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Vyvanse Crash: What It Is and How to Deal with It

Introduction

Vyvanse is a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and binge-eating disorder. The active ingredient in Vyvanse is lisdexamfetamine. Vyvanse is an amphetamine and central nervous system stimulant.

Use appropriately
Vyvanse should only be used as prescribed by your doctor. It should not be used for weight loss or to treat obesity.

People who take Vyvanse may feel tired or irritable or have other symptoms several hours after taking the drug. This is sometimes called Vyvanse crash or Vyvanse comedown. Read on to learn why Vyvanse crash can happen and what you can do to help prevent it.

Vyvanse crash

When you first start taking Vyvanse, your doctor will likely prescribe the lowest possible dosage. This will help reduce any side effects as your body adjusts to the medication. However, if the dosage is too high, you may experience an afternoon crash as the medication begins to wear off. This crash can also occur if you forget to take your medication.

Symptoms of this crash can include feeling irritable, anxious, or tired. You may also find that you have trouble sleeping at night.

The reason for the crash is that as you continue to use Vyvanse, your body stops making natural hormones that help regulate your energy and mood. And then, as the drug wears off or as you stop taking it, your body lacks a way to manage your mood and energy level. As a result, your mood can worsen and your energy can go down.

What you can do

If you’re having problems with Vyvanse crash, be sure you do the following:

Take your drug exactly as your doctor prescribes. You risk a much more severe crash if you take the drug at a higher dose than prescribed or if you take it in a way that’s not prescribed, such as by injecting it.

Take Vyvanse at the same time every morning. Taking this medication regularly helps regulate the levels of the drug in your body. This can help you avoid a crash.

If you have a history of drug or alcohol misuse, be sure to tell your doctor before you start taking Vyvanse.

Tell your doctor if you’re having problems. If you regularly feel an afternoon crash, tell your doctor. They might lower your dosage and then slowly increase it until your symptoms improve.

Vyvanse dependence and withdrawal

Vyvanse also has a risk of dependence. It’s a federally controlled substance. This means that your doctor will carefully monitor your use. Controlled substances can be habit-forming and can lead to misuse.

Amphetamines such as Vyvanse can cause a feeling of euphoria or intense happiness if you take them in large doses. They can also help you feel more focused and alert. Some people misuse these drugs to get more of these effects. However, overuse or misuse can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms.

Dependence

Taking amphetamines at high doses and for long periods of time such as weeks or months can lead to physical and psychological dependence. With physical dependence, you need to take the drug to feel normal. Stopping the drug causes withdrawal symptoms. With psychological dependence, you crave the drug and can’t control your actions as you try to acquire more of it.

Both types of dependence are dangerous. They can cause confusion, mood swings, and symptoms of anxiety, as well as more serious problems such as paranoia and hallucinations. You’re also at increased risk of overdose, brain damage, and death.

Withdrawal

You’ll develop withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking Vyvanse after becoming physically dependent on it. But even if you take Vyvanse exactly as prescribed, you may still have withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking it. Withdrawal symptoms can include:

Because it’s a controlled substance, it’s illegal and dangerous to share Vyvanse with anyone else.
  • shakiness
  • sweating
  • trouble sleeping
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • depression

If you want to stop taking Vyvanse, talk to your doctor. They can help you slowly taper off the medication to help you avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms. It’s helpful to remember that withdrawal is short-term. Symptoms usually fade after a few days, although they may last several weeks if you’ve been taking Vyvanse for a long time.

Other side effects and risks of Vyvanse

Like all drugs, Vyvanse can cause side effects. There are also other risks of taking Vyvanse you should consider.

Side effects

The more common side effects of Vyvanse can include:

  • decreased appetite
  • dry mouth
  • feeling irritable or anxious
  • dizziness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • sleep problems
  • blood circulation problems in your fingers and toes

More serious side effects can include:

  • hallucinations, or seeing or hearing things that aren’t there
  • delusions, or believing things that aren’t true
  • paranoia, or having strong feelings of suspicion
  • increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • heart attack, stroke, and sudden death (your risk of these problems is higher if you have heart problems or heart disease)

Drug interactions

Vyvanse can interact with other drugs. For instance, you should not take Vyvanse if you take monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or if you’ve taken an MAOI within the past 14 days. Also avoid taking Vyvanse with other stimulant drugs, such as Adderall.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding risks

Like other amphetamines, Vyvanse use during pregnancy may cause problems such as premature birth or low birth weight. Be sure to tell your doctor if you’re pregnant before you take Vyvanse.

Don’t breastfeed while taking Vyvanse. Risks to your child include increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Conditions of concern

Vyvanse can cause new or worsening symptoms in people who have bipolar disorder, thought problems, or psychosis. These symptoms may include delusions, hallucinations, and mania. Before taking Vyvanse, tell your doctor if you have:

  • a psychiatric illness or thought problems
  • a history of attempted suicide
  • a family history of suicide

Slowed growth risk

Vyvanse can slow growth in children. If your child is taking this drug, your doctor will monitor your child’s development.

Overdose risk

An overdose of Vyvanse can be fatal. If you’ve taken multiple Vyvanse capsules, either by accident or on purpose, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Signs and symptoms of overdose include:

  • panic, confusion, or hallucinations
  • high or low blood pressure
  • irregular heart rhythm
  • cramps in your abdomen
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • convulsions or coma

Talk with your doctor

Vyvanse must be taken carefully to help prevent problems such as Vyvanse crash. If you have any questions about this problem or any other risks of taking Vyvanse, talk to your doctor. Your questions might include:

  • What else can I do to help prevent Vyvanse crash?
  • Is there another drug I could take that doesn’t cause a crash in the afternoon?
  • Should I be especially concerned about any of the other possible risks linked with taking Vyvanse?

Q&A

You asked, we answered

  • How does Vyvanse work?
  • Vyvanse works by slowly increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that increases attention and alertness. Dopamine is a natural substance that increases pleasure and helps you focus. Increasing these substances can help improve your attention span, concentration, and impulse control. That’s why Vyvanse is used to help relieve symptoms of ADHD. However, it’s not fully understood how Vyvanse works to treat binge-eating disorder.

    - the Healthline Medical Team
  • Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

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