, your doctor might prescribe the other to you instead.

3) Vyvanse carries a smaller risk of abuse than other stimulants.

Taken once daily, Vyvanse is a long-acting drug, which means it is released gradually over time. So, its effect at 90 minutes after taking it is similar to its effect at 14 hours after taking it. Due to its longer action compared to short-acting stimulants like Adderall, Ritalin, and Focalin, Vyvanse doesn’t need to be taken as often, which lowers its risk for abuse. The steady release of Vyvanse throughout the day also means that Vyvanse causes fewer rebound symptoms like over-excitement or irritability that happen when a stimulant wears off.Don’t miss out on savings!Get the best ways to save on your prescriptions delivered to your inbox. By signing up, I agree to GoodRx’s terms of service and privacy policy.

4) You don’t need to take Vyvanse with food.

It’s true. A full or empty stomach doesn’t change affect how well Vyvanse works, but some patients do complain of losing their appetite after taking the medication. If you decide to take Vyvanse with food, know that while having food in your stomach isn’t a concern in itself, acidic foods should be avoided. More on that below.

5) Vyvanse can interact with some medications.

Medications that increase the acidity of your blood will make Vyvanse less effective. This might be difficult to research on your own, so be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist about drug interactions. Some examples of acidic drugs include aspirin penicillin, and furosemide.

The opposite is true for drugs like sodium bicarbonate (found in Zegerid), Benadryl, and metoprolol that decrease the acidity of your blood. These kinds of drugs make Vyvanse more potent than expected.

6) Vyvanse can interact with vitamin C.

Vitamin C, found in dietary supplements, citrus fruits, and some vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, can increase the acidity of your blood. As with acidic medications, vitamin C can cause Vyvanse to be less effective than expected.

7) Vyvanse should be taken in the morning.

The most commonly reported side effects in adults taking Vyvanse are decreased appetite, dry mouth, and trouble sleeping. Insomnia is why doctors recommend Vyvanse to be taken in morning long before you need to sleep at night.

8) Vyvanse may raise your blood pressure.

With Vyvanse, you should watch out for high blood pressure. Vyvanse activates your stress response, and that can raise your blood pressure and increase your heart rate. Call your doctor right away if you experience chest pain, trouble breathing, or fainting while taking Vyvanse.

9) Vyvanse may improve reaction time.

In a study observing young adults with ADHD, patients who took Vyvanse had reaction times that were almost twice as fast as those who did not take Vyvanse. Those who took Vyvanse also experienced significantly fewer traffic collisions in simulated tests.

10) And lastly, Vyvanse may improve parenting behavior.

An interesting study looked at Vyvanse treatment when both parent and child (ages 5 to 12) were diagnosed with ADHD. The parents who took Vyvanse displayed less negative talk and expressed more praise towards their children than parents who did not take Vyvanse. The study also showed that parents on Vyvanse were less likely to yell and more likely to talk things out.


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