Vyvanse Vs Adderall

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Adderall and Vyvanse are two popular stimulants of the central nervous system. Officially approved to manage attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), both have their proponents and advocates who swear by their benefits and uses. For someone newly diagnosed with ADHD, making a choice between these two drugs can be extremely hard. While a doctor can help such people choose the most appropriate option, it is still a good idea to gain some knowledge about Vyvanse and Adderall and their key similarities and differences.

Vyvanse vs. Adderall: Basic Facts and Similarities

Both Vyvanse and Adderall are two entirely different medications. However, because they belong to the same drug family of amphetamines and have similar actions on the brain, many people confuse them as being one. Below are some facts about each of these drugs that can help you understand more about them individually.

General Overview

Adderall is a brand name for a combination of two chemicals called dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It is currently available in two formulae: immediate-release (IR) and extended-release (XR). The IR variant of Adderall is short-acting, meaning that a user may need to take them twice or thrice a day to gain benefits. Adderall XR was first approved and introduced into the market by the FDA in 2001 and is safe for use in people above the age of 6 years. Additional uses of Adderall involve its ability to manage narcolepsy.

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Vyvanse, on the other hand, is a brand name for chemicals called lisdexamfetamine. When this drug enters the body, it converts into dextroamphetamine, the same chemical in Adderall. Vyvanse is only available in one formula that can manage ADHD symptoms in six-year-olds and above. In addition to ADHD, this medication can also manage binge eating disorder.


Both Adderall and Vyvanse are effective for ADHD management. There is not enough research that compares both or suggests if one is better than the other. However, both medications tend to differ slightly in terms of how long their effect lasts and can be a deciding factor for many people.

The immediate-release form of Adderall lasts up to four hours in a single sitting and requires repeat doses up to three times a day. On the other hand, the extended-release form only requires a single dose per day, with its effects lasting up to 12 hours. Some people taking Adderall XR report how they need to take other medications to control their symptoms better. On the other hand, a single dose of Vyvanse can last up to 14 hours which means that consuming it once every morning can produce benefits that last throughout the day.

Side Effects

Because Adderall and Vyvanse are both amphetamine-type medications, the side effects of each of them are pretty similar and may include the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiety
  • Weight loss
  • Increased heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Appetite loss
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sleep-related issues
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Jitteriness
  • Vomiting

Sometimes, these medications may lead to more serious yet rarer side effects, such as high blood pressure, increased heart rate, paranoia, hallucinations, shortness of breath, etc. Regardless of the type of medication, any individual experiencing these side effects must contact a doctor as soon as possible.


People suffering from specific issues must avoid taking Adderall or Vyvanse. For instance, steer clear of using either of these medications in case you have:

  • Glaucoma
  • Liver problems
  • Bipolar disorder
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Hyperthyroidism

Both Vyvanse and Adderall can be unsafe during pregnancy and are not suitable for consumption by pregnant females. Someone pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to conceive in the near future must talk to the prescribing healthcare professional regarding these circumstances. Moreover, since medications can be an addictive potential, you must not use them if you have a history of substance use disorder.

Drug Interactions

Combining Adderall or Vyvanse with another medication can be risky as it can lead to various drug interactions. In this respect, avoid combining either of these medications with the following:

  • Antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Antacids
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Opioid pain medicines
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • Allergy or cold medications containing decongestants or antihistamines

What is the Difference Between Adderall and Vyvanse?

While there are various similarities between Vyvanse and Adderall, the drugs also have some significant differences to keep in mind. These differences are essential to remember as they may make it easier to choose between them.

Absorption Rate

The most significant difference between Vyvanse and Adderall is that the former is a prodrug. This means that an individual needs to take it through the oral route to be metabolized and converted into an effective form. Adderall, on the other hand, comes with no such restriction; hence, it can start working within 30 minutes as opposed to Vyvanse, which may require up to two hours to kick in. Interestingly, due to the slow onset of Vyvanse, it is said to be smoother than Adderall, which does not cause a kick or jolt to the system but works slowly and gradually.

Medication Rebound

Vyvanse consumption typically causes less medication rebound when the medication begins to wear off. On the other hand, Adderall gives users a choice and flexibility in how they wish to take it. For example, for prolonged effects, an individual may use Adderall XR, whereas they may switch to Adderall IR when they need a more immediate effect or wish for its effects to wear off before bedtime.


Both Adderall and Vyvanse are Schedule II drugs which means that both carry a high risk for dependency and abuse. Both are usually consumed orally, but because Vyvanse needs to be converted into the body to work, it is impossible for anyone to inhale or inject it to become high. Hence, people are less likely to use Vyvanse than Adderall and other stimulant medications.

Forms and Dosages

Adderall IR is available in the form of tablets with dosages varying from 5 to 30 milligrams. Adderall XR is also available in six doses between 5mg to 30 mg. Vyvanse, on the other hand, comes in the form of capsules and chewable tablets with varying strengths in doses between 10 mg and 70 mg. A doctor typically begins by prescribing a low dose and gradually increases it until they find the most appropriate dose for each client.


Both Vyvanse and Adderall are brand names, and their one-month supply without any insurance support may cost between $150 to $400. The exact cost depends on how frequently one needs the medication and in what dose. Adderall is also available in generic versions, which are relatively cheaper but may have compromised efficacy. There is no generic form of Vyvanse available as yet and even if you come across one, steer clear of it as it is yet to be approved.

Vyvanse Vs Adderall: Is Vyvanse Better Than Adderall?

Deciding whether to prescribe Vyvanse or Adderall solely depends on a physician, their knowledge about a patient, the side effect profile of both drugs and the specific symptoms they are attempting to control in a client. Side effects are usually the deciding factor in choosing between both drugs. In this respect, the physician will carefully consider the patient history along with any special vulnerabilities and decide which medication would be the most appropriate for daily use.

For example, Vyvanse tends to have less intense side effects than Adderall in many people. Hence, a patient vulnerable to developing appetite loss, anxiety, or sleep-related issues may be prescribed Vyvanse instead of Adderall. Similarly, physicians may also prescribe Vyvanse to patients who forget to take repeat doses of their medications and require something that can provide them with better symptomatic relief using a single dose.

Ultimately, the choice between Adderall and Vyvanse comes down to personal circumstances, medical history, and safety. There are no fixed verdicts when it comes to choosing which one is better, as the answer may vary from person to person.


Vyvanse vs Adderall: which one is more likely to be abused?

Out of both medications, Adderall carries a higher potential to be abused because its composition includes amphetamine salts. Lisdexamfetamine, the main ingredient inside Vyvanse, needs to come in contact with the red blood cells inside the body to get activated and converted into amphetamine salt. As a result, it is less likely to be abused compared to Adderall, which comes with no such conditions. Unfortunately, no studies compare the abuse potential of both medications with each other. Keep in mind that both Adderall and Vyvanse are still categorized as Schedule II drugs which means that they can very much cause addiction in anyone who uses them. Hence, keep them locked and away from people who do not use them to avoid unauthorized use. Misusing either of the drugs without any indication can lead to several complications, such as heart attacks, stroke, psychotic reactions, convulsions, and sudden death, so make sure to avoid it.

Is Adderall cheaper than Vyvanse?

Because Adderall is available in a generic form, it can be purchased considerably cheaper than Vyvanse. The cost for Adderall XR 5 mg is around $7.53 per capsule, whereas its generic form is available for as low as 58 cents per capsule. Vyvanse has no generic alternative and is available at $11.75 per capsule.

Is Adderall better to use because it is available in the form of an extended-release tablet?

Adderall comes in immediate-release and extended-release forms, and studies have been unable to find any differences in effectiveness. Vyvanse, on the other hand, works like an extended-release form once it enters the body as it needs to attach with red blood cells and cleave off dextroamphetamine which requires some time.

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