The Effects of Vyvanse on the Body

Medically reviewed by Sue Bliss, RPh, MBA on April 29, 2015Written by Ann Pietrangelo on September 22, 2015

Vyvanse is a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Treatment for ADHD also generally involves behavioral therapies.

In January of 2015, Vyvanse became the first medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of binge-eating disorder in adults.

The Effects of Vyvanse on the Body

Vyvanse is the brand name for lisdexamfetamine dimesylate. It is a long lasting nervous system stimulant that belongs to the class of drugs known as amphetamines. This drug is a federally controlled substance, which means it has the potential for abuse or dependence.

Vyvanse hasn't been tested in children under age 6 who have ADHD, or in children under age 18 with binge-eating disorder. It is not approved for use as a weight loss drug or to treat obesity.

Before using Vyvanse, tell your doctor if you have any pre-existing health conditions or if you take any other medications. Be sure to tell your doctor if you experience side effects. It is illegal and dangerous to share your prescription with someone else.

Central Nervous System (CNS)

Vyvanse works by altering the balance of chemicals in your brain and increasing norepinephrine and dopamine levels. Norepinephrine is a stimulant and dopamine is a naturally occurring substance that affects pleasure and reward.

You may feel the medication working within a few days, but it usually takes a few weeks to achieve the full effect. Your doctor may need to adjust the dose to get the desired results.

If you have ADHD, you may notice an improvement in your attention span. It can also help control hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

When used to treat binge-eating disorder, Vyvanse may help you binge less frequently

Common CNS side effects include:

  • trouble sleeping
  • mild anxiety
  • feeling jittery or irritable

Rare side effects include:

  • fatigue
  • extreme anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • mania
  • hallucinations
  • delusions
  • feelings of paranoia

Tell your doctor if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Vyvanse can be habit-forming, especially if you take it for a long time, and it has a high potential for abuse. You should not use this medication without a doctor's supervision.

If you become dependent on amphetamines, stopping suddenly can cause you to go through withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • shakiness
  • inability to sleep
  • excessive sweating

Your doctor can help you lower the dose a little at a time so you can safely stop taking the drug.

Some children may experience a slightly slower rate of growth while taking this medication. It's not usually cause for concern, but your doctor will probably monitor your child's development as a precaution.

You shouldn't take this medication if you are taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, if you have heart disease, or if you've had a bad reaction to another stimulant drug.

Circulatory and Respiratory Systems

One of the more common cardiovascular system side effects is a slightly faster heart rate. You may also have a substantial elevation in heart rate or blood pressure, but this is less common.

Vyvanse can also cause problems with circulation. You may have circulation problems if your fingers and toes feel cold or numb, or if your skin turns blue or red. If that happens, tell your doctor.

Rarely, Vyvanse can cause shortness of breath.

Digestive System

Vyvanse can affect your digestive system. Some of the more common digestive system problems include:

  • dry mouth
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomachache
  • constipation
  • diarrhea

Some people have a noticeable drop in appetite when taking this medication. This can lead to some weight loss, but Vyvanse is not a good weight loss treatment. It may lead to anorexia in some cases. It's important to maintain a healthy diet and talk to your doctor if weight loss persists.

Reproductive System

Amphetamines can pass through breast milk, so be sure to tell your doctor if you're breastfeeding. Also, frequent or prolonged erections have been reported. If you have a prolonged erection, you should seek medical help.

CMS Id: 84804