Vyvanse for ADHD

ADHD Basics

Kids playing on a rope during PE at school.
Vyvanse can be a good option to control your child's ADHD symptoms. Photo by Richard Lewisohn/Getty Images

Vyvanse is a stimulant medication for ADHD. It is FDA approved and became available in July 2007.

Vyvanse for ADHD

Vyvanse is a once-a-day treatment for adults and children who are six to 12 years old with ADHD.

  • Its main ingredient is lisdexamfetamine dimesylate.
  • It is a prodrug or 'conditionally bioreversible derivative' of dextroamphetamine, one of the main ingredients in Adderall, Adderall XR, and Dexedrine Spansules.
  • Vyvanse can be taken either with or without food.
  • If your child can't swallow the Vyvanse capsules, you can open them and either sprinkle it onto a small amount of food or into a few ounces of water (which is a benefit over other 'beaded' ADHD stimulant medicines, which don't dissolve in liquids).
  • Vyvanse is available in seven dosage strengths: 10mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 50mg, 60mg, and 70mg.
  • Although most children will start Vyvanse at the 30mg dosage, a higher starting dose may be more appropriate if your child is switching to Vyvanse from another ADHD stimulant.
  • Vyvanse is commonly misspelled as Vyvance.
  • Vyvanse is also FDA approved to treat binge-eating disorder in adults.

Unlike other stimulants, Vyvanse has to go through the stomach and be digested before it can become active. That means it's much less likely that Vyvanse will be abused since it can't be snorted, etc., like other ADHD medicines.

Another potential benefit of Vyvanse is that it lasts a full 12 hours, whereas other long-acting ADHD medicines tend to last 10 to 12 hours.

Vyvanse Warnings and Side Effects

Side effects of Vyvanse are similar to other ADHD stimulants and most commonly include abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, decreased appetite, headaches, insomnia, and irritability.

Interestingly, side effects -- especially appetite suppression -- seem to quickly decrease over time.

Like other stimulant medications, Vyvanse should not be used by children with the following conditions: Heart disease or hardening of the arteries; moderate to severe high blood pressure; hyperthyroidism; glaucoma; high state of anxiety, tension, or agitation. It should also not be used by kids who have a history of drug abuse, who are taking or have taken within the past 14 days an anti-depression medicine (monoamine oxidase inhibitor or MAOI), or who are sensitive to, allergic to, or had a reaction to other stimulant medicines.

Should Your Child With ADHD Try Vyvanse

Vyvanse may be an especially good option if your child's current medication simply isn't lasting long enough throughout the day, or if you are worried that your child may be abusing his medicine.

Sources:

Efficacy and tolerability of lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (NRP-104) in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a phase III, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, forced-dose, parallel-group study.

Biederman J - Clin Ther - 01-MAR-2007; 29(3): 450-63.

Vyvanse Full Prescribing Information, Wayne, Pa: Shire US Inc., Revised December 2015.

Continue Reading