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Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant sold under the brand name Vyvanse that affects certain chemicals in the brain and nerves that help with hyperactivity and impulse control. Researchers believe that this medication works by altering the balance of chemicals in the brain and increasing norepinephrine and dopamine levels. While norepinephrine is a stimulant, dopamine is a naturally occurring substance that affects pleasure and reward. By strengthening these substances, individuals can better control their behavior..

 

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Many patients report that they feel Vyvanse working within the first few days of beginning treatment. However, it usually takes several weeks before the full effect of this medication can be seen. Because it is a long-acting stimulant, patients should begin this medicinal regime slowly and titrate the dosage to a maximum of 70 mg/day. Adjustments to the dosage are often made to get the desired results and to prevent or lessen any unwanted side effects. 

 

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What is Vyvanse Prescribed for?

Since 2007 Vyvanse has been FDA approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in both adults and children who are at least six years old. In 2015, the FDA expanded the approved treatment to include adults diagnosed with moderate to severe binge eating disorder.  

 

Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine)
Vyvanse treatment

 

ADHD is a condition that affects millions of Americans every day. It is a brain disorder that causes inattention or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or the development of individuals. While not life-threatening, the educational and emotional goals, as well as an individual’s ability to assimilate into society, are severely hampered by such a complex and often misunderstood disorder. ADHD can have several symptoms including those that cause severe emotional outbursts or those that only affect the person’s capacity to concentrate.  School-age children are the most diagnosed population in the US due to the obvious consequences of hyperactivity in a school setting. Although many patients are diagnosed during adolescence, there are high functioning individuals who can cope with or mask their symptoms well into adulthood before requiring any intervention.

Binge eating disorder (BED) is believed to be the most common eating disorder in America. It affects around 2% of the American population (approximately 4 million people). Unlike ADHD, this disorder is a severe and life-threatening condition. BED is characterized by chronic and excessive eating that goes beyond the occasional overindulgence. During binge episodes, individuals feel a loss of control and the inability to stop eating. Unlike those who have Anorexia, individuals who suffer from BED do not purge after an episode, but they do tend to have a strong emotional response such as feeling intense guilt or shame. It is not uncommon for these individuals to then begin the rollercoaster cycle of dieting and bingeing further wreaking havoc on the delicate systems of their bodies. 

BED can create other health issues that are most commonly associated with clinical obesity, weight stigma, and yo-yo dieting. While not all individuals who are diagnosed with clinical obesity have BED, approximately two-thirds of those diagnosed with obesity do have the disorder. BED should not be thought of as a disorder that only affects people who are overweight; individuals of any weight can be diagnosed with BED.

Unfortunately, the exact cause of ADHD and binge eating are unknown, but many factors are thought to contribute to their development including heredity and chemical imbalances. As researchers continue to work towards better and more effective treatment, they hope to one day discover the root cause. 

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What are the side effects of Vyvanse?

All medications can have complications; Vyvanse is no exception. As a stimulant, it can increase the heart rate and cause jitteriness as well as dry mouth and nausea.

 

Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine)
Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) Side Effects

 

Listed below are the most common side effects seen with this medication.

  • Anxiety
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Upper stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss 
  • Increased heart rate
  • Constipation
  • Feeling jittery

Vyvanse is a stimulant medication that is highly regulated by the FDA. Individuals should discuss with their doctor if they have ever abused or been dependent on alcohol, prescription medication or even illegal street drugs. Although rare, individuals can have more severe complications such as addiction. Individuals and parents of Vyvanse users should discuss the patient’s history at length before beginning treatment and at any time while using it if unusual reactions occur.

How to ask your doctor for Vyvanse?

Many impulse or hyperactivity control medications can become less effective over time. Often adjustments must be made to the dosing regimen to ensure that the best results are achieved. Regardless of the drug, the best time to discuss concerns are anytime you may have them. An open and honest dialogue with your health care team is the best way to ensure you are getting the relief you deserve from these and other chronic conditions. 

If you are currently on another medication for ADHD and feel that it is not working as effectively as you’d like, schedule an appointment with your provider, Vyvanse is an effective medication when used as prescribed, but it isn’t for everyone. Individuals who have a history of dependency should use caution if prescribed Vyvanse. Those who have a history of heart disease or any psychiatric disorders may want to avoid this treatment. 

Although several internet sites claim to be able to provide Vyvanse without a prescription, these claims are not valid. Vyvanse like all medications of this type are strictly regulated by the FDA, and a doctor’s prescription is necessary to purchase it legally. 

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Conclusions

Despite the side effects, Vyvanse has countless benefits. It can control impulsive behavior while increasing focus and alertness in individuals who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Although it should not be used for obesity or weight loss, it can effectively treat moderate to severe binge eating disorder in adults. Vyvanse may help these individuals to binge less often and when used in conjunction with additional psychological and emotional therapy help them on the road to recovery. 

Unfortunately, as with any amphetamine, Vyvanse can produce feelings of euphoria or intense happiness if taken in large doses. Individuals who are prone to substance abuse should use caution before beginning this or any treatment of its kind. There has never been a better time for being prescribed medication that can change your life for the better.

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