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Both Adderall and Vyvanse are central nervous system (CNS) stimulants that are prescribed to treat ADHD. While they share many similarities, there are some key differences that are important to know, including their potential for abuse and addiction.

Vyvanse vs Adderall: prescription and treatment

While sharing similarities, the two drugs are used to treat some different conditions.

Adderall prescription and treatment

Adderall is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant used primarily as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also used to treat narcolepsy in some cases.

Vyvanse prescription and treatment

Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) is also a CNS stimulant used to treat ADHD. It is also used as an appetite suppressant for those suffering from moderate-to-severe Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Vyvanse should be used as a part of a combination treatment approach in conjunction with therapy or counseling.

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Adderall: 5mg - 40mg oral tablets to be taken twice daily (up to 60mg in some narcolepsy cases)

Vyvanse: 10mg - 70mg oral capsules or chewable tablets taken daily (30mg is the average starting dosage)

Drug classification

Adderall: Adderall is a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), meaning it has a medical benefit and holds the potential for abuse and addiction.

Vyvanse: Vyvanse is also a Schedule II substance under CSA, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

How long do they last?

Adderall: The average half-life for Adderall is 34 hours

Vyvanse: The average half-life for Vyvanse is 1 hour

Side effects

The two drugs produce similar side effects owing to their amphetamine properties and interaction with brain function. However, there are some notable differences in the common and uncommon side effects of each drug.

Adderall side effects

More common

  • Anxiety
  • dry mouth
  • lack or loss of strength
  • stomach pain
  • weight loss
  • Increased focus
  • Ability to stay awake

Less common

  • Constipation
  • decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  • false or unusual sense of well-being
  • inability to have or keep an erection
  • loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
  • twitching, twisting in the limbs, eyes, and tounge

Vyvanse side effects

More common

  • Decreased appetite
  • headache
  • nausea
  • upper abdominal or stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • weight decreased

Less common

  • Crying
  • depersonalization
  • dry mouth
  • dysphoria
  • euphoria
  • paranoia
  • quick to react or overreact emotionally
  • rapidly changing moods
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness

How much do they cost?

Both drugs are available under prescription and can be picked up in most drug stores.

Adderall cost

Quantity 100 tablet
Dosage 5 mg
Per unit (less VAT) $9.53
Cost $952.99

Read here to find out more about the cost of Adderall.

Vyvanse cost

Quantity 100 capsule
Dosage 30 mg
Per unit (less VAT)
Cost $1,244.08

Potential for abuse & addiction

As with most CNS stimulants, both Adderall and Vyvanse can lead to physical dependence and addiction if abused.

Adderall addiction and abuse

Adderall has been used since the 1960s as a treatment for ADHD and other behavioral disorders. It has also been abused for its side effects of hightened focus, attention, mild euphoria, and reduced tiredness. 

Adderall affects the central nervous system (CNS) and produces neurochemical reactions such as dopamine production. If Adderall is abused in higher than recommended doses or over a long period of time, the brain can become rewired to its effects, in turn building a tolerance to the substance. This can in turn lead to physical dependence and eventually addiction. 

Signs of Adderall addiction include:

  • Mood swings

  • Overwhelming anxiety/panic attacks

  • Uncontrollable crying

  • Short-term memory loss

  • Intense cravings

  • Depression

  • Adderall withdrawal symptoms

Vyvanse addiction and abuse

As with Adderall, Vyvanse is often widely abused for its ability to improve focus and attention, especially among students and young adults. It is also used as an appetite suppressant for those looking to lose weight, even if they have not been prescribed it. 

Long-term abuse of Vyvanse can lead to a tolerance to the substance forming and eventually physical dependence, the negative consequences of which can lead to addiction. Someone experiencing Vyvance addiction may possess some of the following attributes:

  • Poor sleeping habits at night

  • Unease

  • A lack of coordination

  • Body shakes

  • Skin redness

  • Abdominal pains

  • An unusually inflated sense of self

  • A noticeable change in personality

  • Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms


Both Adderall and Vyvanse addictions can be extremely difficult to overcome on one's own. Luckily, there are addiction rehab facilities across the country that can help those affected overcome addiction. No matter what a person's background is or how severe their addiction, there is a treatment option available, such as:

  • Inpatient rehab

  • Outpatient treatment

  • Remote access treatment

  • Support groups

  • Sober living facilities

  • Therapy and counseling

If you or a loved one is struggling with Vyvanse or Adderall addiction then visit our rehab directory today to find a treatment option near you.