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When it comes to treating ADHD and the like, many may wonder which is better–Vyvanse or Adderall. Is there even a difference? Ultimately, while these medications may treat similar conditions and symptoms, they are vastly different and one may work better for some patients than the other.

Vyvanse

Vyvanse is the trade name of the drug lisdexamfetamine. It is an amphetamine.

Uses

The FDA has approved this drug for the treatment of ADHD and binge-eating disorder.

Contraindications

  • Known hypersensitivity to amphetamines or ingredients in Vyvanse
  • Have used monoamines oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) within the previous 14 days

Adderall

Adderall is an amphetamine, specifically a mix of four various amphetamine salts.

Uses

Adderall is a combination drug that can treat ADHD and narcolepsy. 

Contraindications

  • Advanced arteriosclerosis (atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease)
  • Symptomatic cardiovascular disease
  • Moderate to severe hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Known hypersensitivity to sympathomimetic drugs (adrenergic drugs or adrenergic amines)
  • Glaucoma

Vyvanse vs Adderall – What is the Difference?

Both Vyvanse and Adderall belong to the same class of drugs, amphetamines, and they work by raising levels of key neurotransmitters in the brain. They do it in different ways, though. The body converts Vyvanse into another chemical, dextroamphetamine (also found in Adderall), and that triggers the release of the neurotransmitters. Adderall conversely works primarily by blocking “the reuptake of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin into the presynaptic neuron and [increasing] the release of these monoamines into the synaptic space.”

Since they work in different ways, they may work differently for different people. For instance, while both are indicated for the treatment of ADHD, only Adderall is FDA-approved for the treatment of narcolepsy and Vyvanse for binge-eating disorder. As such, a medical provider will decide which of these two drugs is better suited for an individual patient’s treatment plan.

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