- Vyvanse: ADHD Medication Overview
- What is Vyvanse?
- What is the Typical Dosage for Vyvanse?
- What Side Effects Are Associated with Vyvanse?
- What Precautions Are Associated with Vyvanse?
- What Interactions Are Associated with Vyvanse?
- More Information on Vyvanse and Other ADHD Medications:
- Vyvanse Abuse
- Can You Get High on Vyvanse?
- Is Vyvanse Addictive?
- What Are the Health Risks of Misusing Vyvanse?
- Next in Opinion
- How good is Vyvanse to treat anxiety?
- Methylphenidate improved both social anxiety and ADHD symptoms in adults, study found
- Getty Images 1. You feel really nauseous.
- 2. You just. Can’t. Poop.
- Getty Images 3. You have trouble falling asleep.
- 4. You don’t clean your plate.
- Getty Images 5. Your doctor says you have high blood pressure
- 6. You’re super-irritable or nervous.
- Getty Images 7. Your head won’t stop pounding.
- Vyvanse & Weight Loss: A Common Experience
- Vyvanse and Weight Loss
- How Vyvanse Causes Weight Loss
- Dangers of using Vyvanse to lose weight…
- Factors that influence weight loss on Vyvanse
- How to take Vyvanse
- Tell your doctor:
Vyvanse: ADHD Medication Overview
What is Vyvanse?
Vyvanse (Generic Name: lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) is a once-daily, timed-release stimulant ADHD medication primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) in children ages 6-12, adolescents, and adults. According to the FDA, Vyvanse is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. It is an amphetamine.
Vyvanse may improve focus for people with inattentive ADHD, and decrease impulsivity and hyperactive behavior — hallmark ADHD symptoms for many patients. It is not known if it is safe for children under the age of 6.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends ADHD treatment with behavioral therapy before medication for children under the age of 6. For children ages 6 to 11, the AAP says “The primary care clinician should prescribe US Food and Drug Administration–approved medications for ADHD and/or evidence-based parent- and/or teacher-administered behavior therapy as treatment for ADHD, preferably both.” Likewise, the National Institute of Mental Health finds the most successful treatment plans use a combination of ADHD medication, like Adderall XR, and behavioral therapy.
Vyvanse can also be used to treat binge eating disorder in adults.
What is the Typical Dosage for Vyvanse?
The optimal dosage of Vyvanse varies patient by patient. Your doctor may adjust your dosage weekly by 10mg or 20mg increments until you or your child experiences the best response — that is, the lowest dosage at which you experience the greatest improvement in symptoms without side effects. The maximum dose is typically 70mg daily.
Vyvanse capsules are available in 5mg, 10mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 50mg, 60mg and 70mg dosages. Chewable tablets are available in 5mg, 10mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 50mg, and 60mg dosages. The time-release formulation is designed to maintain a steady level of medicine in the body throughout the day.
As with all medications, follow your Vyvanse prescription instructions exactly. Vyvanse is taken orally, with or without food, once daily. The first dose is typically taken first thing in the morning; it should be taken at the same time each day for the best results.
Capsules should be swallowed whole with water or other liquids. If your child is unable to swallow the capsule, it can be opened and stirred into yogurt, water, or orange juice. Taken this way, the mixture should be swallowed entirely at once. Chewable tablets should be completely chewed before swallowing, then followed with a glass of water or other liquid.
During treatment, your doctor may periodically ask you to stop taking your Vyvanse so that he or she can monitor ADHD symptoms; check vital statistics including blood, heart, and blood pressure; or evaluate height and weight. If any problems are found, your doctor may recommend discontinuing treatment.
Some patients report developing a tolerance to Vyvanse after long-term use. If you notice that your dosage is no longer controlling your symptoms, talk to your doctor to plan a course of action.
What Side Effects Are Associated with Vyvanse?
The most common side effects associated with Vyvanse are as follows:
When treating ADHD: anxiety, decreased appetite, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, irritability, loss of appetite, nausea, trouble sleeping, upper stomach pain, vomiting, and weight loss.
When treating Binge Eating Disorder: dry mouth, trouble sleeping, decreased appetite, increased heart rate, constipation, feeling jittery, anxiety.
Another serious side effect is slowed growth in children.
Taking Vyvanse may impair your or your teenager’s ability to drive, operate machinery, or perform other potentially dangerous tasks. This side effect usually wears off with time. If side effects are bothersome, or do not go away, talk to your doctor. Most people taking this medication do not experience any of these side effects.
Report to your doctor any heart-related problems or a family history of heart and blood pressure problems. Patients with structural cardiac abnormalities and other serious heart problems have experienced sudden death, stroke, heart attack, and increased blood pressure while taking Vyvanse. Stimulants can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Physicians should monitor these vital signs closely during treatment. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences warning signs such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Vyvanse.
Disclose to your physician all mental health issues including any family history of suicide, bipolar illness, or depression. The FDA manufacturer recommends evaluating patients for bipolar disorder prior to stimulant administration. Vyvanse may create new or exacerbate existing behavior problems, or bipolar illness. It can cause psychotic or manic symptoms in children and teenagers. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences new or worsening mental health symptoms including hallucinations or sudden suspicions.
Discuss circulation problems with your doctor before taking Vyvanse, which has been known to cause numbness, coolness, or pain in fingers or toes, including Raynaud’s phenomenon. Report to your doctor any new blood-flow problems, pain, skin color changes, or sensitivities to temperature while taking Vyvanse.
Stimulants like Vyvanse have a high potential for abuse and addiction, especially among people who do not have ADHD. It is a “Schedule II Stimulant,” a designation that the Drug Enforcement Agency uses for drugs with a high potential for abuse. Other Schedule II drugs include Dexedrine, Ritalin, and cocaine. People with a history of drug abuse should use caution when trying this medication. Taking the medication exactly as prescribed can reduce potential for abuse.
The above is not a complete list of potential side effects. If you notice any health changes not listed above, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.
What Precautions Are Associated with Vyvanse?
Store Vyvanse in a secure place out of the reach of children, and at room temperature. Do not share your Vyvanse prescription with anyone, even another person with ADHD. Sharing prescription medication is illegal, and can cause harm.
You should not take Vyvanse if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in Vyavanse, or if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) within 14 days.
If you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, discuss the use of Vyvanse with your doctor. It is not known if it can cause fetal harm. Vyvanse is passed through breastmilk, so it is recommended that mothers do not nurse while taking it.
The safety of Vyvanse for children under age six has not been established.
What Interactions Are Associated with Vyvanse?
Before taking Vyvanse, discuss all other active prescription medications with your doctor. Vyvanse can have a dangerous, possibly fatal, interaction with antidepressants including MAOIs.
Vyvanse is similar to amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. You should avoid taking these medications concurrently with Vyvanse.
Share a list of all vitamin or herbal supplements, and prescription and non-prescription medications you take with the pharmacist when you fill your prescription, and let all doctors and physicians know you are taking Vyvanse before having any surgery or laboratory tests. Vyvanse can cause false steroid results.
The above is not a complete list of all possible drug interactions.
More Information on Vyvanse and Other ADHD Medications:
5 Rules for Treating Children with Stimulant Medications
Primer: The Stimulant Medications Used to Treat ADHD
Vyvanse is a prescription drug used to treat ADHD and binge-eating disorder. Unlike other ADHD medications, such as Adderall and Ritalin, Vyvanse doesn’t contain an active amphetamine. Lisdexamfetamine, the main ingredient in Vyvanse, is a prodrug — a biologically inactive compound that is converted into the active chemical dextroamphetamine when the body metabolizes it. Dextroamphetamine can relieve symptoms of ADHD. The chemical is found in other ADHD medications, such as Dexedrine and Adderall.
Fast Facts: Vyvanse
Abuse Potential High Scientific Name Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate Drug Class Amphetamine Street Names V-twin, Steamo, Zaded, Vicky Side Effects Vomiting, Diarrhea, Headache, Rapid Heartbeat, Jitters, Weakness, Anxiety, Seizure How It’s Used Swallowed Legal Status Schedule II In the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, lisdexamfetamine is grouped with other amphetamine-based drugs. Amphetamine-based prescription drugs are abused for a variety of reasons Chemically, they’re similar to crystal meth. When amphetamines are snorted or injected, they can cause an intense rush or high. Some people use the drugs without a prescription to focus, concentrate or stay awake. Most people who misuse prescription drugs prefer short-acting drugs, which have effects that usually last between four and six hours. Vyvanse is a long-acting drug that can last for 13 to 14 hours, according to clinical trials.
Can You Get High on Vyvanse?
People who misuse drugs don’t report feeling high or euphoric after taking Vyvanse. Instead, they say the medication makes them feel focused and energetic. Vyvanse doesn’t give the same high caused by marijuana. Nor does it lead to the drunken feeling caused by alcohol. It may cause a small rush, but this rush is less intense than the effects of snorting or injecting amphetamines. But despite the less intense rush, between 2013 and 2016, about 1.5 percent of high school seniors misused Vyvanse annually, according to the Monitoring the Future survey published in June 2017. More than 12 million people were prescribed amphetamine products in 2016. More than 5 million people misused the drugs, according to the NSDUH published in September 2017.
Potential for Abuse
The drug’s manufacturer tried to make Vyvanse more difficult to abuse by making sure it couldn’t be snorted or injected. Unlike those of many other drugs, the effects of Vyvanse aren’t accelerated by administering via inhalation through the nose or injection. Because lisdexamfetamine is metabolized and converted into dextroamphetamine in the intestine, the drug must be swallowed for a person to feel any effect. Additionally, the authors of a pair of 2009 studies published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology concluded that people who abused stimulants didn’t feel the same positive effects from Vyvanse as they did from dextroamphetamine. And, in a 2010 article published in the journal Pharmacy and Therapeutics, Dr. David Goodman wrote that Vyvanse had a lower potential for abuse than short-acting ADHD agents. But Goodman disclosed a financial conflict of interest because his previous research was funded in part by Shire, the pharmaceutical company that markets Vyvanse. Several years later, in 2014, the Department of Justice (DOJ) fined Shire for $56.5 million because the company falsely claimed that Vyvanse had a lower abuse liability than other amphetamine-based drugs. The DOJ said no study supported the claim that Vyvanse had no potential for abuse. Also, Vyvanse has the same black box warning as other amphetamine-based prescription drugs, which describes the potential for abuse, dependence and serious adverse health effects.
Is Vyvanse Addictive?
Like all amphetamines, Vyvanse can cause addiction. Amphetamines manipulate parts of the brain that control pleasure and reward. If they’re used for an extended period of time, the brain becomes dependent on them. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies lisdexamfetamine as a Schedule II controlled substance. Schedule II drugs have medical purposes, but they also have a high potential for abuse and addiction. The label for Vyvanse has a black box warning that reads: “Amphetamines have a high potential for abuse. Administration of amphetamines for prolonged periods of time may lead to drug dependence. Particular attention should be paid to the possibility of subjects obtaining amphetamines for nontherapeutic use or distribution to others, and the drugs should be prescribed or dispensed sparingly. Misuse of amphetamine may cause sudden death and serious cardiovascular adverse events.” Vyvanse can’t be snorted or injected — a method of administration that allows the full dose of a drug to flood the brain — so some people who use it recreationally take high doses of the drug. This increases the risk of prescription drug addiction. People who are dependent on or addicted to Vyvanse experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings when they abruptly quit taking the prescription drug. Vyvanse withdrawal can cause depression and extreme fatigue. Patients withdrawing from Vyvanse may need to seek medical attention to stop taking the drug safely.
What Are the Health Risks of Misusing Vyvanse?
Taking low doses of Vyvanse to study or stay awake increases the risk of minor short-term side effects, such as trouble sleeping, dizziness, dry mouth and headache. These side effects may impair academic or work performance. While short-term side effects of the ADHD medication are usually less severe, Vyvanse — especially when taken improperly or without a prescription — is capable of leading to more serious adverse reactions. Some of these reactions may even be life-threatening. Studies show that Vyvanse can cause sudden death in children and adolescents who have heart problems. It may also cause stroke or heart attack in adults with heart problems, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Taking high doses of Vyvanse increases the risk of severe health problems, such as rapid breathing and irregular heartbeat. The risk of overdose is also increased when taking higher doses of the drug. Symptoms of a Vyvanse overdose include:
You should always talk to your doctor before taking a prescription drug. Prescription medications should always be taken exactly as they are prescribed. Looking for a treatment? Our recovery programs are based on decades of research to deliver treatment that really works.
Next in Opinion
After reading a recent opinion column arguing that if you do not have ADHD you have no right to use ADHD medicine, I pondered the implications of this assertion. Ultimately I recognize where the author comes from, but disagree with the conclusion.
If you don’t have ADHD, you have no business using ADHD medicationThe weeks leading up to finals are when I usually start getting texts from people who normally don’t speak to Read…
I, like the author, suffer from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, better know as ADHD. I would go as far as to classify myself as an extreme case — I struggle to sit still for more than a few minutes, and friends love to tease me about how I can’t help but pace when I get intellectually excited.
For me, the difficulties of school never came from the coursework. Instead, I struggle with tasks many students found simple such as simply sitting without making distracting movements, keeping quiet in class and avoiding getting myself dismissed from class for disruptive behavior.
Luckily, school itself always came easy to me. Even as I constantly failed to meet the behavioral and focus standards set by my classmates, I excelled when asked to demonstrate my comprehension of the material.
This makes me one of the lucky kids with ADHD. My condition doesn’t impede my conglomeration of knowledge. Unfortunately, many kids who suffer ADHD can’t say the same. For those kids, their struggles as a student have placed them at a disadvantage compared to their peers, including myself.
The fortunate ones will have their condition identified in time and receive help to mitigate the negative impacts of ADHD. They will receive a prescription for an ADHD medication and will hopefully return to a level standing with their peers.
An argument for only allowing ADHD patients to use Adderall or other medication centers on the idea that the medication places them on level ground with their peers. I find that this argument willfully ignores the fact that along with the negative impacts I’ve already discussed, ADHD also provides substantial benefits.
While I respect that I may be alone in this, I personally reject the conceptualization of ADHD as a solely negative condition. I once had a doctor I met with about ADHD tell me, “ADHD isn’t the inability to focus, it’s the inability to make oneself focus on things one finds uninteresting — however, when kids with ADHD find something stimulating, they have the ability to enter into a state of hyper-focus.”
This positive side of ADHD often finds itself ignored when the condition comes up in discussion.
From my perspective, now that I have escaped the constraints of primary education, I believe that having ADHD gives me an advantage in life. I’m not ignorant, however, of the fact that my ADHD medication allows me to function properly in society and reach the apex of my abilities.
This brings me back to the use of ADHD medication by students without ADHD. If the use of the medication allows others to function at their highest level, then I would deem myself a hypocrite for rejecting their use of the medication.
I would even take this one step further. There is evidence that ADHD medication can provide a helpful boost for individuals trying to lose weight, and I think full clinical trials should examine this use of ADHD medication. If these trials demonstrated that there is indeed a path to weight loss via Adderall, without unintended consequence, I would fully support the use of ADHD medication as a prescribed weight loss drug.
But for all these ancillary uses of ADHD medication, I believe further medical examination needs to precede the additional use. I have no issue with the expansion of the prescribed uses of ADHD medicine, but I do think people should refrain from these additional uses without consulting a doctor.
My ADHD medication allows me to function within society and reach my highest level. If research showed that the medication allowed others to function at a higher level, I would fully support expanding its use. I’m not worried about ADHD medicine giving “normal” people an advantage over me. Everyone should have the opportunity to be the best, most productive version of themselves they can be.
Connor Allen () is a junior majoring in history and economics.
How good is Vyvanse to treat anxiety?
Vyvanse or as its generic name, “lisdexamfetamine” is a central nervous system stimulate. This basically means that it affects the chemicals in your brain (and nerves too) that effect hyperactivity and impulse control. It is used to treat young children that suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and in some rare cases may also be used to treat severe binge eating disorder in adults. Notice that listed above is not anxiety. Medications like Vyvanse which include things like, Ritalin (methylphenidate), Strattera (atomoxetine), Focalin (dexmethylphenidate), Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) ALL of these (and medications similar) are NOT used to treat anxiety disorder. In fact, they will very likely make your symptoms much, much, worse. I would advise you to look for would be anxiety medications such as Buspar (buspirone), Effexor (venlafaxine), Xanax (alprazolam), or even although it’s a controlled substance, Ativan (lorazepam). Either way, if you suspect you do suffer from anxiety disorder I would encourage you to talk to your primary care physician or even get a referal to be seen by a psychiatrist who can diagnose you officially and provide you with medications that may improve your quality of life when paired with proper coping mechanisms learnt in therapy.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) occurs frequently in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with a comorbidity rate as high as 40%. But few studies have specifically investigated ADHD comorbidity in patients with SAD. One report by investigators in Turkey described two cases in which treatment for adult ADHD also improved anxiety.
To further investigate this effect, the same researchers performed a retrospective case series of 18 adult patients with comorbid SAD and ADHD. Led by Ahmet Koyuncu, MD, from the Academy Social Phobia Center, Istanbul, Turkey, the researchers treated these patients with extended-release methylphenidate and reported improvement of both SAD and ADHD symptoms. They published their results in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology.
“In our study, methylphenidate was associated with a high rate of response in SAD patients who have comorbid ADHD,” Dr. Koyuncu and colleagues noted.
Patients included in this case series had received diagnoses of SAD and current adult ADHD. They were treated with monotherapy of extended-release methylphenidate (mean dose 27.5 mg/day, mean duration 6.66 weeks). The mean age of patients was 26.60 years, 45% were female, 25% had previous psychiatric referral history and antidepressant treatment, and 75% had prior contact with psychiatry before enrollment. Most patients (90%) were single. Patients were assessed with clinical interviews and other standard diagnostic tools to determine diagnoses of SAD and ADHD.
Among the 20 patients retrospectively evaluated, 18 received treatment. Two discontinued the medication due to adverse effects. Clinical improvement for both ADHD and SAD symptoms was observed in 17 of 18 patients. The medication was generally well tolerated.
- See Also: Sexual disorders are frequently found in adults with ADHD
“The observation that ADHD treatments also improve comorbid SAD symptoms in our cases may be a result of a psychopathological and etiological relationship between the two disorders,” the authors speculated.
Limitations of the study include not having a placebo arm, evaluating treatment outcomes retrospectively in an unblinded manner, and the small study sample. In addition, patients were told they would receive an ADHD medication that might also improve social anxiety symptoms, possibly resulting in bias.
“Further studies are required to comprehensively investigate the relationship between ADHD and SAD and the treatment approaches in the presence of their comorbidity,” Dr. Koyuncu and colleagues concluded.
- See Also: Treat adult ADHD early to prevent psychiatric comorbidities, researchers say
Fidgeting, restlessness, inattention—all are symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. So it may seem counterproductive (to say the least) to take a stimulant to manage ADHD.
But that’s exactly what Vyvanse is.
The amphetamine stimulant—which is similar to Adderall—can help control ADHD symptoms like the inability to pay attention or stay focused, and curb constant fidgeting, says Beth Donaldson, M.D., medical director at Copeman Healthcare Centre in Vancouver. It can also be used in conjunction with behavior therapy and interventions.
Vyvanse is also used to treat binge-eating disorder, which is characterized by episodes of extreme food consumption and a feeling that the overall consumption of food cannot be controlled, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Vyvanse affects dopamine levels in the brain—which may be the root of the symptoms in both ADHD and BED, says Donaldson.
“Dopamine plays an important role in reward, motivation, learning, memory, and movement,” says Donaldson. “In both ADHD and BED, amphetamine stimulants like Vyvanse work to restore the balance of low dopamine levels in the brain.”
So yeah, Vyvanse can be very helpful for a lot of people—but that doesn’t mean it comes without risks. Here are a few things you need to know about common Vyvanse side effects before you dive into the medication (or, if you’re already taking it).
Getty Images 1. You feel really nauseous.
According to Donaldson, any drug that alters your neurochemistry can cause nausea, vomiting, and dizziness, though these usually resolve within the first week. “Talk to your doctor about taking it with or without food, or changing the timing of the dosage (from morning to evening or vice versa), to see how that affects you,” she adds.
2. You just. Can’t. Poop.
Stimulants like Vyvanse can have a drying effect on the body, including the gastrointestinal system, making it hard for you to have regular bowel movements, says Donaldson.
To help, she recommends increasing your hydration and fiber intake, exercising more often, and possibly taking a magnesium supplement (after clearing it with your doctor, of course). If you’re also experiencing dry mouth, then lozenges and gum can bring relief along with hydration, she adds.
Getty Images 3. You have trouble falling asleep.
Vyvanse is a stimulant that lasts 24 hours, so some people find it disrupts their sleep cycle, says Donaldson. If you are having trouble sleeping at night, she recommends taking your dose in the morning instead.
But, while sleeplessness is a side effect for some people, she notes, others find it easier to fall asleep because the medication has quieted their inattentiveness or urges.
4. You don’t clean your plate.
“You might notice that you’re not finishing your full plate of food, or that you’re skipping meals or desserts,” says Donaldson. “This is a natural side effect than can be a bonus for those with BED, but it’s an issue for underweight people taking Vyvanse for ADHD.” As a result, Vyvanse is usually not prescribed to patients who are underweight.
Getty Images 5. Your doctor says you have high blood pressure
An increase in blood pressure may happen on Vyvanse because of the way it stimulates the nervous system, says Donaldson. Ideally, you should have your blood pressure checked before and after taking Vyvanse (you can monitor it at home too, if you have concerns).
If you’re taking Vyvanse and have high blood pressure, make sure to check in with yourself every so often to gauge how you’re feeling. “With really high blood pressure, you could experience a headache or vision changes, or a general feeling of being unwell,” says Donaldson. In that case, you should give your doctor a call.
6. You’re super-irritable or nervous.
A general unease or anxiousness is common within the first week of starting Vyvanse, says Donaldson, which is typical for ADHD medications as well as ones used to treat anxiety and depression. But if those feelings persist for longer than the first week or become intense, making it difficult to function normally, consult your doctor.
Getty Images 7. Your head won’t stop pounding.
Like many of the other side effects, a headache may be common within the first week of starting Vyvanse due to its effect on the body’s neurochemistry. Donaldson reminds patients to stay hydrated and take Advil or Tylenol if needed, as long as no other medications or conditions restrict you from taking pain meds.
Vyvanse & Weight Loss: A Common Experience
Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) is a psychostimulant medication that was developed by the company Shire. It is primarily prescribed for the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and works well to improve cognitive function. In addition to treating ADHD, many doctors have used the drug to help individuals with excessive daytime sleepiness and binge eating disorders.
Some would say that in terms of popularity, this drug is beginning to eclipse that of Adderall (as an ADHD medication) within the medical community. The fact that it is a relatively new medication and a “prodrug” means that many doctors consider it safer, with less potential for abuse. The way Vyvanse works is by entering your body as an “inactive” chemical (dextroamphetamine) with an attached molecule of lysine.
When ingested, the lysine molecule is removed by the small intestine and the “d-amphetamine” becomes activated and you feel the stimulant effects of the drug. Many users of Vyvanse regard it as being very effective and having a smoother absorption than other psychostimulant medications. Although most people take the drug to manage their ADHD, others take it off-label for nootropic benefit, or with an ulterior motive to lose weight.
Vyvanse and Weight Loss
An effect that many people notice from Vyvanse is that after using the drug consistently, they start to lose weight. It is well known that dextroamphetamine is capable of suppressing appetite, increasing energy levels, and speeding up the metabolism. When the CNS (central nervous system) becomes stimulated from Vyvanse, a surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine is released.
It is believed that the increase in dopamine is responsible for making people feel “satiated” without having eaten. The appetite suppression when compounded with a quicker metabolism is a quick recipe for weight loss. As of February 2015, this drug was actually approved by the FDA for the treatment of binge-eating disorder. Although it can help control certain eating disorders, using Vyvanse solely for the purpose of weight loss is generally an unhealthy long-term strategy.
How Vyvanse Causes Weight Loss
There are many ways by which Vyvanse is capable of causing weight loss. For most people it increases metabolism, reduces appetite, and increases motivation. This generally leads to weight loss, especially over a relatively short-term (e.g. months).
- Appetite suppression: Most people that have taken Vyvanse are aware of the fact that it can eliminate your appetite. Some people may have to force themselves to eat while on this drug because they simply don’t get the urge to eat. This is a common problem, especially among individuals taking high doses.
- Cognitive improvement: It is proven that people get a cognitive boost from taking this drug. It improves clarity of thinking, memory functions, and in some circles is considered a nootropic. While most people are happy with their cognitive improvement at work and school, improving cognition in general helps people become more aware of the food that they’re consuming. This leads some people to make healthier food choices and eat healthier diets.
- Dopamine boost: When dopamine levels increase, you become more motivated, more self-aware, and feel satisfied without having eaten. Those with low levels of dopamine tend to be more susceptible to obesity than those with higher levels. This is because when levels remain low, you feel less satisfied and have more urge to seek out food.
- Fight-or-Flight response: The sympathetic nervous system becomes activated when taking Vyvanse, which leads to a “fight-or-flight” (stress) response. Activation of the sympathetic nervous system causes the body to burn excess energy stores (e.g. glycogen stores and fat cells), resulting in weight loss. Your sympathetic nervous system plays a pivotal role in metabolic regulation, which may also help you lose weight.
- Increased energy: Since this is a psychostimulant, it increases both mental and physical energy. This means that you may feel like moving around more than usual and/or getting exercise. When you have an increase in overall energy, you’re more likely to go to the gym, go for a walk, or lift weights compared to if you feel fatigued.
- Motivation increase: As this drug increases cortical arousal and dopamine levels, you’re motivation to complete tasks also increases. With heightened motivation, you may be more inclined to eat a healthier diet, work out more often at the gym, or set some type of health and fitness goal.
- Physical activity: Those that have increased energy levels are more likely to engage in some sort of physical activity. If you start working out or notice that you like moving around more now that you’re on Vyvanse, it’s a result of the increased energy. The physical activity that you’re getting on the drug will further enhance weight loss by keeping your metabolism high and burning calories.
- Self-control: This drug improves mental performance and could indirectly improve your health as a result of self-control. Those that have ADHD tend to lack some self-control – when dopamine levels increase, self-control and awareness increase. This may mean that you now are able to resist eating a chocolate cake, whereas before taking the drug, you may have been unable to resist the impulsive urge.
- Speeds up metabolism: The stimulating nature of this drug ultimately leads to a quicker metabolism. A quicker metabolism will lead you to burn more calories while resting, with less overall exercise. This means that even if you maintained the same diet you were eating pre-Vyvanse as during your treatment, you’re going to lose some weight.
- Side effects: Although unwanted side effects are relatively uncommon on Vyvanse, they can induce additional weight loss. Examples of side effects that may promote weight loss include: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting. If you have diarrhea and/or vomit when you take this drug, you’re going to lose weight. If you are nauseous, you’re going to be less likely to eat.
Note: It is believed that many of these factors are reason as to why people lose weight while taking Vyvanse. It is important to understand that for some people, specific factors may play a more prominent role in influencing weight loss compared to others. For example, one person may experience more of an energy increase to workout, whereas another person may not have a lot more energy, but may have less of an appetite.
Dangers of using Vyvanse to lose weight…
Over the long-term, using Vyvanse specifically for the purpose of weight loss should not be considered healthy. It is not medically approved for weight loss and using it specifically for this purpose could lead to abuse, addiction, dependence, and ultimately the rebound effect of severe weight gain upon discontinuation.
- Abuse: Once people realize how this drug makes them feel and look (in regards to weight loss), they may resort to abusing it. This may involve taking higher than medically recommended doses with ulterior motives such as to lose weight or experience pleasure. Abusing the drug can have detrimental effects, especially when done over a long-term.
- Addiction: Despite the fact that the drug may be less addictive than Adderall (amphetamine mixed salts), some people actually report the contrary; that Vyvanse is more addictive. It is considered a “Schedule II” controlled substance for a reason – taking it can lead to addiction. People can become easily attached to the pro-cognitive benefit as well as weight loss that they experience.
- Dependence: Some individuals take Vyvanse for a prolonged period of time and/or at high doses and experience dependence. In other words, they may be unable to function without the drug. They may come to rely on the drug to produce results in all facets of life including: relationships, school/work, and physical fitness.
- Diminishing returns: If you’ve been taking this drug for a long period of time, you may notice that weight loss slows, or in some cases, you can weight. This is due to the fact that you’ll experience diminishing returns from the drug with prolonged usage. When your physiology becomes tolerant to the drug, its effects are lessened.
- Dopamine depletion: Some have argued that dopamine stores in the brain become depleted with consistent, long-term usage of psychostimulants. This is often evidenced by the fact that during withdrawal periods, people often “crash” and experience dysphoria and low energy. Low levels of dopamine and/or depleted levels may lead to weight gain and overeating.
- Illegal: It is considered illegal to take this medication specifically for weight loss. While the FDA has approved it to help manage binge eating disorder, it has not been approved for weight management among those with obesity. If you are taking this drug, it is important follow your doctor’s instruction.
- Muscle loss: For many people, metabolism can speed to such a point that they experience muscle loss. This means if you aren’t eating enough food and end up losing weight on Vyvanse, some of that weight may have been from your muscles. While you may not care how you lose the weight, this isn’t considered healthy.
- Side effects: For some people the side effects of the drug can become difficult to deal with on a regular basis. These effects can include: headaches, an increase in blood pressure, insomnia, and other sleep disruptions. While the side effects are generally tolerable, some people still experience difficulty in dealing with them.
- Tolerance: Even though it can take awhile to develop tolerance to varying doses of this drug, once you become tolerant to its effects, the weight loss may subside. This could lead you to remain “weight neutral” and/or even gain some weight. If you are constantly increasing the dose to help offset the development of tolerance, you will eventually hit the maximum recommended dose – to which you will eventually build tolerance. The more tolerance you develop, the more difficult it will be to lose weight.
- Unrealistic body: The body that you get as a result of taking Vyvanse can be a confidence boost while taking the drug, but when you stop taking it, you may be unable to attain this body. This is because Vyvanse contributes significantly to weight loss and may help you surpass your genetic limits. It can be highly depressing and discouraging to someone if they are constantly comparing their appearance to their figure as a result of the drug.
- Withdrawal: Going through Vyvanse withdrawal can be an incredibly difficult experience for some people. The withdrawal period is characterized by weight gain, anxiety, mood swings, metabolic slowing, and low-dopamine induced depression. Most people end up gaining back most of the weight that they lost once they stop using Vyvanse.
- Rebound effect: It is also important to note that a “rebound effect” is commonly experienced until homeostatic functioning has been reset within the physiology. In other words, since you had become used to the effects of the drug, your body must readapt to functioning without it. During this period, you may end up gaining significantly more weight than you lost throughout your treatment; which can be problematic. Additionally, you may get depressed at the fact that you are now unable to maintain the “idealized body” that you once achieved.
Factors that influence weight loss on Vyvanse
There are several factors that play a key role in determining the degree of weight loss you experience while taking this drug. These factors include: your dosage, how frequently you take Vyvanse, how long you’ve been taking it, other lifestyle habits, genetics, and whether you are on other medications.
The amount of the drug that you take regularly can influence how much weight that you lose. The greater the dosage, the greater the overall effect of the drug. If you aren’t keen on experiencing weight loss, you should attempt to take the “minimal effective dose.” For those that don’t care if they lose weight, taking a higher dose may give them more energy and further speed metabolism.
Specifically the ratio of your dosage to your current BMI may be a more accurate for determining the degree to which you experience weight loss. Take a short, small-statured person and compare them with a big-boned, tall person, the bigger person is likely going to require more of the drug to feel the effects. Therefore higher doses for a smaller individual may lead to amplified weight loss.
How often do you take Vyvanse? Most people that are prescribed this drug take it every single day to cope with ADHD. That said, there are some individuals that limit their usage to times when they need to really focus such as: at work and/or for school-related functions. Those that take Vyvanse on an “as-needed” or infrequent basis are less likely to experience profound weight loss than those who take it on a daily basis.
3. Time Span / Tolerance
The time span over which you’ve taken Vyvanse can play a role in determining how much weight you’ve lost. Those that take this drug for a moderate term (i.e. a year or two) may notice substantial weight loss. Others notice more substantial weight loss in the early phases of treatment. Once you develop a tolerance to your current dose, chances are that weight loss will start to slow (or stop).
If you don’t become tolerant to your current dose, the weight loss will likely continue until you reach the point of tolerance. Some people take the drug for years, but eventually they’ll hit a brick wall: they develop tolerance to the highest recommended dose. In this case, they may start to gain back some weight, and if they discontinue, they’ll rapidly pack on poundage.
So for those that have used the drug for an extended period, it will result in diminishing returns in regards to weight and cognitive enhancement. Tolerance to the highest doses generally takes years of consistent usage, but can occur quicker in the event that a person is abusing the drug.
4. Lifestyle / habits
Your individual lifestyle and daily habits play a big role in determining whether you’re going to lose weight while medicated. If you are pounding unhealthy foods and eating in a caloric surplus consistently, you may not lose much weight.
People that are already within a healthy weight range who eat clean diets and get plenty of exercise are more likely to experience weight loss while taking this drug. Individual sleep patterns, hormones, physiological factors and other supplements may also influence the amount of weight lost while on Vyvanse.
There is an array of evidence suggesting that genetic variation is responsible for determining individual reactions to drugs. Newer tests such as “GeneSight” analyze your genetic code to determine how effective and tolerable certain psychotropic drugs will be on an individual basis. Although Vyvanse is likely to trigger some weight loss in most people, the degree of weight loss experienced may be based on unique genetic factors.
6. Other drugs
If you take other medications and/or other drugs (i.e. alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, etc.) – this may have an impact on the amount of weight loss you experience on Vyvanse. Certain drugs may be synergistic in promoting weight loss, whereas other substances may offset the weight loss effects of Vyvanse. Examples of drugs that would work with Vyvanse to promote weight loss include stimulatory medications like Wellbutrin, nicotine products, etc.
Examples of drugs that may offset weight loss from Vyvanse include: antipsychotics and various SSRI antidepressants. These drugs are known to slow the metabolism and decrease overall energy. Taking them with Vyvanse may result in you remaining “weight neutral” and/or experiencing less weight loss than you would’ve had you solely been on Vyvanse.
How much weight will you lose from Vyvanse?
There’s no telling exactly how much weight you’re going to lose from Vyvanse. Assuming you aren’t on any other medications and are taking a moderate to high dose of Vyvanse, you’ll likely lose some weight. Most people report losing anywhere from 5 lbs. to 10 lbs. within the first few months of treatment, while others have reported more extreme weight loss exceeding 50 lbs.
A lot of the weight loss will be based on individual factors such as whether you exercise, the foods you eat, etc. Understand that the goal of taking this medication is not to lose weight, and also keep in mind that some people actually hate the weight loss associated with this drug. If you are getting too thin while on Vyvanse, your doctor may start to think twice about refilling your prescription.
Does everyone lose weight from Vyvanse?
It is impossible to make the claim that everyone will lose weight from Vyvanse. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find a consistent user that hadn’t lost a few pounds within their first 6 months of treatment. This is because the drug speeds up the metabolism, minimizes appetite (and cravings), gives you more energy, and may make you more aware of your food choices. Therefore nearly everyone ends up losing some weight throughout their treatment. Whether the amount of weight loss is considered “significant” is up for individual interpretation.
Comparing therapeutic effects vs. unwanted weight loss
Among those that are already skinny, extra weight loss may be unwanted and highly problematic. Therefore, you may want to take the time to compare the therapeutic benefit associated with taking the drug to the amount of weight that you lose (as well as other side effects).
If you are losing a ridiculous amount of weight from taking the drug and hate it, you may want to talk to your doctor about pursuing other options. Always take the time to assess how well the drug is treating the condition for which it was prescribed and compare the benefit you’re getting with the drawbacks (e.g. unwanted weight loss).
Did you lose weight while taking Vyvanse?
If you have experience taking Vyvanse, feel free to share whether you experienced weight change in the comments section below. Discuss how much weight you ended up losing, the amount of Vyvanse you take, how long you’ve been on the drug, as well as other factors that you believe may have contributed to the weight loss.
Also mention whether you are taking other medications that may be influencing your weight. By sharing your experience, you may be helping someone who is currently in your same situation. Consider mentioning whether you specifically took this drug to lose weight and whether you were pleasantly surprised vs. upset with the weight that you lost.
How to take Vyvanse
Tell your doctor:
- if you have any kidney problems. Your doctor may lower the Vyvanse dose.
- if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Vyvanse may harm your unborn baby.
- if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed while taking Vyvanse. Talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby if you take Vyvanse.
- if you have heart problems or heart defects, high blood pressure, or a family history of these problems. This is important because sudden death has occurred in people with heart problems or defects taking stimulant medicines, and sudden death, stroke and heart attack have happened in adults taking stimulant medicines. Since increases in blood pressure and heart rate may occur, the doctor should regularly check these during treatment. Call the doctor right away if you have any signs of heart problems such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Vyvanse.
- if you have mental problems, or a family history of suicide, bipolar illness, or depression. This is important because new or worsening behavior and thought problems or bipolar illness may occur. New symptoms such as seeing or hearing things that are not real, believing things that are not true, being suspicious, or having new manic symptoms may occur. Call the doctor right away if there are any new or worsening mental symptoms during treatment.
- if you have circulation problems in fingers and toes (peripheral vasculopathy, including Raynaud’s phenomenon). Fingers or toes may feel numb, cool, painful, sensitive to temperature and/or change color from pale, to blue, to red. Call the doctor right away if any signs of unexplained wounds appear on fingers or toes while taking Vyvanse.
Vyvanse is a stimulant medicine. Prescription stimulant medications are controlled substances (regulated by the federal government) and need to be handled in a serious manner because they have a high risk of abuse and dependence. That’s why it’s important to understand the appropriate use of stimulants.
Tell your doctor about all of the medicines that you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
VYVANSE can affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how VYVANSE works. Using VYVANSE with other medicines can cause serious side effects.
Especially tell your doctor if you take anti-depression medicines including MAOIs.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a list of these medicines if you are not sure.
Know the medicines that you take. Keep a list of them to show your doctor and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.
Do not start any new medicine while taking VYVANSE without talking to your doctor first.