Uncover the differences between Vyvanse vs Adderall to determine which one is better for you. Find out how a genetic test can help you choose the right anti-ADHD agent medication for your needs.

Vyvanse® vs. Adderall®

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a highly prevalent mental health condition that affects hundreds of millions of people around the world. Over 6 million children in the US  and about 4%-5% of US adults are reported to have ADHD diagnoses.1 There are certain anti-ADHD agents that may help reduce the symptoms associated with ADHD to help individuals live a better quality of life.

Vyvanse and Adderall are two anti-ADHD medications designed to help with ADHD. These stimulants are the two most commonly prescribed anti-ADHD agents. They primarily target focus issues, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Although similar, Vyvanse and Adderall are not the same and may be used to treat different things. It is important to understand Vyvanse vs Adderall’s similarities and differences so you and your doctor can make an informed decision about your healthcare treatment plan. Genetic testing for ADHD medications may also help.

Vyvanse vs Adderall: What are They?

As part of the anti-ADHD agent drug group, Vyvanse and Adderall are both approved by the FDA to help individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Both or either may be useful as part of an overall treatment plan, but their effectiveness and how they interact with individuals depends on many factors including symptoms, dosage, body chemistry makeup, height, weight, other medications, and more.

What is Vyvanse?

Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) is a stimulant drug and anti-ADHD agent that may be used to treat ADHD. Vyvanse contains lisdexamfetamine, which the body turns into dextroamphetamine to restore the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain to improve attention span and reduce impulsivity. In addition to being prescribed for ADHD, Vyvanse may also be used to help reduce the number of episodes for people with binge eating disorder (BED).

What is Adderall?

Just like Vyvanse, Adderall is a medication for mental wellness that falls under the class of drugs called anti-ADHD agents. Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance that contains four amphetamine salts: Dextroamphetamine Saccharate, Amphetamine Aspartate, Dextroamphetamine Sulfate and Amphetamine Sulfate. This differs from Vyvanse, which contains only one amphetamine salt.

Similar to Vyvanse, Adderall is a stimulant medication that is intended to help increase attention span, help people stay focused on a task, control behavioral problems, and improve organization and listening skills. Adderall may also be used for narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder that is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and suddenly falling asleep.

Vyvanse vs Adderall: Common Side Effects

Bringing a new medication of any kind into your system comes with a risk of side effects, some of which may be adverse to certain individuals. Read on to learn about some of the most common side effects users may experience with Vyvanse and Adderall.

Side Effects Common with Vyvanse

Some people who take Vyvanse experience the following side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sweating
  • Weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness

Because Vyvanse is a stimulant, taking it also comes with a high risk of misuse/abuse and dependence. This could be in the form of physical dependence as well as psychological dependence.

Not everyone who takes Vyvanse will have these side effects. Please bear in mind that this is a list of some but not all side effects individuals may experience on Vyvanse. For more information and guidance, please speak with your healthcare provider.

Side Effects Common with Adderall

Taking Adderall may come with the following side effects:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Upset stomach
  • nausea/vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Nervousness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased anxiety

How people respond to certain mental wellness medications such as Vyvanse and Adderall depends on a variety of factors and varies from individual to individual. Side effects usually lessen over time and dosage may impact the severity of side effects. Please consult your doctor or a healthcare professional if you experience lingering or unwanted side effects from taking any medication.

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Vyvanse vs Adderall: Dosage

How people take Vyvanse vs Adderall may differ depending on their treatment plan.

Vyvanse Dosage

It is extremely important to always take Vyvanse as prescribed by your doctor. This medication can be taken with or without food. Most people take one dose of Vyvanse 1x/day in the morning. It is not advised to take Vyvanse in the evening as it is a stimulant medication and could interfere with sleep. A commonly recommended dose of Vyvanse for ADHD or Binge Eating Disorder is 30 mg every morning, but this may vary from one individual to the next.

Vyvanse is available in doses ranging from 10 mg to 70 mg. It comes in chewable tablet and capsule form. People who have trouble swallowing tablets and/or capsules also have the option of opening the capsule, pouring its contents into fluid (water is recommended) or applesauce/yogurt and consuming it immediately.

Please be advised that stopping the usage of Vyvanse may result in withdrawal symptoms such as severe tiredness, sleep issues, mental/mood shifts, and depression. It is always recommended to gradually reduce medication under the supervised care of your doctor. Please take note that Vyvanse may be habit-forming and may become less effective over time. Always speak with a trusted healthcare professional before making any changes to your medication.

Adderall Dosage

The dosage for Adderall and Adderall XR (extended-release version of Adderall) varies from person to person. Always take Adderall and Adderall XR only as prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist. It may be taken with or without food. Adderall is available in 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 12.5 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg oral tablets. Adderall XR extended-release comes in 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, and 30 mg capsules.2 Adderall tablets are typically taken 2-3x/day with the first dose taken in the morning. Adderall XR capsules are intended to be taken once daily and in the morning. It is not advised to take Adderall in the evening as it is a stimulant and taking it in the evening may interfere with sleep.

Those who have trouble swallowing tablets and/or capsules also have the option of opening the capsule, pouring its contents into fluid (water is recommended) or applesauce/yogurt and consuming it immediately.

Your doctor will prescribe the dose of Adderall or Adderall XR they feel is best based on your circumstances and a variety of factors. Do not exceed the recommended dose or frequency. Should you decide to discontinue taking Adderall, please do so under the care and supervision of a healthcare professional. Discontinuing the use of Adderall may cause withdrawal symptoms including loss of energy, cravings, panic attacks, tremors, body aches, mood swings, and short- term memory loss. Please take note that Adderall may be habit-forming and may become less effective over time. Always speak with a trusted healthcare professional before making any changes to your medication.

Vyvanse vs Adderall: How Long Does It Take to Start Working?

Both Vyvanse and Adderall are fast-acting anti-ADHD agents that take effect rather quickly. Vyvanse usually begins to kick in within 60-90 minutes of taking it. Adderall tends to work even faster, activating within 30 minutes to an hour of ingestion. Please bear in mind that both Vyvanse and Adderall are stimulant medications with a high risk of misuse that may cause them to be habit forming.

Vyvanse vs Adderall: How Long Does It last?

How long Vyvanse vs Adderall lasts depends on a variety of factors, including dosage, height, weight, tolerance, and more. A single dose of Vyvanse typically lasts between 10 to 12 hours. A single dose of Adderall usually lasts between 4 to 6 hours but may last as long as 12 hours depending on the circumstances.3

Certain medications, vitamins, and supplements may impact how long Vyvanse vs Adderall lasts because of the way they impact absorption levels. Vitamin C supplements (ascorbic acid) may decrease absorption levels; taking Vyvanse or Adderall with fruit juice such as orange juice is not recommended. Additionally, any medication that increases the acidity levels in the stomach will decrease the absorption of this type of medication.4

Conversely, medications and supplements that increase the alkalinity of the stomach content may increase the absorption of Vyvanse and Adderall. These substances include protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) and sodium bicarbonate.

Can Vyvanse and Adderall Be Taken Together?

No, Vyvanse and Adderall should not be taken together. Taking Vyvanse with Adderall may lead to an increased risk of side effects.

Vyvanse or Adderall: Which One Should I Take?

Your doctor will prescribe the anti-ADHD agent they feel is most appropriate for you based on your condition, circumstances, and needs. There are several reasons to take Vyvanse vs Adderall, many of which come down to how your body may react to the drugs. Genetic testing for ADHD may be able to help point you in the right direction. Other factors to consider include cost, the strength of medication, and the side effects.

After reviewing the features of each and the potential side effects you may experience, it will be up to both you and your healthcare professional to determine whether Vyvanse or Adderall will be better suited for your needs.

Vyvanse vs Adderall: Similarities and Differences




Drug group

Anti-ADHD Agent/ Amphetamines

Anti-ADHD Agent/ Amphetamines


  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

  • Binge Eating Disorder

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

  • Narcolepsy

Intended duration of use

Short or long-term

Short or long-term

Available in generic form 



Risk of habit forming?



Available forms

Capsule or chewable tablet

Immediate-release oral tablet and extended-release capsule. 

Safe for use with alcohol?

Not recommended 

Not recommended 

ClarityX: DNA Testing for Medication

The DNA in our bodies contains valuable information that may be useful to determine how we will respond to certain medications. ClarityX examines DNA to uncover this information and provide patients with detailed reports on how they may react to taking certain drugs. We look for variations with the cytochrome 450 enzymes (which metabolizes over 70% of drugs). ClarityX offers two testing options with our pharmacogenetic testing:

  • Mindwell test: This focuses on treatments for mental health conditions that include but are not limited to depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, and more.
  • Max Rx test: This covers 31 therapeutic areas to test how an individual may respond to more than 267 medications.

Both the Mindwell and Max Rx tests may help determine how you will react to Vyvanse and Adderall. This could help you and your healthcare provider make more informed decisions about your treatment plan. Click here to learn more.





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