Adderall vs Vyvanse

Which ADHD Medication Is Better?

The topic of Adderall vs Vyvanse is a great debate among ADHD doctors and those who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. As a doctor who treats ADHD, I am frequently asked which of these popular ADHD medications is superior. 

The answer is not cut and dry because medications affect everyone differently, therefore there is no “best.” What works for your neighbor may not work for you, so it is often a matter of trial and error in order to find what works best for each individual.

First, a little history. Adderall was released first, and Vyvanse is intended to be the replacement for Adderall XR (extended release).

They are both Amphetamine salts, which means they are ultmately more similar than they are different. Technically and chemically speaking, Vyvanse is 100% d-amphetamine, while Adderall XR is a blend of 4 different d and l-amphetamines.

Another difference between the two ADHD medications is that the means of release and absorption are different. Vyvanse is released via digestion, whereas Adderall utilizes its release via bead technology. While both are designed to be long-lasting, Vyvanse tends to tends to last longer (up to 12-14 hours).


Most find that Adderall tends to be stronger and can be more effective as a result, but its potency may increase negative side effects such as anxiety.

Adderall is stronger, but Vyvanse is often reported as “smoother” and less harsh compared to Adderall.

Also, one fairly widely reported advantage of Vyvanse is that, unlike Adderall, it is usually not affected by the foods you eat.

In addition, because Vyvanse is more recent it is often more expensive than other ADHD medications and not yet available in generic form.

Safety Tips

Only take prescription medications as directed by your doctor. Never sell your ADHD medications or share them with others, and never take any medication that was not prescribed specifically for you.

Inform your doctor or seek emergency medical attention if you experience any severe or unusual emotional, psychological, or physical symptoms while taking Adderall or Vyvanse. This may include high fever, hallucinations, difficulty breathing or swallowing, etc.

Do not abruptly stop taking these ADHD medications, as withdrawal may result. If you wish to discontinue these medications, work in conjunction with your doctor who can gradually (and safely) reduce your dose over time.

Adderall vs Vyvanse: The Bottom Line

In short, Vyvanse is pretty much an improved, extended release version of Dexedrine, which is available in generic form.

While there is a risk of abuse or dependence while taking any Amphetamines for a prolonged period of time or by taking higher than recommended doses, Vyvanse's means of release makes it less prone to abuse because snorting it may produce less of a high compared to other ADHD medications.

The comparison between Adderall vs Vyvanse is not so simple. As a result, it is best to work with your doctor to discover what ultimately works best for you. Over time, you will discover Vyvanse vs Adderall is better for you.

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