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Vyvanse vs Adderall XR – Benefits, Problems

Vyvanse Pills

Vyvanse vs Adderall XR:

Vyvanse is a new treatment for ADHD and this article compares it to Adderall.

If you want to learn the 10 most important things you should know about Vyvanse, see here.

Are you confused by all your medication options?  (Ritalin, Adderall, Focalin, Vyvanse, Intuniv, Metadate, Pemoline – and that’s just getting started!)  Figure things out – a Full List of ADHD Medications tells you what you need to know.


First, it’s important to realize that Vyvanseis Shire’s replacement for their old blockbuster drug, Adderall XR, which is losing its patent.

If you’re being suggested to take Vyvanse, it’s not necessarily because it’s a better medication.

Shire wants to turn it into a billion dollar drug, and has unleashed a marketing campaign of that magnitude, aimed at consumers and doctors.

On the other hand, Vyvanse does have some advantages over Adderall.  It also has a few disadvantages.

Comparing Vyvanse vs Adderall is made slightly harder because both drugs are amphetamines.  If you take either, you’re getting pretty much the same thing.

That said, there are some important differences.

1)Vyvanse is 100% d-amphetamine, while Adderall XR is a mix of 4 different d and l-amphetamines.

This mix in Adderall may make it more effective, stronger.  But it might cause more anxiety or physical side effects.  See later for discussion of the differences between the amphetamine types.

The next big difference is that:

2)Vyvanse is released via digestion, while Adderall is released by bead technology.

The digestion release may make Vyvanse smoother, last longer, and have less variability.  What you eat might not effect it so much, while Adderall XR may be more effected by, say, having a cup of orange juice.

This release also means that snorting or injecting Vyvanse provides less of a high.  As many have pointed out, however, Vyvanse can provide a high just by being taken at higher doses.

Advantages of Vyvanse

We have a full article discussing the Advantages of Vyvanse.

Vyvanse has been shown to have effect for a very long time, up to 14 hours in some studies.  While realistically that duration of effect may not happen, it works fairly well for fairly long.

This is likely because its release mechanism is typically smooth, meaning less variability.

Finally, Vyvanse is pure d-amphetamine, which may mean less of certain side effects compared to the l and d-amphetamine of Adderall.

Disadvantages of Vyvanse

Vyvanse is basically nothing more than extended release Dexedrine.  And while it seems to have fewer side effects relating to anxiety and release, it may cause more side effects like reduced appetite.

Because Vyvanse is so new, it may be significantly more expensive than other options or not covered by insurance, especially since both Dexedrine and Adderall are available in generic form.  We also simply do not know as much about it as we do about the older drugs.

Finally, some users feel that it’s not as strong as Adderall, and that it stops working earlier than advertised.

l versus d amphetamine

Remember that Vyvanse is pure d-amphetamine, while Adderall is a mix of d- and l-forms.

The d form may be more effective at reducing impulsiveness and overactivity. Thel form, on the other hand, may increase concentration better, but it may also cause more anxiety.  It is also per molecule less effective than the d form, but such a distinction is perhaps irrelevant.

The d form may effect more dopamine, as opposed to both noradrenaline and dopamine in the l form.  This theory, however, is not established.  Noradrenaline is involved in anxiety responses, which may explain why Adderall XR seems to be worse for anxiety.

Adult ADHD:

ADHD is a lot different in adults than in children.  Hyperactivity, for instance, is not necessarily there or in the same form as in kids.

If you are over 18 and worried that you might have ADHD, check out an ADHD Test Made for Adults.

Learn what the 4 Secrets To Success with ADHD are – it could really help you understand what’s going on in your life.

Related Articles:

  1. Long Term Effects of Adderall
  2. Ritalin vs Adderall – Which is Better?
  3. Is There a Physical Test for ADHD?
  4. Intuniv for ADHD: Efficacy, Side Effects

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  1. This site is, for me, very informative. Now that I know why I’ve had funny/odd issues all my life. A DHS counselor clued into the fact that I’m ADD/ADHD about 6-7 years ago – I’m a Senior!

    My symptoms are relatively mild but are, and have been interfering in my life since I was a teen many years ago. My biggest issue was/is depression. I finally ran into an ARNP nurse who put me on a combination of Bupropian, Adderal, & Prozac – low dosages. It was great! For the first time I didn’t feel like I was in a tunnel struggling to get out.

    Then I started falling over – smack, hit the cement and scape my face. Went online, seems that one of or the combination of these drugs was impinging on my balance. Stopped taking the drugs and stopped falling. Have since started taking Prozac and Adderall (D-amphetamine salts) though not consistently. Don’t seem to notice the effect of Prozac, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t doing anything.

    Haven’t been taking daily Adderall because of difficulties of getting the Rx. There’s been a lot of changes with providers with my insurance company and changes the insurance company has made regarding who prescribes Adderall, as well as the lack of therapists/counselors in my area. Very frustrating and has left me w/out a consistent provider I trust. I’ll be changing insurance companies soon and hope to be able to get back to some consistency regarding meds. My hope is to get back to that nurse who came up with the combination that worked.

    I think I want to try Vyvanse as it seems to be an alternative to Adderall. Reading thru my insurance info it looks like providers rather work w/Medicaid patients r/t Medicare patients, thus counselors for me are in short supply in my area. And a lot of providers don’t want to prescribe Adderall for me. I just wish they knew what it feels like in that tunnel.

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