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Updated June 11, 2014

The Basics:

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

What it is Used For:

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

Vyvanse Fast Facts:

  • It was formally known as NRP104.
  • 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 commonly misspelled as Vyvance.

Benefits of Vyvanse:

Vyvanse, unlike other stimulants, 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.

Forms of Vyvanse:

Vyvanse is available in six dosage strengths: 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.

Side Effects of Vyvnase:

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.

You May Want to Consider it for Your Child if:

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.


Vyvanse [package insert], Wayne, Pa: Shire US Inc., 2007.

Vyvanse [medication guide], Wayne, Pa: Shire US Inc., 2007.

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.

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