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  • Vyvanse Alternatives | Stimulant, Non-Stimulant, & Natural Alternatives

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    Vyvanse Alternatives | Stimulant, Non-Stimulant, & Natural Alternatives

    Prescription stimulants, like the brand name medication Vyvanse, allow healthcare providers to effectively manage ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), narcolepsy, and some other conditions in children, adolescents, and adults.

    However, there are a variety of alternative treatment options besides Vyvanse if this specific medication is not suitable for you.

    Prescription Stimulant Alternatives To Vyvanse

    Other FDA-approved central nervous system stimulants used to treat the symptoms of ADHD (but not binge eating disorder) include:

    • mixed amphetamine salts (dextroamphetamine/amphetamine), used in Adderall, Adderall XR, and Mydayis extended-release tablets
    • methylphenidate, used in Daytrana, Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Ritalin LA, Concerta, and Methylin
    • amphetamine, used in Evekeo and Adzenys XR-ODT
    • dextroamphetamine, used in Dexedrine and Dexedrine Spansule
    • dexmethylphenidate, used in Focalin and Focalin XR
    • methamphetamine, used in Desoxyn

    Note that these drugs include immediate release, controlled-release, and extended-release formulations that may be short-acting, intermediate-acting, or long-acting.

    Non-Stimulant Prescription Alternatives To Vyvanse

    Nonstimulant therapy for ADHD is typically less effective than stimulant therapy, but the use of alternative types of medications is an option for those who do not respond well to stimulant drugs, or who need to add to the effectiveness of their stimulant medications.

    Available non-stimulant prescription drugs approved to treat ADHD include:

    Intuniv (Guanfacine Extended-Release)

    Guanfacine is a central alpha 2A-adrenergic receptor agonist. It is not a controlled substance but is only approved for use in children and adolescents ages 6-17. It can be taken alone or paired with stimulant medications.

    While the exact manner in which guanfacine improves ADHD symptoms is not fully understood, the drug has been shown to improve working memory, distractibility, and impulse control when taken by juveniles with ADHD.

    Kapvay (Clonidine Extended-Release)

    Similarly, the alpha 2A-adrenergic agonist clonidine can also be used to improve symptoms of ADHD in some patients over age 6, either alone or in combination with stimulant therapy.

    Clonidine is thought to be more sedating to guanfacine and may help reduce sleep disturbances or insomnia experienced by ADHD patients.

    Strattera (Atomoxetine)

    Strattera was the first nonstimulant medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of ADHD and works as a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. 

    This means that it increases the amount of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine present in the brain, reducing ADHD symptoms. Approved for patients aged 6 and older, it is not considered to be a controlled substance.

    However, the FDA warns that Strattera use may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts in children or adolescents with ADHD.

    Qelbree (Viloxazine)

    Like Strattera, Qelbree boosts the level of norepinephrine in the brain and is not considered a controlled substance. It was recently approved for the treatment of ADHD in those aged 6 and older, and comes in an extended-release formulation.

    Wellbutrin (Bupropion)

    Bupropion is an atypical antidepressant that acts as norepinephrine–dopamine reuptake inhibitor. It is primarily used to treat major depressive disorder, but is also used off-label to treat ADHD, either alone or with stimulant drugs.

    Natural Alternatives To Vyvanse

    While a number of different supplements have been suggested as ADHD treatments, they are unproven or have been fully disproven using scientific experimentation.

    Natural management or treatment options for ADHD that come highly recommended by healthcare providers include: 

    • proper nutrition
    • exercise
    • yoga
    • meditation
    • counseling
    • elimination of caffeine
    • ample high-quality sleep
    • lifestyle coaching
    • ADHD-specific forms of cognitive behavioral therapy

    About Vyvanse

    Vyvanse is a Schedule II controlled substance that comes as either an oral capsule or a chewable tablet. No generic form of Vyvanse is currently available.

    Unlike other ADHD medications, the active ingredient in Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) does not take effect as soon as it is introduced into the body. Instead, it must first be metabolized by the body to form dextroamphetamine, an active stimulant drug.

    Vyvanse Side-Effects

    Common side effects associated with Vyvanse may include:

    • anxiety
    • diarrhea
    • dizziness
    • dry mouth
    • insomnia
    • irritability
    • nausea
    • reduced appetite and weight loss
    • stomach pain

    Certain rare but serious side-effects or adverse reactions, including cardiac arrest, stroke, high blood pressure, seizures, allergic reaction, and circulation issues may also occur.

    Treating Stimulant Medication Abuse

    ADHD medications are some of the most widely abused prescription medications in the United States, and their diversion and misuse can cause serious long-term harm including drug addiction.

    If you or a loved one struggle with prescription drug abuse, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Article Sources

    Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) - ADHD Meds Approved
    Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) - ADHD Quick Facts Complementary Interventions for ADHD
    Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Dealing with ADHD: What You Need to Know
    Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - VYVANSE® (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) capsules, for oral use, CII, HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION

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