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Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) is used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and severe cases of binge eating disorder. As with any medication, there are always benefits, side effects, risks and warnings. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a physician determines whether the side effects outweigh the benefits for the patient.
Vyvanse is not for children younger than six years of age.
What are the Benefits?
Vyvanse works as a stimulant for the central nervous system. It successfully treats ADHD and binge eating disorder by affecting the chemicals in the brain that manage hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
One major benefit to Vyvanse is the quick activation. Patients typically see symptomatic improvement within one week of treatment. This is a comforting aspect to patients and physicians alike.
In clinical trials and studies, Vyvanse proved to be more effective than the placebo effect.
Vyvanse is considered more beneficial than other hyperactivity and impulsive medications due to the long release in the body. Medications that have a long release tend to create a more even distribution throughout the body. This allows the patient to have a smoother adjustment and treatment. Other medications that have shorter releases typically cause more complications and interruptions in the treatment process and thus can hinder the management success of the disorder. This form of stability has brought more attention to Vyvanse than other similar treatments for ADHD and binge eating disorder.
The medication is digested in the blood which means that the foods eaten by the patient aren’t effective against the treatment. In comparison to other treatments for ADHD and binge eating disorder, diet has everything to do with the management of the treatment. The freedom to eat anything without medication interaction is truly a positive aspect.
It only takes an hour or two for it to kick in!
Lastly, because Vyvanse is comprised of d-amphetamine, it’s less likely to cause the uncomfortable side effects such as anxiety, apprehension and strange feelings. Other competing therapies and medications are known for causing these annoying side effects.
What are the Side Effects?
Generally, there are side effects to most medications. It’s merely a matter of how intense and if the side effects are worth more than the benefit and vice versa. For Vyvanse, there are common side effects that the majority have experienced. (However, this does not mean that everyone will experience each and all of these side effects.) They are listed below.
Common Side Effects:
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Stomach pain
Again, these are simply the most common possible side effects. Just because they are listed does not ensure that the patient will encounter any or all of them. Some patients endure the entire time of treatment without encountering a single side effect while others regularly experience all of them. Some patients may merely experience one of two of these symptoms. It depends on the patient and their body. No two people are alike.
While it is wise to always bring awareness to the possibility of side effects, the patient must know the difference between typical side effect symptoms and the signs of an allergic reaction. (Some allergic reactions can be severe and occasionally, fatal.) Possible indications of an allergic reaction to Vyvanse are listed below.
Allergic Reaction Symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat
If there are any signs of an allergic reaction through the above symptoms, stop use immediately and seek emergency medical attention right away.
The patient should also immediately cease use of Vyvanse and contact their doctor if they experience any of these symptoms and experiences.
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Fast pulse
- Unexplained muscle pain or weakness
- Unusual thoughts, paranoia and confusion
- Cold sensations and numbness
- Skin color changes in toes or fingers
- Penile erection that is painful or lasts longer than 4 hours
- Red skin lesions that often have a purple center
- Redness of the eyes
- Swollen eyelids
While this list of side effects, allergic reactions and adverse effects seem long and lengthy, it shouldn’t bring discouragement to taking the medication. Just because it is listed, it does not warrant the probability of them occurring.
Be Aware of the Abusive Tendencies
Most medications that are within the family of ADHD treatments pose the threat of being habit forming. All patients should be carefully observed when being treated with Vyvanse.
Thankfully, Vyvanse is not as easily addictive as other ADHD medications. However, it is still classified as a stimulant and all stimulant medications pose the possibility of dependence and reliance. Over time, patients can become accustomed to the prescribed dose and feel the need to increase it in hopes of it working again. Once their body becomes accustomed to the higher dose, they feel the need to increase it again. This form of dependence can cause severe consequences including death.
It’s important to monitor the amount of pills kept in the bottle once abuse is being suspected. Although many patients don’t purposely become dependent, the sensation and feeling of them not being effective can often trick them into the dependence.
What are the Risks of Vyvanse?
As with anything with medications, there is always some small risk. It’s a matter of acknowledging the risk and making a decision on what is best for the disorder and treatment.
There are several risks in taking this medication for people that have certain medical histories.
Cardiovascular patients should not take this medication. If a patient has an issue with high blood pressure, heart disease or a history of heart attack, this medication could be deadly. It has been known to increase blood pressure and raise the heart rate. For some patients that didn’t report such cardiac weaknesses and ailments, it has caused sudden cardiac death.
Pregnant women should not take this medication. Vyvanse can be harmful, or even deadly, to an unborn baby. If a baby is born from a mother that has been taking the medication, it is likely to suffer severe withdrawals that can also be deadly. It should also be noted that Vyvanse can filter into the mother’s breast milk, which can further harm the baby. Long story short, if a female patient is considering pregnancy, they should alert their doctor to the possibility.
Vyvanse poses a risk to patients that are already taking an antidepressant. A stimulant and antidepressant should not be taken together. The interaction could be fatal.
The patient should not start Vyvanse for up to two weeks after ending a MAOI treatment.
Finally, Vyvanse treatment should not be ended abruptly. Severe withdrawal symptoms are sure to occur such as insomnia, wild mood swings and the intense need for Vyvanse.
Vyvanse versus Concerta
Although Vyvanse and Concerta both treat ADHD, there are some differences that encourage the preference over one drug versus the other. Concerta was released in 2000 after having made improvements from previous forms of treatment such as Adderall. Vyvanse was released in 2007 after having made improvements from Concerta treatment.
First off, Vyvanse is released into the person’s system differently from Concerta. It is inactive until the ingredients are digested into the bloodstream. Vyvanse has a half life of approximately 13 hours whereas Concerta has a half life of only 3.5 hours.
Some other minor differences between the two medications involve the treatment in other disorders. Concerta is also used to treat narcolepsy while Vyvanse is not. Yet, Vyvanse is also used to treat binge eating disorder while Concerta is not. The key active ingredient in Vyvanse is dextroamphetamine whereas the key ingredient in Concerta is methylphenidate.
Today,Vyvance is proven to be the most preferred choice in the treatment of ADHD and binge eating disorder. If a patient is subscribed Vyvanse, they should be advised to follow all guidelines and instruction before using.
- Source: http://www.vyvanse.com/
- Source: http://medguide.shirecontent.com/MEDGUIDE/PDFs/MG_Vyvanse_USA_ENG.pdf
- Source: http://www.adultadhd.net/vyvanse/
- Source: http://healthlifeandstuff.com/2010/05/a-year-of-vyvanse-what-ive-learned/
- Source: http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/06/05/concerta-vs-vyvanse-comparison/