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Adderall vs Vyvanse: effects, withdrawal, abuse, experience and cost

Vyvanse vs. Adderall

As ever more people are being diagnosed with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), many are resorting to medical stimulants to deal with the symptoms of this condition. Probably the most efficacious and widely-used remedy for ADHD is Adderall, a drug which has been in use for many years. Adderall is composed of ¼ levoamphetamine salts and ¾ dextroamphetamine salts.

Comparing Vyvanse and AdderallAdderall remains a popular choice decades after its release and is often the medication recommended by medical professionals for treatment of ADHD. However, newer medications have entered the market. Vyvanse is one such drug. Although many consider Vyvanse to be much the same as Adderall, users will often strongly prefer one drug over another. Where Vyvanse is often preferred for the more gradual onset of it effects, other patients feel that Adderall is more compatible with their mind and body.


Comparing Vyvanse and Adderall

The following charts documents the basic facts regarding Vyvanse and Adderall to help you better understand how they compare. The same firm produces both drugs and there is some speculation that Vyvanse constitutes a profit-seeking update to the Adderall brand. The patent for Adderall XR (“extended release”) ran out in 2009 so Vyvanse could be a play to retain market share against generics.





Drug category



Approved uses

Binge eating disorder / ADHD

Narcolepsy / ADHD



2x Amphetamine Salts: 25% Levoamphetamine & 75% Dextroamphetamine


Extended Release (XR) capsules

IR (Immediate Release (IR) or Extended Release (XR)

Dosage Availability

  70 mg. / 50 mg. / 30 mg.

IR: 30 mg. / 20 mg./ 15 mg. / 12.5 mg. / 10 mg. / 7.5 mg. / 5 mg. or

XR: 30 mg. / 25 mg./ 20 mg. / 15 mg. / 10 mg. / 5 mg.


Shire Pharmaceuticals

Shire Pharmaceuticals

Schedule Class

Schedule II (US)

Schedule II (US)

Method of action

It enters the system as an inert prodrug which the body metabolizes, converting it to l-lysine and dextroamphetamine. These active substances inhibit VMAT2 and agonizes TAAR1 receptors, leading to increased dopamine and norepinephrine release. The reuptake of these neurotransmitters is then inhibited by the active substances.

Works by raising the amount of norepinephrine, dopamine and other stimulatory neurotransmitters and inhibiting their reuptake. It is an inhibitor of VMAT2 and an agonist of TAAR1.

Generic available?

No, still under patent.

Yes, patent expired.

Half-life (time until presence is halved in body)

Ten to thirteen hours.

Eleven to thirteen hours.

Common adverse effects

Loss of weight. Perspiration. Anxiety. Queasiness. Agitation. Sleeplessness. Aching head. Cottonmouth. Disorientation. Lack of appetite. Stomach pain.

Loss of weight. Regurgitation. Anxiety. Queasiness. Agitation. Sleeplessness. Aching head. Fever. Cottonmouth. Disorientation. Loose bowels. Lack of appetite. Stomach pain.

Date of approval

23rd. of February 2007

13th. of February 1996

Duration of noticeable activity

Fourteen hours

XR: twelve hours / IR: four to six hours

Experimental applications

Depression which resists conventional treatment / mental symptoms of schizophrenia / inordinate daytime sleepiness

Depression which resists conventional treatment

Vyvanse and Adderall: Major Differences

The previous chart reveals that these two drugs are very similar. The major dissimilarity is that Vyvanse is a so-called pro-drug; initially inert it is then converted in the body into l-lysine, an essential amino acid, plus the active ingredient, dextroamphetamine. By contrast, Adderall contains ¼ levoamphetamine and ¾ dextroamphetamine; meaning it is significantly different pharmacologically from metabolized Vyvanse.

As a prodrug, it takes longer for Vyvanse to become effective in the body. However, this results in a more gradual release, without a distinct rush at the onset or subsequent crash. The so-called “Adderall crash” is a commonly-reported side effect which occurs as its effects rapidly subside. Vyvanse users seldom report such symptoms as the substance wears off in a comparatively smooth way.


Use as Medicine

Vyvanse and Adderall have both been approved for treating cases of ADHD; however they are also used in treating disparate conditions. Adderall received approval for ADHD treatment in 1996 and has subsequently been approved for treating narcolepsy. Sufferers of this condition experience drowsiness and often fall asleep during the day. Adderall is efficacious at countering the symptoms of narcolepsy.

As yet, there has been no research conducted into Vyvanse as a narcolepsy treatment, however it has received approval for treating binge eating disorder, something for which Adderall is unapproved. Both drugs are known to help with losing weight. Many people use Adderall to lose weight, although it is not prescribed for this purpose. Vyvanse can also help with losing weight, especially for sufferers of binge eating disorder.


Comparative Effectiveness

One of the most common questions regarding these two drugs is which one is the most potent. Research conducted into the effects of both drugs on ADHD has been conducted. Both have been subject to exhaustive testing by the FDA and both were proven in double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled studies to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of ADHD.

Both drugs have been shown to be reasonably safe and without major long-term adverse impacts, for example neurological damage. Both drugs are effective at treating their prescribed conditions and both are well-tolerated by most users. So there is no clear answer to this question as yet.


Dosage and Format

Dosage and FormatAdderall is available in two distinct formats, those being Extended Release (XR) and Immediate Release (IR). Adderall XR has a gradual onset and its effects last up to twelve hours. Adderall IR has a more sudden onset and generally lasts for around 10 hours. Vyvanse is available in one format only, that being a capsule whose effects mimic that of Adderall Extended Release.

Adderall IR is commonly taken as many as three times per day, spaced out in four to six hour intervals, in order to ensure a continuous effect. Adderall XR is usually taken only once daily, generally in the morning. Vyvanse is used similarly; it is generally taken in the morning and its effects last throughout the day.

The standard daily dose of Vyvanse falls between 70 mg. and 30 mg. The standard daily Adderall dose falls between 30 mg. to 5 mg.


Potential for Abuse

Both drugs are classed as Schedule II substances, meaning they hold potential for chemical addiction and abuse. It is more likely that Adderall IR may be abused due to the instant onset of its effects; this being better-suited to recreational use. The slower onset of Vyvanse lowers its abuse potential. Adderall may also be snorted or insufflated by recreational users for a more intense effect or high.

As Vyvanse constitutes a prodrug it must necessarily be taken by mouth in order for the body to process it and cause it to become active. This leads to the extended, gradual release of Vyvanse in the system, something which again lowers its abuse potential. However, Vyvanse once metabolized consists purely of dextroamphetamine. Adderall is composed of only ¾ dextroamphetamine, the other amphetamine salt being the less addictive substance; levoamphetamine.


Contrasting Popularity

The undisputed leader in terms of sales and prescriptions is Adderall. That said, Vyvanse is becoming increasingly popular. In 2013, estimates put Adderall’s share of the ADHD medication market at 38% and Vyvanse’s share at only 16%. Adderall is more familiar since it’s been around a lot longer and it also enjoys greater use among sufferers of narcolepsy and other conditions.

For this reason, many health professionals will prescribe Adderall instead of Vyvanse, especially for off-label use. However, there is a contingent of health professionals who prefer Vyvanse due to its prodrug status, which limits its abuse potential. As Vyvanse has recently been approved for treating binge eating disorder, its popularity relative to Adderall will likely increase in future. At some point, Vyvanse may even overtake Adderall.


Adverse Effects

The adverse effects are very much the same between Vyvanse and Adderall. They’re both amphetamine stimulants which boost neurological levels of norepinephrine and dopamine. The minor differences in their method of action and their pharmacological constituents likely result in the insignificant differences in their positive and negative effects. The adverse effects shared by both drugs are the following: anxiety, queasiness, muscular tension, agitation, sleeplessness, lack of appetite and discomfort in the stomach.

Both drugs can lead to the loss of weight as they stimulate the metabolism while suppressing appetite and increasing energy levels. It is also possible for both drugs to stunt the growth of children and adolescents, leading to smaller stature.


Adderall vs Vyvance cost

Both drugs are fairly expensive. If you buy non-generic forms of Adderall or Vyvanse (which is only available as the original branded version) then expect to pay between two and three hundred dollars for a month’s supply. Despite Adderall being somewhat dated, the branded version thereof still costs more than the newer drug, Vyvanse. Adderall costs about $300 for a month’s supply whereas a month’s supply of Vyvanse costs more in the region of $250.

The good news is that generic Adderall is available and is significantly cheaper. Generic Adderall usually costs about one quarter to one fifth the price of the branded version. A month’s supply of generic Adderall will cost around $50. As there’s no pharmacological difference between generic and branded Adderall, the substantial cost difference means many patients opt for the generic version.


Discontinuation Symptoms

Adderall and Vyvanse may both induce serious withdrawal symptoms. It is hard to judge which drug carries worse withdrawal symptoms, due to the subjectivity of the experience. What tends to happen over time is that these drugs will deplete neurological dopamine reserves, so when discontinued the brain will lack dopamine for a time. This leads to a low mood which makes stopping the use of the drug unpleasant.

Anecdotal evidence is available where former users discuss their experience in stopping Vyvanse and stopping Adderall. In both cases, the depleted neurological reserves of dopamine and the negative effect on dopamine receptors may result in worsened concentration abilities and diminished enjoyment of life. While the withdrawal period lasts, this may worsen the symptoms of ADHD and cause a depressed mood. This condition is however only temporary.


Summarizing the Differences between Vyvanse and Adderall

Here follows a summary of the major points of differentiation between these two drugs:

Potential for abuse: the abuse potential of both drugs is significant. Vyvanse is considered safer due to its status as a prodrug, which means that it must be digested to be effective and that it takes longer to become active within the body. Adderall IR (Instant Release) has the highest abuse potential given its rapid onset and the possibility for more direct means of consumption, such as snorting.

Price: there is a considerable price discrepancy between a month’s supply of Vyanse vs. the same of Adderall. Branded Adderall costs roughly $300 where Vyanse goes for $250. Generic versions of Adderall are much cheaper however, costing only $50. No generic version of Vyanse is available.

Comedown”: being a prodrug or precursor, Vyanse has a more gradual “fade-in” effect. This smoother ride also occurs as the drug is wearing off. Adderall IR comes on suddenly and frequently causes a crashing sensation when its effects fade. Adderall XR is more gentle although still not as smooth as Vyvanse.

Endurance: the duration for which the standard dose of each drug stays in effect differs slightly between them. Vyanse are likely to produce a noticeable effect for as long as fourteen hours, whereas Adderall IR only last between four and six hours. Adderall XR will last as long as twelve hours.

Composition: whereas both contain the amphetamine salt dextroamphetamine, Vyanse contains only that as its active ingredient whereas Adderall contains it as ¾ of its active ingredient. The remaining ¼ is the amphetamine salt, levoamphetamine.

When Vyanse is metabolized in the body, the precursor lisdexamfetamine is converted to l-lysine and dextroamphetamine. Vyanse has no levoamphetamine content.

Modes of Consumption: both drugs are generally taken orally as this is the medically recommended method. Among those who abuse Adderall, it is sometimes snorted. Vyvanse cannot be snorted as it must interact with the digestive processes to produce any effect.

Method of Action: the drugs work in a very similar manner within the brain. The major difference is that Vyvanse is a prodrug which only becomes active once converted inside the body. Adderall is therefore quicker-acting as its active ingredient passes directly into the bloodstream.

Medical Applications: both Vyvanse and Adderall were initially approved in the treatment of ADHD. Their further uses, as approved by the FDA, diverge however. Vyanse is approved for treating binge eating disorder and Adderall may be taken by narcoleptics.

Onset Duration: Adderall IR begins working almost immediately after being taken. The effects of Vyvanse will take an hour or two to become noticeable. It is therefore recommended that Vyvanse users to take the drug soon after waking or perhaps set an alarm for a couple of hours before they get up and take the pill in bed.

Popularity: Adderall is the market leader in terms of ADHD medication. It has been around far longer and has had ample time to build up a broad user base and a reliable reputation. However, ever more medical professionals are prescribing Vyanse due to its lower abuse potential and its more gradual onset and fade-out.


Summarizing the Similarities between Vyvanse and Adderall

Here follow a summary of the shared aspects of Vyanse and Adderall.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): ADHD symptoms are relieved by both drugs and both are officially approved for the treatment of this condition.

Schedule Class: Vyvanse and Adderall are both “Schedule II” medications in the USA, making them controlled substances. This category is reserve for drugs with abuse potential and the potential for chemical and psychological dependency. Both drugs are potentially addictive and therefore controlled.

Effectiveness: Vyvanse and Adderall are both very effective (compared to a placebo) for ADHD treatment, as well as other approved applications. Individual experience may vary based on unique physiological factors. The drugs are generally considered equivalently effective.

Drug Interactions: Vyvanse and Adderall have known interactions with other amphetamines and similar substances. They should never be combined with alkalizing or acidifying agents or Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAIOs). Always consult a medical professional before taking any new substance while using Vyvanse or Adderall.

Drug Category: both these drugs are classified as psychostimulants for the effect they have on boosting neurological activity.

Pharmaceutical Creator: Vyvanse and Adderall (excluding generic version thereof) are both produced by Shire Pharmaceuticals.

Adverse Effects: these two drugs produce highly similar side effects. Some of the most commonly experienced side effects are as follows: agitation, stomach discomfort, lack of appetite, sleeplessness and agitation.

Withdrawal: the withdrawal symptoms associated with Vyanse and Adderall are serious, particularly after extensive usage. Always consult a doctor before stopping these medications.


Persona experience of using both Vyvanse and Adderall

For a number of years, this writer has been using Adderall in combination with other medications to treat depression. This combination therapy was prescribed by a psychiatrist after several other methodologies were unable to alleviate the depression. During the course of therapy, it was observed that Adderall as an anxiolytic was more effective than dedicated meds for combatting anxiety. Given that Adderall is potentially addictive and has some long-term side effects, the prescription was allowed to lapse.

I can certainly see why people use Adderall as a performance-enhancer, as it can facilitate increased productivity and sociability. The psychiatrist ultimately persuaded me to try the minimal dose of Vyvanse; 30 mg. I took it for a number of months and it felt a lot softer and cleaner than Adderall. From my experience I also found it to be more helpful than Adderall in terms of improving my brain function, mood effects aside.

The slower release of Vyvanse is probably why the sensation of jumpiness is diminished as it kicks in. It also fades out a lot more gradually; there’s no crash. For the above major reasons, I opt for alternatives to Adderall if they’re available. I also try to avoid Vyvanse and amphetamines in general. Amphetamines negatively impact dopamine reserves and receptors over the long term; clearly this is bad news for someone prone to depression. I also don’t like the possibility of getting hooked on them. Adderall also produced a mild euphoria, more so than Vyvanse, which I fear could be addictive.

I experienced faster mentation and elevated mood after taking both drugs. The minimal 30 mg. dose of Vyvanse I was prescribed felt a lot like taking a tiny quantity of Adderall, say 5 mg. I think I should have taken an even lower dose and it’s a pity no such option exists for Vyvanse. It would be necessary to manually divide the tablets to get a minimal effective dose. Unfortunately, there’s no practical way to do split tablets with any real precision. With Adderall XR, it’s possibly to exactly split up doses. The capsules can be separated and the individual beads counted and divided. Vyvanse is in a powdered form inside the pills however, so it’s not possible to divide it exactly.

To sum it all up, I’d say that my personal preference is Vyvanse for concentration and Adderall for socialization.


The Best Treatment for ADHD: Vyvanse or Adderall?

There is a lot of debate on the relative merits of Vyvanse and Adderall, although the differences between the two are ultimately fairly slight. The newer drug is Vyvanse, which benefits from a more gradual rate of absorption but suffers from having a minimal dose of no less than 30 mg.

To aid in choosing between the two, consult a trusted healthcare professional who will be better positioned to recommend the right drug for your medical circumstances.

Keep in mind that both drugs will provide effective relief of ADHD. There is also a degree of individual response to each drug, which means that one may work better for you than the other. This individual response variation means that it may be beneficial to try both drugs to find the one which best suits you.


What’s Your Opinion; Vyvanse or Adderall?

If you’ve tried both of these drugs, please comment and let us know which one your prefer and why. Please give as detailed a reply as possible, mentioning the medical condition for which you take the drugs and elaborate on how each drug improved your condition. Please also mention any side effects you experienced. You may also feel that one drug is better suited for a specific role, eg. Vyanse is better for focus and Adderall is better for calming hyperactivity.

11 Responses

Julia Says:

Vyvanse: less of a high, less euphoria, lasts longer. It makes it a lot harder to sleep, in my experience. Pointless to snort. Possible to eat lunch and nap on.
Adderall: huge rush, racing heart, feels pretty intense, doesn't last as long. Can cause dry mouth and heart palpitations. Slightly less pointless to snort. Impossible to eat lunch and nap on.

Source: I've been prescribed both since I was 13.

Julia Says:

Oh and just like most drugs, the one that's more intense (adderall) has a slightly shittier comedown. I just get kinda irritable and don't know what to do with myself and then get bored. Vyvanse just sorta tapers off and you don't really notice it til you realize you're hungry and you no longer feel like cleaning your kitchen is the only thing preventing the world from crashing down around you.

Lucas Says:

I hate both of them so much-.-but I've been in amphetamines since I was 5, it is just kinda part of my life now cause I can't invest 6 months into adderal detox.

Grey Says:

Levo makes you all tense and irritable. Lis-Dextro kinda works like a background drug, unless you take a shit ton you barely notice it, and it still has some euphoric effects too, and there's really not much of a come down. You can eat and sleep on it too.

Tran Says:

I must know what it is that makes cognoscenti get them adderall because it depends on you. You've need on have a little patience. That was a different bit of information. It would not be instructive if you used it to be what it is. It is the next best thing. Vyvanse and adderall is one of the easiest is snorting adderall better I have found. If you've got any thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments. My choice has loyal support. Some localities have rules banning hypoglycemia adderall. I purchased that at retail. However,the question is solved. This will be to my immense satisfaction. Out of sight, out of mind.If you suspect a problem then you should have your opening adderall capsules tested. I, veritably, have to be destined to fathom doing it. Here's how to quit being anxious. I will cover that in my next article. Several mobs use that too. If you're ready to use this, stick around. That didn't last long. There is no one size fits all. I reckon that nailed it down. Normal adderall dose is a troublesome way to make more vyvanse and adderall xr. You need to do this now. My reading on adderall used to a be a methylphenidate and adderall where it would work for a while. Use of adderall is most likely the most outstanding kind of what is the half life of adderall we've ever seen. But, then again, did you ever hear of adderall? who can prescribe adderallacid reflux adderall

Man Says:

Switched from Vyvanse to Adderall XR yesterday. More expensive, but seemed more effective. IDK why I'm sharing this. If it annoys you, then disregard. It's seems TMI to me. However, I keep thinking I'm not alone in this, and maybe someone will benefit from my updates regarding ADD/ADHD.

Mic Says:

Vyvanse has helped me with my compulsive eating, but its come-down can be long and dark. Adderall didn't do anything but bring me down further (you were absolutely right, mom), so I stopped that immediately. I've got an appointment on Tuesday where I need to bring up some kind of antidepressant that isn't just a stimulant.
I also just got a very fun job that I've always wanted, but it's only one day a week and, sadly, I might have to quit it if I cannot get a part time job that works around it. This is itself very depressing, but it's something I have to do.
I guess the point of this is, there is no shame in admitting that your brain works differently than most and using medicine to adjust that. It's no different than treating any other illness. If you need help, get help.

NK Says:

Adderall Medical Information
So what is adderall? Is it something you're considering? If so we'll try to provide you a comparison between the three most common medicines used to help with ADD diagnostics. We'll start with explaining adderall. First off, adderral is a combination of amphetamine aspartate monohydrate, amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, and dextroamphetamine sulfate. Each of these are a 25% stimulant. Adderall is generally well-tolerated and effective in treating the symptoms of ADHD and a sleeping disorder called narcolepsy.
How does adderall effect mood?
Causes emotional and cognitive effects such as euphoria
May have a direct change in sexual drive
Increased wakefulness
Improved cognitive control
How does adderall effect my performance?
Amphetamine produces modest, unambiguous improvements in cognition.
Improves the ability of working memory, episodic memory, inhibitory control and some aspects of attention.
Stimulants such as amphetamine can improve performance on difficult and boring tasks and are used by some students as a study and test-taking aid.
Can athletes, students, and other people use adderall?
Although not always considered healthy, adderall and amphetamines have been used by some athletes for its psychological and athletic performance-enhancing effects, such as increased endurance and alertness.
unless medically approved amphetamines are not supposed to be used by athletes in accordance to the rules of several professional institutions.
Therapeutic doses usually enhance the abilities of athletes using adderall, however if the doses are too high than it can actually impede on the ability of the athletes.
Adderall vs. Vyvance vs. Ritalin
Vyvance Medical Information
Vyvance, also known as Lisdexamfetamine is an another ADD type of medicine. This is a central nervous system (CNS) type of stimulant.
Vyvance Treatment Reasons
Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder (ADHD)
Binge Eating Disorder
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
What else is Vyvance called(trade names)?
Vyvance has several similarities to those of adderall. The differences, however, come from the way it is absorbed by your body. Vyvance must be first digested before it is used by your body. Due to this fact it takes around an hour for it to "kick in" after orally swallowing. This is also causes vyvance to last around 12 hours before wearing off. One study showed an average IQ increase of 4.5 in children who used amphetamine for two years.
How does Vyvance effect my performance?
Amphetamine produces modest, unambiguous improvements in cognition.
Improves the ability of working memory, episodic memory, inhibitory control and some aspects of attention.
Stimulants such as amphetamine can improve performance on difficult and boring tasks and are used by some students as a study and test-taking aid.
What sizes does vyvance come in?
10 mg
20 mg
30 mg
40 mg
50 mg
60 mg
70 mg
Veyvance and adderall contain several very similar attributes, and ultimately veyvance is a lighter form of adderall meant to suppress several of the side effects of adderrall. Veyvance is also much newer than adderall, and has continued to grow popularity through out the United States and other countries.
Ritalin Medical Information
Ritalin, also known as methylphenidate, is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant drug. This is a fairly common type of medical drug for those with ADD, ADHD, and Narcolepsy(a sleeping disorder)
Ritalin Treatment Reasons
Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
What else is Ritalin called(trade names)?
Ritalin has several similarities to those of both Adderall and vyvance. The differences, however, it its short term effects and ability to be used with children under the age of six. Ritalin is a commonly prescribed psychostimulant and works by increasing the activity of the central nervous system in a short term manner when compared to those of Adderall and Vyvance.
How does Ritalin effect my performance?
Amphetamine produces modest, unambiguous improvements in cognition.
Improves the ability of working memory, episodic memory, inhibitory control and some aspects of attention.
Stimulants such as amphetamine can improve performance on difficult and boring tasks and are used by some students as a study and test-taking aid.
Ritalin, Vyvance and Adderall contain several very similar attributes. Adderall, in most professionals opinions, is the strongest. Vyvance is meant to be a longer lasting form of Adderall with fewer side effects. Ritalin is also similar to both Adderall and Vyvance, but it may be prescribed to younger children and tends to last for the shortest amount of time.

Consuelo Says:

I take Vyvanse 40mg and it has worked well for me. It doesn't magically make the sleepiness go away all day, but I can definitely function much better. I have not had any side effects besides feeling my heart rate increase some.

Lauren Says:

I love my Vyvanse! Vyvanse is extended release and may help you stay awake without so much dry mouth. I do find that it takes much longer to "kick in" while within 30 minutes I know my adderall is working. I suggest you try it and see how it works. If it's not right for you, move on to something else.

ALicia Says:

WOW! I know that people respond differently to meds but I'm shocked at how many people like Vyvanse. I HATE that drug. I felt like I was on speed on that crap! I literally went from 200 lbs to 125 lbs in 8mths in a unhealthy way and the Doctor just kept tell me I was fine as I was telling him I couldn't eat and could hardly even drink. Some people joked to me saying great diet pill or oh what's your secret. It was a nightmare.

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