Vyvanse vs. Adderall

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Vyvanse vs. Adderall comparison facts

Adderall and Vyvanse are amphetamines, which are stimulants that increase the level of important chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in the brain. Amphetamines are used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Vyvanse is approved to treat these disorders as well as moderate-to-severe binge eating disorder.

The difference between the drugs is that Adderall contains amphetamine salts (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine), whereas Vyvanse contains lisdexamfetamine, which the body converts to dextroamphetamine before it is active.

The side effects of Adderall and Vyvanse are similar, and include

  • Insomnia,
  • Anxiety,
  • Decreased appetite, and others.

Both drugs may cause priapism, which is a penile erection lasting more than four hours that can damage the genital tissue.

Vyvanse and Adderall should not be taken with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor drugs including phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and Zyvox. Use of amphetamines within 14 days of using MAO inhibitor drugs should be avoided. Patients receiving antihypertensive medications may experience loss of blood pressure control when using amphetamines.

What are Vyvanse and Adderall prescribed for?

Vyvanse is used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and moderate to severe binge eating disorder.

Adderall is used for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Adderall XR is only approved for treatment of ADHD.

Vyvanse vs. Adderall dosage

Vyvanse

The recommended starting dose of Vyvanse for treating ADHD in adults is 30 mg and for pediatric patients ages (6-12) it is 20 to 30 mg once daily in the morning. Doses may be increased by 10-20 mg/day at weekly intervals. The maximum dose is 70 mg daily. The recommended dose for treating binge eating in adult is 50 to 70 mg daily. The starting dose is 30 mg/day and the dose is gradually increased by 20 mg at weekly intervals to reach the recommended daily dose.

Adderall

Adderall usually is taken once or twice a day. Doses should be separated by at least 4-6 hours. The recommended dose is 2.5 to 60 mg daily depending on the patient's age and the condition being treated. Adderall XR is taken once daily. The recommended dose is 5-40 mg daily administered in the morning. The entire contents of the Adderall XR capsules may be sprinkled into applesauce and consumed immediately. Amphetamines should be administered during waking hours and late evening doses should be avoided in order to avoid insomnia.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/14/2016

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