Is Vyvanse (Dimesylate) for ADHD a Controlled Substance?

Is Vyvanse (Dimesylate) for ADHD a Controlled Substance?

Written by :

Arooj Anjum

Arooj Anjum

Biomedical Engineer


Vyvanse is one of the prescription drugs used for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD and binge eating disorder BED. Studies suggest that almost 8.1% of adults in the U.S. Are/will be diagnosed with ADHD, and almost 30 million Americans are living with BED or other eating disorders. With such high statistics, Vyvanse is surely a game-changer for these people. However, the question remains, ‘is Vyvanse a controlled substance?’ Yes, it is! This blog will cover all the aspects of Vyvanse and why it is classified as a controlled substance.


Vyvanse contains the active ingredient lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, which converts into dextroamphetamine, which then targets the CNS, enhancing focus and reducing impulsivity in people with ADHD. Confused? Don’t be! We will read more about the mechanism of action, but before that, do you want to talk 1:1 with a mental health doctor without visiting them? Contact Therapy Fleet and discuss your concerns and questions with an expert and get an immediate prescription for anxiety and depression. 

Is Vyvanse a Controlled Substance?


Yes, Vyvanse is a controlled drug. Therefore, take the medicine as directed by the healthcare professional. Vyvanse addiction is common. 

Why is Vyvanse Classified Schedule II drug?


The Federal US Controlled Substance classifies drugs between (I-V) schedules. The classification depends on its potential for misuse, abuse, safety, and accepted medical applications.


The FDA thus classified Vyvanse as a controlled substance, and it comes under Schedule  II by the DEA. 

  1. According to the DEA, Vyvanse has a high potential for abuse.
  2. It is currently used in various treatments in the US and/or for medical use with restrictions.
  3. Vyvanse medication can cause serious physical & psychological dependence.

Therefore, it can only be purchased with a valid doctor’s prescription. Vyvanse is used in adults and children between 6 to 17 years for ADHD and BED in adults only. Vyvanse belongs to the same class as methylphenidate.

Is Vyvanse an opioid?


No, Vyvanse is not a narcotic, but yes, Vyvanse is a controlled substance and can lead to addiction and misuse. Vyvanse is an FDA-approved CNS stimulant used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD and binge eating disorder BED.


As for opioids, they belong to a class of drugs used for treating moderate to severe level pain. Some common C-II prescription opioids available in the States are;

  • Oxycontin
  • Morphine
  • Hysingla ER
  • And, Xtampza ER

Overdosing on Vyvanse is common. If you or a loved one are on Vyvanse and you think they might have overdosed themselves, please call 911 on priority or take them to the medical emergency. Overdosing can be fatal.

Vyvanse Mechanism of Action


Vyvanse belongs to a stimulant drug. The exact mechanism of Vyvanse’s action remains a mystery. However, it does raise dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine levels in the brain. These chemicals increase focus and help with appetite control, thus reducing the urge to keep eating. Dopamine and norepinephrine help control our thinking capacity, emotions, appetite, and self-control.


With the correct drug administration, Vyvanse helps with keeping appetite in control and reduces impulsivity and hyperactivity in individuals with BED and ADHD. This is possible because these neurotransmitters improve communication in the underactive nerve cells. Vyvanse works fast. Therefore, the results are visible quickly. Although Vyvanse is a controlled substance, it is still the first line of treatment from healthcare providers because the results show it is an effective treatment for ADHD.

How Much Time Does Vyvanse Take to Start Showing Effect?


The effect comes along within 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours of drug administration. The effects last for 14-hours top. Some people notice effects earlier than that. The maximum benefit reaches in about 2 to 3 weeks. The extended-release capsule is more effective than the chewable tablets and must only be taken once/day.

Why is the Timeline for Vyvanse different for All?


The answer to that is simple. Because our bodies react differently and process all medication differently. Vyvanse is a prodrug of dextroamphetamine. This means it only becomes active after metabolism. When lisdexamfetamine circulates in our bloodstream, it converts into dextroamphetamine. This, in turn, increases the levels of norepinephrine & dopamine in the body.


As Vyvanse is a controlled substance, you cannot alter its dose on your own for faster results. The results are visible after a few weeks, but the exact period depends on the patient’s metabolism and how well their body responds to the drug.

Common Signs of Vyvanse Overdose


Medical uses of Vyvanse include ADHD and BED treatment. The doctor will adjust your dose depending on the patient’s medical condition. However, one of the potential risks of Vyvanse is overdosing, especially if there’s a family history of drug abuse.

  • Blurred vision
  • agitation, restlessness, panic
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Blood pressure fluctuations
  • Rapid breathing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Coma 
  • Seizures

Risks and Warnings for Vyvanse 


Vyvanse can lead to health complications. This is especially true for the following groups mentioned below. If you are concerned about the medicine’s safety, consult your healthcare provider before you start using the drug.

Dependency & Misuse


If you have a history of substance abuse or alcohol abuse, then the chances of Vyvanse’s misuse are higher. Also, if you abruptly stop taking Vyvanse, then chances of misuse increase because, like all controlled drugs, Vyvanse needs to be tampered with.


Vyvanse has a high potential for dependence and misuse. The latter means when the drug is not used as the doctor directs. Remember, as a controlled substance, Vyvanse misuse can increase your chances of health complications like high blood pressure, high heart rate, thoughts of hurting others/yourself, and aggressive behavior.


Vyvanse can also lead to physical dependence. Dependency is usually a sign of withdrawal symptoms; you are likely to feel depressed, your thinking might become slow, and you will end up feeling uneasy if you suddenly stop taking Vyvanse or/and have used the drug for long periods. Therefore, use Vyvanse as you are directed. Never alter the dose on your own.

Severe Heart Problems


This is especially true if you have a history of heart problems or heart disease. Some reports suggest sudden death, heart attack, and stroke in individuals who used Vyvanse, even at the recommended dosage. Lisdexamfetamine raises your blood pressure and heart rate.


Therefore, discussing your previous and current health status with the prescribing doctor is always recommended to avoid unwanted health issues. If you experience chest pain and unexplained dizziness after taking the medicine and feel abnormal, please check in with your doctor immediately.

Change in Thought Patterns & Behavior


People with a history of bipolar disorder, psychotic episodes, and/or any other mental health conditions are at risk. Studies suggest some people develop mental health problems like hallucinations and mania after using Vyvanse. Using this medicine with a history of these conditions only worsened the problem. 


If you or a loved one is taking Vyvanse for ADHD or BED, please keep their mood and behavior changes in check. If you notice something unusual, report your doctor right away.

Slow Growth in Children


Studies suggest that children using Vyvanse develop weight loss and a slow growth rate. Children between the ages of 6 and 12 are more susceptible. If you notice any delay in your child’s growth pattern or notice unwanted and unexplained weight loss, talk to the child’s doctor immediately. The doctor will assess the patient’s current health status and continue with a different medicine or a lower dose of Vyvanse.

Raynaud’s Phenomenon or Problems with Blood Circulation


Using Vynase can reduce the flow of blood to your toes and fingers. This phenomenon is called Raynaud’s disease. This, in turn, leads to changes in the color of the fingers and toes. They will likely turn pale, blue to red, and feel cold to touch, with a numb, painful feeling. The symptoms are usually mild and rare. However, in rare cases, Raynaud leads to sores and damages the tissues. 


If you notice these symptoms, discuss them with your doctor immediately. The symptoms usually resolve with a lower dose of Vyvanse or by changing the medicine.

Serotonin Syndrome


If you use monoamine oxidase or MAOI inhibitors, stop the medicine 14 days before starting with Vyvanse. Serotonin syndrome is not common but is life-threatening. Too much serotonin levels in the brain are dangerous.

Vyvanse- How Long Does it Stay in Our System?


The maximum time Vyvanse stays in our body is 10 to 12 hours. After that, the concentration of Vyvanse starts to wear off. Keeping that in mind, expect around 2 to 3 days for the drug to clear from your body. However, the exact time depends on your dose, weight, age, kidney function, and other medicines you use regularly.


The half-life of Vyvanse is 12 hours. This means it takes 12 hours for the active drug to reach its half.

Peak Time of Vyvanse


Once you take Vyvanse, the medicine takes around 3.5 hours to reach its peak time. This means that the levels of active Vyvanse will increase slowly until 3.5 hours are reached. At about this time, you will notice the maximum levels of Vyvanse in your body.


For the extended-release capsule, the peak time is 3.5 hours on an empty stomach and 4.4 hours for the tablet taken on an empty stomach. If you take Vyvanse with food, the peak hour is longer than normal.

Does Vyvanse Stay in Urine?


It does and gets removed in about 2 to 3 days after you take your last dose. Urine is the only way Vyvanse gets removed from your body.

Dosage & Timing of Vyvanse


Vyvanse was first introduced as a capsule back in 2008. In 2017, the chewable tablets came in. Both are available in 10mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 50mg, & 60mg, however, the capsule in 70mg is also available.


Vyvanse Form Starting Dose Maintenance Dose Maximum Limit
Chewable Tablets 30mg/day (once) Depends on the conditions 60mg/day (once)
Capsules 30mg/day (once) depends 70mg/day (once)


Both these forms are delayed-release forms. This means the body only converts and activates the medicine as it enters the bloodstream. It takes about an hour, but maybe 2 to 3 for peak time.


Vyyvanse only comes as an extended-release capsule. The drug is slowly released into your body throughout the day.

Normal Vyvanse Dosage


Your healthcare provider will initially prescribe the lowest dose, 30mg once daily. Then, after some time, they will prescribe you the maintenance dose, and finally, the final dose will depend on the condition and what dosage suits you well.


Before starting the drug, your doctor will likely discuss the right dose with you. The lowest dose during the initial days ensures minimal side effects. Make sure you use Vyvanse as prescribed by the doctor. Do not alter or increase the dose yourself.

Vyvanse Dosage for BED


Vyvanse is approved by the FDA for treating moderate-severe BED in adults only. BED stands for binge eating disorder, where the individual does not have control over their eating habits. It involves continuous episodes of eating again and again. Other mental health issues like depression and anxiety accompany BED.


People with BED overeat in response to emotional turmoil. Some symptoms of BED are;

  • Excessively eating without stopping
  • Eating even when you don’t feel hungry
  • Eating secretly
  • Unable to stop during a binge episode
  • And feeling ashamed and guilty 

Unlike Anorexia, individuals with binge eating disorder won’t reverse these episodes by using laxatives, fasting, or vomiting. Moderate BED is when you have 4 to 7 episodes of overeating/week, and it’s serious when you binge eat 8 to 13 times/week.


When you start taking Vyvanse, the number of BED episodes gradually reduces. However, your healthcare professional will get you connected with a psychotherapist. Vyvanse, along with psychotherapy, helps you control your emotions, thoughts, and excessive behaviors of unwanted eating.


Note-  One of the most common side effects of Vyvanse is loss of appetite, which can lead to weight loss. If you notice unexplained weight loss, discuss it with your doctor.


Effectiveness of Vyvanse for BED


Clinical trials were conducted, which showed that Vyvanse was effective in reducing episodes of moderate to severe binge eating.


The study was conducted for 12 weeks, during which the individuals were given Vyvanse as a placebo. After 12 weeks, the following results were seen.

  • Individuals on Vyvanse had an average of 3.87 to 3.92 fewer binge eating days/week.
  • On placebo, individuals had an average of 2.26 to 2.51 fewer eating episodes/week.

Another clinical trial was done with adults, again for 12 weeks. People responding to the medicine for 4 weeks were divided into 2 groups.


The first group was given Vyvanse for 26 weeks more. The second group was then switched to a placebo for 26 weeks. At the end of the 26th week, the results were to assess the percentage of people who had a relapse. People who continued with Vyvanse were less on the verge of a relapse.


The initial dose of Vyvanse for BED is 30mg/day. It then increases weekly by 20mg until the final dose is 50 to 70mg. The final dose will depend on the individual’s response.

Vyvanse Dose for ADHD


Vyvanse has FDA approval to treat ADHD in adults and children > 6 years of age. As we know, Vyvanse is a stimulating drug that helps individuals with ADHD to concentrate and control their behavior. Vyvanse shows better results when combined with behavioral therapy.


About 3.3 million children between 12 to 17 years are diagnosed with ADHD in the USA. It is most common in children but can last later in adulthood.

Symptoms of ADHD 

  1. Hyperactivity- hyperactive individuals cannot stay still, relaxed, and calm for longer. They will be constantly on the move, talk non-stop, or keep fidgeting.
  2. Impulsivity- these individuals act before thinking, getting themselves in awkward and dangerous situations. Impulsive people do not think about the result of their actions.
  3. Inattention- Inattentive individuals cannot concentrate or pay attention to things or someone talking. This behavior will end up making careless mistakes because they are easily distracted. These symptoms make it harder for individuals with ADHD to make friends and retain relationships.

Effectiveness of Vyvanse for ADHD

Several clinical trials were conducted, and all showed that Vyvanse was effective in treating symptoms of ADHD.


In one study, Vyvanse was compared with a placebo with people of different age brackets. The results were measured using the ADHD Rating Scale. The minimum score was 0, and the maximum was 54. High scores meant more serious ADHD symptoms,


The trial continued for 4-weeks, and the average score was;

  1. Between 18.3 and 26.7 in children between 6 to 17 years of age who were given Vyanse
  2. Between 16.2-18.6 in adults who were given Vyvanse
  3. Between 6.2-12.8 in children between 6 to 17 years of age who were given a placebo, and
  4. Around 8.2 in adults on placebo

In the initial days of the treatment plan, 30mg of Vyvanse is given/per day. Then, it increases by either 10 mg to 20mg weekly until the maximum dose of Vyvanse for ADHD reaches and the symptoms become manageable.

Vyvanse Dose for Children


Doctors prescribe Vyvanse to children (with ADHD ) > 6 years of age. Vyvanse is not given to children with BED. If your children start taking Vyvanse, the initial dose will likely be 30mg. The doctor will then monitor the child’s progress and response to the drug. Then, gradually, the dose increases by 10mg to 20mg/week.


This continues until the dose is between 30mg to 70mg frame. However, the precise dosage depends on many factors;

  • The overall health of the child
  • Seriousness of ADHD
  • And a list of other medications.
  • Plus, the response to the drug itself

Should I Lock Vyvanse?


Yes, it is always better to be safe than sorry later. Because Vyvanse is a controlled substance and can lead to drug abuse, misuse, dependency, and addiction, it should be kept in a safe place, preferably a locked cabinet, at 68°F to 77°F / 20°C to 25°C away from sunlight.


Do not sell or refer Vyvanse to anyone else, even if they have the same health conditions and symptoms. It is against the law to do that.


If you stop the medicine, dispose of the unused medicine immediately. Talk to your nearest pharma and ask how to dispose of controlled substances safely.

Bottom Line


In conclusion, yes, Vyvanse is a Schedule II controlled substance under the Federal Law. It is not a narcotic but still has a higher potential for abuse, misuse, and dependency. Always store the medicine in a safe and locked cabinet. Selling Vyvanse without authority is against the law. Do not buy Vyvanse without a prescription. 


If you suffer from binge eating or ADHD, contact your healthcare provider. They will assess your current health conditions and can prescribe the right dosage of Vyvanse for you. Only they can set the right treatment options for you.


Medical Disclaimer:


At TherapyFleet, we strive to enhance the quality of life for those dealing with mental health issues. Our licensed medical professionals meticulously research, edit, and review all content before publication. Nonetheless, this information should not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For medical guidance, please consult your physician or reach out to TherapyFleet’s qualified staff.


Finding effective treatments like Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate) for conditions like ADHD can contribute to a happier and more fulfilling life by improving focus and overall well-being.



Is Vyvanse a strong medicine?


Yes, it is a powerful amphetamine drug, classified as a controlled substance by the DEA. If your doctor prescribed you Vyvanse, use it according to the doctor’s direction.

Is Vynase stronger than Adderall for ADHD?


It depends. Both are Schedule II controlled substances, but Vyvanse has fewer side effects. Thus, someone with sleep problems, anxiety, and appetite loss is likely to be given Vyvanse instead. 

Why is Vyvanse a controlled substance?


Controlled substances have a higher potential for misuse, dependency, and addiction risks. Although not a narcotic, it still can be abused. It belongs to CNS stimulanting drug because of its potential to feel euphoric.

Does Vyvanse show a longer-lasting effect?


Yes, Vyvanse is a long-acting drug that is available to take once a day, preferably in the morning. Adderall and Vyvanse are both CNS stimulant medications. Therefore, they both have similar side effects. 

Is generic for Vyvanse available?


As of 2023, only the Vyvanse brand name was available in the markets. Takeda Pharmaceuticals was the only company making Vyvanse. However, now, different companies are making generic Vyvanse including;

  • Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals
  • Hikma Pharmaceuticals
  • Amneal Pharmaceuticals
  • Mylan

My child has ADHD, and the doctor prescribed Vyvanse. Is it safe for him?


Yes, Vyvanse is one of the most common FDA-approved ADHD medications used in children over the age of 6. However, the side effects are similar to that of the adults. Although Vyvanse is a controlled substance, children are not at risk of dependency and substance use disorder.

Can I use Vyvanse for weight loss?


No, do not use Vyvanse for weight loss treatment or obesity. It is approved for BED and ADHD in adults and ADHD in children only. Note that Vyvanse can cause dependency; do not use it for longer periods or switch to higher doses without prior consultation. Use the medicine as directed by the health care providers.


Prioritize your mental well-being

Consult a healthcare professional online and receive a treatment plan tailored to your needs.