Vyvanse vs. Adderall: Key Facts

Vyvanse vs. Adderall

Vyvanse vs. Adderall Vyvanse and Adderall are two different medications. However, because they are both stimulant medications from the same drug family (amphetamine), they may be confused as being the same medication.2 Here are some facts about the two drugs to shed light on their similarities and differences.

Vyvanse vs. Adderall: Key Facts


Adderall is a brand name for a drug that contains dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It is available in two formulas: Adderall IR (immediate-release) and Adderall XR (extended-release). Adderall IR is short-acting. Typically, when a person is prescribed this immediate-release version, they would take it two or three times a day.Vyvanse vs. Adderall: Key Facts

Adderall XR was approved by the FDA in 2001 and may be prescribed to people 6 years and older.3 Adderall IR is also approved to treat narcolepsy.4


Vyvanse is a brand name for a drug that contains lisdexamfetamine. When lisdexamfetamine enters the body, it is converted to dextroamphetamine. It is available in one formula that was approved by the FDA in 2007 for people 6 years and older.5 In addition to treating ADHD, Vyvanse is approved to treat binge eating disorder.


Both Vyvanse and Adderall are effective for treating ADHD. There is little comparative research to suggest that one is better than the other.

The two medications do differ in terms of how long they last. This can be a deciding factor for many people and can impact how effective the medication is for controlling symptoms.

  • The immediate-release form of Adderall lasts for around three to four hours. However, people may be able to take a dose two to three times per day.4 The extended-release form is taken once per day but lasts for 10 to 12 hours.3
  • One dose of Vyvanse can last up to 14 hours, which means that it can often be taken in the morning and last all day.5

Some people taking Adderall XR may find that they need to take other medications to help control their symptoms.

Side Effects

As Vyvanse and Adderall are both amphetamine-type stimulant medications, the side effects of each drug are similar and include:53

  • Abdominal pain
  • Affect lability
  • Anxiety
  • Appetite loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Jitteriness
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Sleep problems
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Vyvanse vs. Adderall: Key Facts

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