Long-Term And Short-Term Side Effects Of Lisdexamfetamine

Last Updated: June 3, 2020

Authored by Isaak Stotts, LP

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Vyvanse for adults and children with ADHD, binge eating disorders, and several other psychiatric conditions is nearly unmatchable in modern medicine. Lisdexamfetamine effectively reduces impulsivity, improves attention and lasts longer than the majority of other ADHD medications. Still, it remains a powerful prescription stimulant that can inflict significant damage to health. While patients shouldn’t get dissuaded from taking their prescription, it’s a good idea to know what Vyvanse does and what possible side effects may be present.

Physical Side Effects Of Lisdexamfetamine

Lisdexamfetamine is the generic name for Vyvanse that accounts for its stimulant properties. Once ingested, it triggers the production of dextroamphetamine, which contributes to increased blood pressure and energy, elevated heart rate, quickened breathing, and suppressed appetite. Vyvanse side effects stem from these changes, mainly affecting the cardiovascular, nervous, and digestive systems. Common negative symptoms of Vyvanse include headache, constipation, dry mouth, and sweating.

Cardiovascular System

Vyvanse heart attackAmong all the potential complications caused by Vyvanse, a heart attack is the most dangerous. Increased blood pressure and tachycardia are more common and present in up to 10% of patients. It is worth noting that despite specific side effects, Vyvanse may still be an effective medication, and a patient shouldn’t quit taking it without consulting with their doctor first. However, in cases where extreme or highly unusual symptoms are present, it’s crucial for the patient to seek medical help as soon as possible.

Dermatological Problems And Hair Loss

Hypersensitivity, urticaria, which is also known as hives, and anaphylactic reaction are quite uncommon albeit possible lisdexamfetamine side effects. In some people, Vyvanse causes acne and rashes. Also, some patients report finding a connection between Vyvanse and hair loss, although evidence suggests that this side effect is not usually attributed to stimulant drugs and often occurs due to stress, hormonal problems, and malnutrition.

Gastrointestinal And Nervous System Problems

The most common side effects include dry mouth and upper abdominal pain, occurring in more than 10% of patients taking lisdexamfetamine. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation follow them along with dizziness, tremor, and seizures.

Vyvanse Effects When Misused

Lisdexamfetamine abuse or prolonged exposure can lead to addiction or dependence. When a person abruptly quits using the drug, they might experience a Vyvanse crash, which is characterized by intense cravings, fatigue, shakiness, and anxiety. In contrast, overdose might happen when a person takes more than 60 mg to achieve Vyvanse high. Those who snort Vyvanse might experience nosebleeds and sinus inflammation. Also, some people combine alcohol and Vyvanse, which can lead to dramatic changes in blood pressure, chest pains, hyperactivity, and aggression.

The influences may differ depending on age, sex, physical and mental fitness of the patient. For instance, Vyvanse side effects in females might manifest more severely due to statistically lower body mass and hormonal differences. There are also risks associated with taking Vyvanse while pregnant. Another factor that greatly affects the possibility of side effects is lisdexamfetamine dose. Finally, Vyvanse side effects in adults and children may also have distinctions.

Mental Side Effects Of Vyvanse Use

As a stimulant, lisdexamfetamine has serious effects on a person’s mental state and cognitive functions. Specific psychological Vyvanse side effects have long-term nature and might require specific treatment. Two of the most common symptoms include insomnia and irritability, with nearly 27% of patients suffering from these conditions. Other issues include Vyvanse sexual side effects, depression, anxiety, and mood swings.

Anxiety And Depression

Vyvanse depression and anxietyVyvanse and depression have a strong connection when it comes to both Vyvanse withdrawal and active treatment. As far as lisdexamfetamine side effects go, depression is one of the most long-lasting. When stimulant effects of the drug wear off, Vyvanse can cause depression, and a person may feel fatigued, lack motivation, have trouble sleeping and concentrating. It’s important to consult with a doctor before changing Vyvanse dosage or quitting it to avoid encountering these drawbacks.

Besides, lisdexamfetamine acts by affecting the production of norepinephrine and dopamine, the neurotransmitters responsible for alertness, confidence, and pleasure. While Vyvanse for depression treatment is a less common practice than certain prescription antidepressants, patients with mild depression can undoubtedly benefit from it.

Another potentially long-term side effect of Vyvanse is anxiety. Vyvanse and anxiety are linked through the same system that facilitates its beneficial impacts on ADHD treatment. Through stimulation of the nervous system, the drug essentially puts the body under stress, which can sometimes result in panic attacks and even trigger the development of various anxiety disorders.

Mood Swings

While Vyvanse-caused depression and anxiety mainly occur when there are significant changes in the patient’s treatment plan, mood swings are known to happen daily. Vyvanse half-life is approximately 47 minutes, although the action of the drug continues for as long as 9 to 14 hours after ingestion. Slight and moderate agitation may be present after the consumption, as well as tiredness when lisdexamfetamine stops acting.

Other long-term effects of Vyvanse such as memory loss or cognitive impairment are infrequent and are only possible in case of Vyvanse abuse. Confusion, hallucinations, mania, logorrhea, and euphoria are also attributed to misuse or addiction and don’t occur in the vast majority of patients.

Sleeping Problems While Using Vyvanse

sleeping on VyvanseInsomnia is a common side effect of the majority of stimulant medications, especially in the beginning of treatment. Vyvanse causes insomnia in approximately 27% of patients. Sleep disorders that are inherent to ADHD medications can be particularly disturbing when children are affected, although in many cases they resolve themselves after the initial adjustment period.

Sometimes, however, a low-dose benzodiazepine may be prescribed to help the patient sleep. Some drugs that are typically prescribed to treat high blood pressure and ADHD, such as Clonidine, have sleepiness as one of their side effects and, hence, can be used to counter insomnia caused by Vyvanse.

Sleep disturbances are only one side of the coin, however. Vyvanse makes some people tired, sleepy, or even depressed when it’s removed from the person’s system. It usually occurs when the dosage is reduced, when the patient stops taking lisdexamfetamine altogether, or when its action is diminished in 9 to 14 hours after the ingestion. While such side effects are generally harmless, a person should discuss the problem with their doctor if the condition persists or interferes with their daily activities in a significant way.

Weight Loss And Obesity On Vyvanse

Losing weight before and after taking Vyvanse requires different levels of effort. Vyvanse weight gain is a serious problem that many people encounter when they stop taking their ADHD medication. Stimulants make it easier to lose weight by suppressing the appetite and boosting the metabolism, as well as increasing dopamine production, which often helps find motivation to exercise. Once the person stops taking Vyvanse, they might start gaining weight rapidly.

The issue is sometimes so pressing that people go as far as to delay quitting Vyvanse for months and even years. Such behavior patterns contribute to the development of psychological addiction to Vyvanse, as well as possible eating disorders, arising from the person’s fear of gaining excessive weight. This addiction, especially when physical dependence is present as well, can make it virtually impossible for the person to stop using the drug on their own. In this case, addressing a specialized rehab center is the best course of action to find appropriate addiction treatment.

Vyvanse And Weight Loss

Vyvanse is not an approved weight-loss medication, and it shouldn’t be used as one. While it does help counter the effects of binge eating disorders, the use of Vyvanse for weight loss has not yet been studied enough. This is due to the fact that, unlike FDA-approved obesity medicines, Vyvanse was explicitly created to help patients tackle the underlying mental issues that led to the development of binge eating disorders rather than weight gain itself.

Why Is It Crucial To Seek Professional Treatment?

Vyvanse effects are generally safe and beneficial to patients with ADHD and binge eating disorders. In some cases, minor negative symptoms may appear, such as dry mouth, headache, and sweating. Vyvanse long-term effects mostly refer to psychiatric conditions and might include depression, anxiety, and insomnia. In extreme cases, lisdexamfetamine might be lead to a heart attack, hallucinations, and manias, although these symptoms rarely occur when lisdexamfetamine is taken according to the prescription. If Vyvanse overdose is suspected, or the patient displays signs of life-threatening conditions, it is necessary to seek medical help and immediately.

Page Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5914255/#ref1

Published on: April 1st, 2019

Updated on: June 3rd, 2020

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.


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