Vyvanse vs Dexedrine for ADHD: Comparison of Differences & Uses


It is a brand name of a drug called lisdexamfetamine, a central nervous system stimulant that affects chemicals in the nerves and brain which contribute to impulse control and hyperactivity. This can result in an increase in an individual’s ability to focus over extended periods of time.

As with all other stimulant medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, lisdexamfetamine is believed to increase the flow of norepinephrine and dopamine.


In 2013, it was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for maintenance treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children (ages 6 to 17).

In February 2015, it became the first and only medication approved to treat moderate to severe BED (binge eating disorder) in adults. BED is a condition described by recurrent episodes of eating in excess or binge eating.


The usual recommended initial dose for pediatric ADHD is 30 mg orally once per day in the morning. The maintenance dose is 30 mg to 70 mg a day. The maximum dose is 70 mg a day.

The usual recommended initial dose for adult ADHD is 30 mg orally once per day in the morning. The maintenance dose is 30 mg to 70 mg a day. The maximum dose is 70 mg a day.

Important note – this central nervous system stimulant may be habit-forming, plus, it is a drug of abuse. Tell your healthcare provider if you have had problems with alcohol or drug abuse.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • decreased appetite;
  • trouble sleeping (insomnia);
  • anxiety;
  • upper stomach pain;
  • dizziness;
  • unexplained weight loss;
  • diarrhea;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea;
  • loss of appetite;
  • irritability;
  • a dry mouth.

Rare side effects may include:

  • increased blood pressure;
  • pounding or fast heartbeat;
  • behavior changes (aggression, agitation, paranoia);
  • mood swings;
  • blurred vision;
  • chest pain;
  • hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or feeling things which are not there);
  • vision changes;
  • extremely elevated mood;
  • swelling of the legs;
  • racing thoughts;
  • new tics (involuntary vocalizations or movements);
  • extremely high energy;
  • slowed growth;
  • pale stools;
  • impulsiveness;
  • rapid talking;
  • dark urine;
  • difficulty breathing;
  • white or purple discoloration of fingers and toes;
  • yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes;
  • vomiting;
  • sudden weight gain;
  • thoughts of suicide;
  • decreased interest in usual activities;
  • poor concentration;
  • a sensation of cold and/or numbness.

To be sure that this medication is safe for you, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • high blood pressure;
  • a congenital heart defect;
  • kidney disease;
  • heart problems;
  • blood circulation problems in the hands or feet;
  • liver disease;
  • suicidal thoughts or actions;
  • coronary artery disease (clogged arteries);
  • psychosis;
  • drug or alcohol addiction;
  • bipolar disorder;
  • high LDL and total cholesterol;
  • mental illness;
  • depression.


Although it is less prone to being abused, it is still ultimately converted into a stimulant drug, therefore, there is always the potential for abuse. Moreover, as a central nervous system stimulant, it is possible for people to develop an increasing tolerance to the drug over time.


It is the brand name of a drug called dextroamphetamine that belongs to the family of drugs known as central nervous system stimulants. It works by affecting chemicals in the nerves and brain which contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.

It is produced by Amedra Pharmaceuticals, LLC, and it was originally approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1975.


This central nervous system stimulant is typically used to treat narcolepsy (falling asleep at inappropriate times without any control) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.


The usual recommended dose of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is 2.5 mg to 40 mg per day, depending on the patient.

Note – do not stop using this medication suddenly without talking to your healthcare provider, particularly if you have overused the drug.

Side Effects and Precautions of Dextroamphetamine

Common side effects may include:

  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • unexplained weight loss;
  • difficulty having an orgasm;
  • loss of appetite;
  • impotence;
  • loss of interest in sex.

Rare side effects may include:

  • paranoia;
  • trouble breathing;
  • a seizure (convulsions);
  • new behavior problems;
  • a feeling like you might pass out;
  • muscle twitches (tics);
  • chest pain;
  • hostility;
  • changes in your vision;
  • aggression;
  • penis erection that is painful or lasts 4 hours or longer;
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things which are not real);
  • skin color changes in the fingers or toes;
  • unexplained muscle pain;
  • unexplained wounds.


There are no conclusive clinical studies regarding the safe use of this central nervous system stimulant during pregnancy, therefore, do not take it if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant without first discussing the benefits and risks with your healthcare professional.

More importantly, this medication passes into breast milk and could harm the infant, hence, avoid it if you are breastfeeding.

To be sure that this central nervous system stimulant is safe for you, tell your healthcare provider if you have or have had any of the following medical conditions:

  • heart or blood vessel disease;
  • thyroid problems;
  • circulation problems in your hands or feet;
  • glaucoma (a group of eye disorders);
  • a heart attack;
  • an abnormal electroencephalogram (EEG);
  • high blood pressure;
  • kidney problems;
  • liver problems;
  • unusual stress;
  • a heart defect like a small hole in your heart;
  • hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis);
  • seizures;
  • an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia);
  • depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), or other mental health concern;
  • high LDL and total cholesterol;
  • a family history of heart problems;
  • any other heart problems.

Vyvanse vs Dexedrine – Which Is Better For Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Vyvanse (active ingredient – lisdexamfetamine) and Dexedrine (active ingredient – dextroamphetamine) are both used in ADHD and they both work by affecting levels of specific neurotransmitters.

Because they have different main ingredients, their side effects differ somewhat. For instance, Vyvanse can cause growth retardation in children, blurred vision, and possibly seizures, whereas Dexetrine can cause indigestion, sexual side effects (loss of interest in sex and impotence), and possible allergic reaction.

Image credit – Shutterstock

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