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Adderall vs. Vyvanse

Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

Are Adderall and Vyvanse the Same Thing?

Both Adderall and Vyvanse are a central nervous system stimulants. Each is a medicine prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Both drugs are derivatives of amphetamines. The difference between the drugs is Adderall contains amphetamine salts (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine), whereas Vyvanse contains lisdexamfetamine, which the body converts to dextroamphetamine before it is active, meaning it's a "prodrug."

The extra time the body takes to convert Vyvanse to dextroamphetamine tends to make the side effects less pronounced, but the side effects of each of these drugs are very similar. They included anxiety, sleeplessness, digestive issues and some other problems.

Both Vyvanse and Adderall are in the amphetamine family of drugs, which means they have the potential to cause addiction and withdrawal symptoms.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Adderall?

Serious side effects include:

  • slowing of growth (height and weight) in children
  • seizures, mainly in patients with a history of seizures
  • eyesight changes or blurred vision
  • Serotonin syndrome. A potentially life-threatening problem called serotonin syndrome can happen when medicines such as Adderall are taken with certain other medicines. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome may include:
    • agitation, hallucinations, coma or other changes in mental status
    • problems controlling your movements or muscle twitching
    • fast heartbeat
    • high or low blood pressure
    • sweating or fever
    • nausea or vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • muscle stiffness or tightness

Common side effects include:

  • stomach ache
  • decreased appetite
  • nervousness

Adderall may affect your or your child's ability to drive or do other dangerous activities.

Talk to your doctor if you or your child have side effects that are bothersome or do not go away.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Vyvanse?

Vyvanse may cause serious side effects, including:

  • slowing of growth (height and weight) in children

The most common side effects of Vyvanse in ADHD include:

  • anxiety
  • decreased appetite
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • trouble sleeping
  • upper stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

The most common side effects of Vyvanse in BED include:

  • dry mouth
  • trouble sleeping
  • decreased appetite
  • increased heart rate
  • constipation
  • feeling jittery
  • anxiety

Talk to your doctor if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of Vyvanse. For more information ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant prescription medicine. It is used for the treatment of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Adderall may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in patients with ADHD.

Adderall should be used as a part of a total treatment program for ADHD that may include counseling or other therapies.

Adderall is also used in the treatment of a sleep disorder called narcolepsy.

Adderall is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Keep Adderall in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. Selling or giving away Adderall may harm others, and is against the law.

Tell your doctor if you or your child have (or have a family history of) ever abused or been dependent on alcohol, prescription medicines or street drugs.

What is Vyvanse?

Vyvanse is a central nervous system stimulant prescription medicine used to treat:

  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Vyvanse may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in patients with ADHD
  • Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Vyvanse may help reduce the number of binge eating days in patients with BED

Vyvanse is not for weight loss. It is not known if Vyvanse is safe and effective for the treatment of obesity.

It is not known if Vyvanse is safe and effective in children with ADHD under 6 years of age or in patients with BED under 18 years of age.

Do not take Vyvanse if you:

  • are taking or have taken within the past 14 days an anti-depression medicine called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor or MAOI
  • are sensitive to, allergic to, or had a reaction to other stimulant medicines

Before you take Vyvanse, tell your doctor if you have or if there is a family history of:

  • heart problems, heart defects, high blood pressure
  • mental problems including psychosis, mania, bipolar illness, or depression
  • circulation problems in fingers and toes

Tell your doctor if:

  • You have any kidney problems. Your doctor may lower your dose.
  • You are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Vyvanse may harm your unborn baby
  • You are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Vyvanse can pass into your milk. Do not breastfeed while taking Vyvanse. Talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby if you take Vyvanse.

What Drugs Interact With Adderall?

Tell your doctor about all of the medicines that you or your child take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Adderall and some medicines may interact with each other and cause serious side effects.

Sometimes the doses of other medicines will need to be adjusted while taking Adderall.

Your doctor will decide whether Adderall can be taken with other medicines.

Especially tell your doctor if you or your child take:

  • anti-depression medicines including MAOIs
  • blood pressure medicines
  • seizure medicines
  • blood thinner medicines
  • cold or allergy medicines that contain decongestants
  • stomach acid medicines

Know the medicines that you or your child take. Keep a list of your medicines with you to show your doctor and pharmacist.

Do not start any new medicine while taking Adderall without talking to your doctor first.

What Drugs Interact With Vyvanse?

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.

Do not drive, operate machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how Vyvanse affects you

How Should Adderall Be Taken?

  • Take Adderall exactly as prescribed. Your doctor may adjust the dose until it is right for you or your child.
  • Adderall tablets are usually taken two to three times a day. The first dose is usually taken when you first wake in the morning. One or two more doses may be taken during the day, 4 to 6 hours apart.
  • Adderall can be taken with or without food.
  • From time to time, your doctor may stop Adderall treatment for a while to check ADHD symptoms.
  • Your doctor may do regular checks of the blood, heart, and blood pressure while taking Adderall. Children should have their height and weight checked often while taking Adderall. Adderall treatment may be stopped if a problem is found during these check-ups.
  • If you or your child take too much Adderall or overdoses, call your doctor or poison control center right away, or get emergency treatment.

How Should Vyvanse Be Taken?

  • Take Vyvanse exactly as your doctor tells you to take it.
  • Your doctor may change your dose until it is right for you.
  • Take Vyvanse 1 time each day in the morning.
  • Vyvanse can be taken with or without food.
  • Vyvanse capsules may be swallowed whole.
  • If you have trouble swallowing capsules, open your Vyvanse capsule and pour all the powder into yogurt, water, or orange juice.
    • Use all of the Vyvanse powder from the capsule so you get all of the medicine.
    • Using a spoon, break apart any powder that is stuck together. Stir the Vyvanse powder and yogurt, water or orange juice until they are completely mixed together.
    • Eat all the yogurt or drink all the water or orange juice right away after it has been mixed with Vyvanse. Do not store the yogurt, water, or orange juice after it has been mixed with Vyvanse. It is normal to see a film y coating on the inside of your glass or container after you eat or drink all the Vyvanse.
  • Your doctor may sometimes stop Vyvanse treatment for a while to check your ADHD or your BED symptoms.
  • Your doctor may do regular checks of your heart, and blood pressure while taking Vyvanse.
  • Children should have their height and weight checked often while taking Vyvanse. Vyvanse treatment may be stopped if a problem.
  • If you take too much Vyvanse, call your doctor or poison control center (1-800-222-1222) right away, or get to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Reviewed on 10/15/2018

Reference:
FDA. Adderall Drug Information.
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/021303s032lbl.pdf
FDA. Vyvanse Drug Information.
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/021977s044lbl.pdf

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