Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) Prescription Facts

Vyvanse is a prescription drug that is a central nervous system stimulant. Vyvanse is primarily prescribed to treat symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children aged six years and above. Vyvanse is also the only medicine of its kind approved for the treatment of Binge Eating Disorder. Vyvanse is very similar to the prescription drug Adderall, and it’s categorized as a prodrug. A prodrug is one that’s not active until it’s metabolized. Theoretically, this means that the risk of abuse is lower with Vyvanse, as compared to something like Adderall. Nevertheless, Vyvanse does have a potential for abuse, addiction and dependence. Advantages of Vyvanse over Adderall include better absorption and a smoother onset of action. Vyvanse is available as a tablet and a capsule. There are many dosage strengths available, including 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 50 mg, 60 mg and 70 mg doses. Some off-label Vyvanse uses, not approved by the FDA, include the treatment of depression and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Vyvanse Regulations

Vyvanse is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S. Schedule II controlled substances are drugs that are considered by the DEA to have approved medical uses, but also a high risk for abuse and dependence. The DEA describes Schedule II drugs as having not only a high abuse potential, a risk of “severe” dependence -psychologically and physically. Schedule II drugs are illegal to possess or use by someone who does not have a valid prescription. Other Schedule II drugs include prescription stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall.

Most Commonly Abused Stimulant Drugs

Stimulants are drugs that have effects on the brain and body -specifically, they speed up certain processes. For example, stimulants like Vyvanse can cause people to have a faster heart rate and increased blood pressure. Stimulants are abused because they can create euphoria, create feelings of self-confidence and sociability, and they can cause weight loss because they’re appetite suppressants. Stimulants are often abused by teens and college students because they can make them stay awake for long periods of time. Some of the most commonly abused stimulant drugs include Vyvanse, Ritalin, Adderall as well as illicit drugs like meth and cocaine.

How Vyvanse Affects the Brain and Body

When someone takes Vyvanse, it speeds-up the processes of their central nervous system. Vyvanse is an amphetamine and it changes the balance of certain chemicals in the brain, including dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine and norepinephrine play a role in creating feelings of well-being and pleasure. Since Vyvanse activates these chemicals, it can become habit-forming. For people with ADHD, Vyvanse should help improve attention span and reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity. For someone who abuses Vyvanse recreationally, they may feel side effects like irritability, anxiety and sleep disturbances. Other effects on the brain and body can include euphoria, increased feelings of motivation and focus, and false feelings of self-confidence. Rare side effects of Vyvanse can include panic attacks, hallucinations, mania, delusions and paranoia.

Half-Life of Vyvanse

The half-life of any drug refers to the period of time that it takes the concentration of the drug in the body to be reduced to one-half. It usually takes around five half-lives for all of a drug to be eliminated from the system. The elimination half-life of Vyvanse is very short. The estimated half-life, on average, is less than one hour. Some estimates show that the half-life is around 47 minutes, on average. That means it takes less than an hour for half of the dose of Vyvanse to be eliminated from the system. Based on this half-life estimate, it would take between 4.3 hours and 5.5 hours, on average, for the entire dose of the parent drug to be eliminated from the system. Nonetheless, some metabolites are left behind when the body processes lisdexamfetamine. The metabolites are estimated to have half-lives that range from 9 to 11 hours, on average. These metabolites could stay in the system for anywhere from 2 to 2 ½ days. All of the parent drug and its metabolites is usually eliminated from the body in less than three days.

Factors That Influence How Long Vyvanse Stays in Your System

Some people may eliminate Vyvanse faster than others, depending on individual differences. For example, someone with a fast metabolism will likely eliminate drugs like Vyvanse faster than someone with a slower metabolism. Younger people, healthier people, and larger people also tend to eliminate drugs from their systems faster. People who have health problems or organ function impairment may excrete drugs more slowly. The same is true for older people.

How Long Does Vyvanse Stay In Your Urine, Hair, and Blood?

Drug tests can show the presence of Vyvanse in the system since the drug is an amphetamine. Drug tests may detect the parent drug as well as metabolites left behind by the drug as it’s processed. Amphetamines are commonly tested for on standard drug screenings. In a urine test, Vyvanse is likely to show up for up to three days after it’s used -although this can vary depending on the individual and the dosage that they took. In a hair test, it would take a week or two for Vyvanse use to show up. Following that, it could show up in a hair test for up to a month or maybe more after it’s used. A blood test has the shortest detection window. Around eight hours after Vyvanse is used, it’s often not detected in a blood test. There are few scenarios in which Vyvanse would show up in a blood test for more than 24 hours after it was used.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.