Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) Uses and Side Effects

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What is the most important information I should know about Vyvanse?

You should not take Vyvanse if:

  • you have taken an MAOI within the previous 14 days; or
  • you have a known hypersensitivity to amphetamine or another ingredient in Vyvanse.

Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) is one medication that may be prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and it is approved for use in children, adolescents, and adults.

This article discusses when Vyvanse is prescribed and the treatment guidelines you should follow when taking this medication. It also covers potential side effects, drug interactions, and warnings to consider.

Vyvanse Uses

Vyvanse is a prescription medication that treats ADHD in patients 6 years and above. In 2015, it was also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat moderate to severe binge eating disorder in adults.

Vyvanse is sometimes prescribed off-label as an adjunct treatment for depression. It is important to note that it has not been FDA-approved for this use and that clinical trials were discontinued due to the medication's poor efficacy in treating depression.

Caution is warranted for people who have ADHD and co-occurring bipolar disorder. Stimulant medication may exacerbate some symptoms of bipolar disorder, including psychosis. A doctor considering prescribing this drug needs to evaluate the individual patient's symptoms carefully.

One study found that people with bipolar disorder experienced improvements in self-reported depression symptoms and daytime sleepiness while taking Vyvanse. However, more research is needed.

Hidden bipolar or psychotic disorders can be triggered by stimulants, and known psychiatric conditions made worse, so the doctor must also monitor the patient closely for such symptom changes.

Vyvanse Treatment Guidelines

This once-a-day medication should be taken in the morning since taking it later in the day can lead to insomnia. It can be taken with or without food. A capsule can be opened and the powder inside dissolved in a glass of water or orange juice, or in a serving of yogurt. The water with Vyvanse in it must be drunk immediately.

The recommended starting dose is 30 milligrams (mg). This can be adjusted up to a maximum dose of 70mg per day under a doctor's supervision.

It's also recommended that long-term use of Vyvanse be interrupted at times to see whether ADHD symptoms return to a point where medical treatment is still necessary. Such interruption may also be a good idea if there are signs of a child or adolescent's growth being suppressed.

Vyvanse Drug Interactions

Always tell your doctor about any other medications, supplements, or substances you are taking. Some medications can interact with Vyvanse, which can affect how both substances work or cause potentially serious side effects.

This drug should not be taken at the same time as any monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). In addition, you should wait 14 days between discontinuing an MAOI and starting to take Vyvanse, so that the MAOI has completely worked out of your system. Taking the two drugs together increases the risk of a dangerous hypertensive crisis.

Medications that can also interact with Vyvanse include:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants, especially Norpramin (desipramine) and Vivactil (protriptyline), which may cause a significant increase in the amount of Vyvanse in the body
  • Haldol (haloperidol), which may make Vyvanse less effective
  • Lithium, which may also make Vyvanse less effective
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac and Zoloft, which can increase the side effects of both Vyvanse and SSRIs
  • Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as Cymbalta and Pritiq, which can increase the side effects of Vyvanse and SNRI medication

Vyvanse Warnings

There are a number of warnings that people should be aware of before they take Vyvanse.

Vyvanse is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a strong potential for abuse and addiction but also has legitimate medical uses.

Misuse can lead to serious heart problems and sudden death. Psychosis is a common sign of continual intoxication.

People should be screened for existing heart ailments before starting Vyvanse. There is a risk of cardiovascular problems with this medication. Stroke, heart attack, sudden death, and high blood pressure have been reported.

At proper doses in clinical trials, the emergence of psychotic symptoms or mania was rare—only 0.1% of participants reported them. However, the danger increases when the drug is misused.

Stimulants like Vyvanse can sometimes induce a mixed/manic episode in people with bipolar disorder. Before prescribing Vyvanse, your doctor may screen you for risk factors like a history of depressive symptoms or a family history of bipolar disorder, depression, or suicide.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

Common Side Effects of Vyvanse

Common and less serious side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Jitteriness
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

The most serious common side effect of the medication is the possibility of addiction. While it has less potential for misuse than other stimulants used to treat ADHD, regular use will create some degree of physical dependence.

Serious Side Effects

Possible serious side effects include:

  • Aggression
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Long-term suppression of growth
  • Pain and fatigue in the limbs
  • Psychiatric reactions
  • Seizures
  • Tics
  • Visual disturbances

Vyvanse During Pregnancy

Animal data show that Vyvanse may be harmful to the fetus, meaning it should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefits outweigh the risks. This medication is excreted in breast milk and should not be taken while breastfeeding, as it may cause harm to the infant.

4 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) capsules.

  2. Richards C, Iosifescu DV, Mago R, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging study of lisdexamfetamine dimesylate augmentation for major depressive disorder in adults with inadequate response to antidepressant therapyJ Psychopharmacol. 2017;31(9):1190-1203. doi:10.1177/0269881117722998

  3. McElroy SL, Martens BE, Mori N, et al. Adjunctive lisdexamfetamine in bipolar depression: a preliminary randomized, placebo-controlled trialInt Clin Psychopharmacol. 2015;30(1):6-13. doi:10.1097/YIC.0000000000000051

  4. PubChem. Hazardous substances data bank: Lisdexamfetamine.

Additional Reading

By Marcia Purse
Marcia Purse is a mental health writer and bipolar disorder advocate who brings strong research skills and personal experiences to her writing.