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vyvanse withdrawal

Vyvanse Withdrawal, Symptoms, Effects, Timeline, Detox & Treatment

What is Vyvanse?

Vyvanse is a prescription drug, primarily used to treat symptoms of ADHD. The generic name of Vyvanse is lisdexamfetamine. It is a central nervous system stimulant. Vyvanse is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S. because it can cause physical and psychological dependence, according to the United States federal government. Using this drug for more prolonged periods can change your brain chemistry, and make Vyvanse detox more challenging.

Some people may begin to see an improvement in their ADHD symptoms after a few days of taking Vyvanse. But it can take up to several weeks to experience the full effects of the medication.

Vyvanse Abuse

Is Vyvanse Addictive? There are certain outward signs of Vyvanse addiction that people may notice in their loved ones. Some signs are physical symptoms, while others are related to behavior and lifestyle. Signs of Vyvanse addiction can include:

vyvanse withdrawal
Vyvanse is a prescription drug, primarily used to treat symptoms of ADHD. The generic name of Vyvanse is lisdexamfetamine. It is a central nervous system stimulant.
  • Taking Vyvanse without a prescription or taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Compulsive drug-seeking and drug usage
  • Continuing to use Vyvanse even when there are negative side effects or consequences
  • Trying to cut down or stop Vyvanse unsuccessfully
  • Being increasingly secretive or changing routines
  • Putting oneself in dangerous situations to obtain more Vyvanse or to use it
  • Withdrawing from loved ones and responsibilities like school or work
  • Need to take more of the drug to achieve the desired effects

When someone uses Vyvanse in any way other than prescribed or instructed by a medical professional, it is considered to be abuse. Vyvanse abuse can include crushing tablets or emptying capsules to snort or inject the drug. Abuse doesn’t necessarily result in addiction, but addiction is more likely to occur in people who abuse a prescription drug like Vyvanse.

Recreational use of Vyvanse, also called nonmedical use (NMU), is taking Vyvanse in any way other than prescribed. According to studies surveying adults in the U.S., 7% to 8% of respondents were estimated to have lifetime nonmedical use of prescription stimulants such as Vyvanse. It is estimated that up to 17% of college students abuse prescription stimulants. Nonmedical use of stimulants is most common among patients aged 18 to 25 years.

Oral misuse is the most prevalent form of nonmedical use of prescription stimulants, making up 52% to 95% of all cases. This includes possession or use of stimulants without a prescription, selling or giving prescription stimulants to others, using prescription stimulants for a non-therapeutic purpose, or orally ingesting prescription stimulants in ways other than prescribed (i.e., chewing capsules). The most common method of non-oral NMU is snorting (insufflation) followed by injection, which can cause excessive harm.

Vyvanse is different from other prescription stimulants such as Adderall (amphetamine-dextroamphetamine) or Ritalin (methylphenidate) because it is not active in its original form. Drugs that remain inactive until they are metabolized are called prodrugs, which can have a lower potential for abuse and drug addiction. Vyvanse is metabolized into the active drug dextroamphetamine through a chemical process called hydrolysis.

This is a rate-limiting step that is responsible for the delayed and sustained effect of Vyvanse. Therefore, crushing, chewing, snorting, or injecting Vyvanse will not result in an immediate effect that produces euphoria or “drug likeability” similar to other commonly abused medications. The prodrug formulation deters patients from seeking immediate stimulation via snorting or injecting the stimulant as the drug’s effects occur over some time.

Does Vyvanse Cause Withdrawals?

Abusing Vyvanse can cause drug dependence, leading to a tolerance of the drug that requires higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect. Extended use, especially at high doses, can alter brain chemistry causing you to crave Vyvanse, as well as trigger unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you go without it.

Withdrawals from Vyvanse are not fatal, but side effects like cravings and depression can make quitting difficult or increase your risk of suicide. Detoxing with the help of a treatment program is safer and more likely to produce lasting results.

Vyvanse Withdrawal Symptoms

Within a few hours of taking Vyvanse, you can start to experience withdrawal symptoms such as:

vyvanse withdrawal
Abusing Vyvanse can cause drug dependence, leading to a tolerance of the drug that requires higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect.
  • Depression
  • Increased need for sleep
  • Difficulty feeling pleasure
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Increased appetite

The length of these symptoms and their intensity depends on how long you have been taking Vyvanse and how high the doses were. Very heavy users can still experience difficulty feeling pleasure and cravings for weeks, months, and even years.

How Bad is Vyvanse Withdrawal?

Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms can occur in patients stopping Vyvanse abruptly; although, symptoms are usually not serious and can be further minimized by gradually decreasing the stimulant dose before stopping therapy altogether. Patients on higher doses of Vyvanse (e.g., 70 mg) with a long duration of therapy are more likely to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Patients may desire to stop taking Vyvanse for various reasons. They might find side effects such as weight loss, dry mouth, or nausea to be intolerable, or may simply desire to be independent of ADHD medications. However, it may be necessary to gradually decrease a patient’s dose before they can stop taking Vyvanse.

Central nervous system stimulants like Vyvanse cause physiological changes with continued use. This means that over time, the brain adjusts to the regular effects of Vyvanse, such as the feelings of reward, reinforcement, and motivation caused by increased dopamine. The body counteracts these effects by decreasing its sensitivity to norepinephrine and dopamine in certain regions of the brain.

This is one reason patients experience drug tolerance, or the need for higher and higher doses to sustain the same drug efficacy. Patients can experience withdrawal when the body suddenly stops receiving the stimuli that it has become dependent upon. By slowly weaning off Vyvanse, the body has time to make small adjustments and regain its sensitivity to dopamine and norepinephrine. When normal sensitivity is achieved, natural levels of these neurotransmitters will be enough to cause their intended functions.

No abrupt changes should be made to Vyvanse doses without first consulting a physician. Vyvanse should be taken consistently without skipping any doses. Regular dosing ensures the greatest benefit and allows doctors to evaluate how well the current dose is managing ADHD. In some cases, doctors may allow for a “drug holiday” so a patient can temporarily stop taking Vyvanse. 

One reason for a drug holiday would be changes in a patient’s weight; prescribers might allow pediatric patients to come off Vyvanse until they regain weight, and then subsequently restart therapy. Physicians sometimes grant a parent’s request that a child discontinues ADHD medication during the summer when the child is not in school. 

Another reason a doctor might ask a patient to temporarily discontinue Vyvanse would be to evaluate the efficacy and assess the need for continued therapy. Finally, patients may need to stop Vyvanse immediately to avoid certain drug interactions. For example, opioids, migraine meds, anti-nausea drugs, and antidepressants have the potential to cause serotonin syndrome when taken with Vyvanse. A class of antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) can cause dangerously high blood pressure if they are taken less than 14 days before a dose of Vyvanse. It may be necessary to stop Vyvanse entirely to avoid these drug interactions.

How Long Does Vyvanse Withdrawal Last?

Symptoms of withdrawal usually begin within 36 hours of the last dose, shortly after the active component is fully eliminated. Withdrawal can last for several days or weeks, especially in patients who have been on a high dose of Vyvanse for a long time. 

Patients typically experience a noticeable drop in energy and mood as their first symptoms, which may be like symptoms of a Vyvanse crash. They may also experience a desire to eat more. 

This stage is followed by physical symptoms such as joint aches and muscle pain, with continued mental health effects like irritation or depression. During this time, many patients have trouble sleeping. While this is a common pattern, the withdrawal timeline may be different for any given patient.

Vyvanse Withdrawal Treatment

The best way for most people to manage symptoms of Vyvanse withdrawal is to gradually taper down their dose of the drug. This practice is recommended for people who recreationally abuse Vyvanse and for people who use therapeutic doses.

vyvanse withdrawal
Symptoms of withdrawal usually begin within 36 hours of the last dose, shortly after the active component is fully eliminated. Withdrawal can last for several days or weeks.

When someone tapers down their dosage of Vyvanse slowly, over time, withdrawal symptoms are reduced or eliminated. People shouldn’t try to do this on their own without professional supervision, however. Trying to manage the symptoms of Vyvanse withdrawal without professional help can lead to dangerous complications.

Vyvanse Detox

When people are dependent upon certain drugs, like opioids or even alcohol, there are specific medications that can be given during withdrawal. These medications can help reduce the symptoms of withdrawal and drug cravings. With stimulants like Vyvanse, there are currently no specific, approved withdrawal medications. Instead, when someone detoxes under medical supervision or in a professional facility, their symptoms can be treated with certain medications as they arise.

For example, Vyvanse medications can include psychiatric medications or sleep aids. The ability to provide the necessary medications is one of the primary benefits of participating in a professional detox program before seeking addiction treatment.

Reclaim Your Life From Vyvanse Withdrawal

There are certain outward signs of Vyvanse addiction that people may notice in their loved ones. Some signs are physical symptoms, while others are related to behavior and lifestyle. We Level Up rehab treatment & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from addiction with professional and safe Vyvanse detox. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.