Adderall vs Vyvanse


Adderall is one of the most popular central nervous stimulants for treating ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). But in the current competitive market, there are a number of alternative drugs that treat the symptoms of the disorder, most notably Vyvanse. Both drugs are CNS stimulants which may lead several consumers to assume that they are cut from the same cloth, so to speak. The fact, of course, is that they are vastly different substances. As such, many prospective users should understand the risks and benefits of each, and where the two drugs diverge.

Adderall’s Usages & Benefits

Adderall is a combo of salts from two disparate enantiomers of amphetamine. The main components of the drug are levoamphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is chiefly prescribed to treat ADHD, as mentioned above, but it has also found favor as a treatment for narcolepsy and a host of other maladies. As with most nootropic drugs, Adderall is believed to be a performance enhancer.

Among sundry Adderall uses, the drug has also been implemented as an aphrodisiac. The efficacy of Adderall use to this end seems nebulous at this time and the drug companies neither confirm nor deny its effectiveness in this area. That said, recreational users have been vocal about the randy side effect of an uptake in Adderall dosage with one user writing, “Abusers know the ‘aphrodisiac’ properties of Adderall and use it to enhance sex. Naturally, the urge to masturbate is also increased. So you have a perfect storm there.”

Advocates of the drug list the benefits of the drug as follows:

  • Mood Elevation
  • Mild Euphoria
  • Attentiveness
  • Focus
  • Increase in Dopamine, Serotonin and Adrenaline
  • Higher Motivation
  • Possible Increase In Certain Areas of the Brain (This is speculation, at best)

Adderall’s Adverse Effects

Some detractors aren’t nearly so optimistic about Adderall, however, with Medical Daily writing, “Whatever obscure benefits there are, it’s not worth it.” The medical community seems to be widely divided on the subject. For example, in November of 2015, Dr. Carl Hart, a professor at Columbia University, came out publicly to decry the substance, saying that Adderall is, “basically crystal meth.”

The negative side effects of Adderall are as follows:

  • Nervousness
  • Headaches
  • Fear
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Cotton mouth (or dry mouth, if you’re not a Millenial burnout)
  • Excitability
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Weakness
  • Tremors
  • Agitation
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Hair Loss

The above represents the most common side effects, but doctors and scientists have also warned of potential cardiac issues, including tachycardia and high blood pressure.

Vyvanse’s Usages & Benefits

Vyvanse (or Lisdexamfetamine as it is known generically) is primarily used to treat ADHD, as we saw above, but its benefits extend way beyond the realm of attention disorders, including social anxiety, astuteness issues and, most interestingly, binge eating disorder. Like Adderall, it operates by restoring neurotransmitters in the brain, but, unlike its opponent, Vyvanse can treat a host of psychological disorders and pathologies, such as binging and body dysmorphia.

As it is a long release substance, it possesses characteristics that are more beneficial to ADHD sufferers than its competitors. It is also said to be harder to abuse than Adderall and more effective, lasting up to fourteen hours after dosage. Data supports that Vyvanse yields “consistent drug behavior,” which tends to make for a safer and less addictive drug experience. Other study results claim that its long release provides more stability.

Vyvanse’s Adverse Effects

Some in the supplement community believe that the fact that Vyvanse consists solely of one d-amphetamine versus the multiple amphetamines of competing drugs results in users getting turned off by the drug experience. This rationale, of course, only seems to support a theory that takes into account recreational or student users exclusively. As there is little research to back up a claim that a hyperactive third grader or fatigued office drone is looking for a high or a euphoria from Vyvanse, there is no reason to assume that this potentiality will be a factor for most prescribed patients.

Of course there are a number of side effects, some of which even contradict some of Vyvanse’s known benefits. One comes in the form of addiction; Vyvanse has been said to be less addictive than other substances, Adderall among them and, yet, many users have suffered from terrible withdrawal symptoms.

The devil is in the details, as they say, and in the case of Vyvanse it is longevity or lack thereof. Studies have shown that Vyvanse works most effectively for a period of one year. As is the case with any drug that is taken regularly, for an extended period of time, its user begins to develop a tolerance.

Withdrawal symptoms tend to include any number of the following:

  • Sweating
  • Mood Swings
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Concentration Problems
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness

Some users who have kicked a Vyvanse habit have experience flushed and sweating skin, increased respiration and heart rate, dilated pupils and acute hyperactivity. Hence, it is highly advised that you consult with a doctor or detox facility before discontinuing use of the drug.

It bears mentioning here that Adderall also produces harsh withdrawal symptoms, the most common being fatigue, depression, sleeplessness, mental confusion, anxiety and lucid dreams which can, conversely, manifest in the form of sleep paralysis. Anyone who has ever experienced night terrors from withdrawal can tell you that flushed skin pales in comparison to the sensation of being locked inside your body and unable to turn off.

Which, naturally, brings us to the other negative side effects of Vyvanse use itself. The following are among the most widely reported:

  • Decreased Appetite
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Circulation Problems (affecting fingers and toes)


You read that right, Vyvanse’s most common symptoms are limited to no more than six or so adverse reactions as opposed to the seventeen listed for Adderall. In this reviewer’s opinion, I would much rather be on a pill that causes mild paresthesia and a touch of the runs than end up trapped in a waking nightmare with tachycardia.

In summation, Vyvanse is the obvious choice over Adderall by leaps and bounds. But remember, should you decide to start taking Vyvanse, take it according to label instructions and your doctor’s orders. Vyvanse should be taken at precisely the same time every morning, so as to prevent insomnia. Now go and emancipate your mind…

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Erica Silva
Senior Editor
Erica Silva is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. Currently, she is associated with DementiaTalk Team.

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