Vyvanse is used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly referred to as ADD or ADHD.
It works by interacting with the chemicals in the brain, known as neurotransmitters, that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.
Relatively speaking, this ADHD medication is the new kid on the block - a new and improved version of Ritalin that was developed to last all day.
Because Vyvanse was designed to last all day, this makes it more convenient with respect to not having to carry pills or continually take medication throughout the day.
This is especially useful for children who attend classes all day, or adults who work during the day.
It comes in capsules of 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 50mg, 60mg, and 70mg. 30mg is the typical starting dose, but a starting higher dose may be prescribed if your child is switching to this medication from another ADHD medication.
It is long lasting and only needs to be taken once per day. It lasts a full 12 hours, whereas other long-acting ADHD medications tend to last 10 to 12 hours. It can be taken with or without food.
Unlike most other ADHD medications, it can be sprinkled on food or dissolved in water. It has to go through the stomach and be digested before it can become active. As a result, it is much less likely that it will be abused since it cannot be chopped or snorted like other ADHD medications.
For more information about finding the best dosage, see this helpful dosage guide.
Since this drug is a stimulant, possible side effects are familiar to anyone who has ever consumed too much caffeine: nausea, loss of appetite or weight loss, increased heart rate, mild headache, sleep disturbances or insomnia. For more in-depth information about side effects, click here.
A benefit of this drug is that it has less risk of abuse compared to other ADHD medications. Crushing and snorting is not as effective in terms of gaining a "high" compared to other ADHD meds. It generally has a smoother, more mild, impact compared to Adderall. See this article about abuse.
For information on withdrawal, click here.
Comparison With Other ADHD Medications
Many patients ask me if one ADHD medication is better than another. For a comparison to other ADHD medications, see Adderall vs Vyvanse.
It is vital that you inform your doctor if you have any of the following conditions: a history of alcohol or drug abuse, glaucoma, heart condition or recent history of a heart attack, high blood pressure, liver disease, mental illness including anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, mania or schizophrenia, and motor tics.
Also inform your doctor any history of family history or diagnosis of Tourette's syndrome, overactive thyroid, seizures (convulsions) or abnormal brain scan, an allergy to this drug or Ritalin, medicine allergies, food allergies, are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
It is not recommended for children younger than 6-years-old without the advice of a doctor. It should not be used by those with a history of substance abuse. It should be stored in a safe place and should never be shared with others.