Adults and children age 6 to 12 who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may benefit from Vyvanse. This prescription medication works by affecting certain chemicals in the brain to produce a calming effect. Vyvanse comes in the form of a capsule that is usually taken once a day in the morning. Commonly reported side effects include headaches, insomnia, and a decreased appetite.
What Is Vyvanse?Vyvanse™ (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) is a prescription medication that is used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children age 6 to 12 years old, adolescents, and adults. Because the drug is a stimulant and has the potential to be abused, there are special rules for prescribing it (see Vyvanse: A Controlled Substance).
(Click Vyvanse Uses for more information on what the drug is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
How Does Vyvanse Work?Lisdexamfetamine (the active ingredient of Vyvanse) is changed in the body to another chemical, dextroamphetamine. Dextroamphetamine is a stimulant, although it has effects that are opposite from what would be expected of a stimulant. While stimulants (like caffeine) can cause hyperactivity, Vyvanse (when used in the appropriate dosages) has a calming effect. While the exact way the medication produces a calming effect is not known, it is known to affect chemicals in the brain.
Effects of VyvanseBased on clinical studies, children (age 6 to 12 years old) with ADHD who took Vyvanse had significant improvement in their ADHD symptoms, compared to children with ADHD who did not take it. Even though the medication is taken just once a day in the morning, these improvements lasted throughout the day, from morning until at least early evening (about 6 p.m.). Similar results were seen in adolescent and adult studies of lisdexamfetamine.