Frequently asked questions

View Frequently Asked Questions About ADHD and Vyvanse® for Adults

Patient portrayal

Only a trained healthcare provider can diagnose Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). But what else is there to know?

Understanding ADHD in Adults and Vyvanse® for ADHD in Adults

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a treatable medical disorder characterized by symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention, and/or impulsivity that are experienced repeatedly and in a way that is severe enough to have an impact at home, at school, and in social situations. Only a trained healthcare provider can diagnose ADHD. Learn more about ADHD.

What is adult ADHD?

Some people may say “adult ADHD,” but the correct term is “ADHD in adults” or “adults with ADHD.” ADHD symptoms may appear differently in adulthood. For example, symptoms of hyperactivity in children such as climbing or running excessively may appear as a feeling of restlessness in adults. Learn more about ADHD symptoms in adults.

How is ADHD diagnosed in adults?

Only a doctor or a healthcare provider can diagnose ADHD. Your medical history will be taken into consideration during a complete evaluation. Interested in learning about the official criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD in adults? Explore more on diagnosing ADHD in adults.

How do I know if I have ADHD and not something else?

Only a trained healthcare provider can accurately diagnose ADHD. If you are concerned you may have ADHD, make an appointment with your doctor. Prepare for the appointment with our Discussion Guide.

What causes ADHD in adults?

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but researchers believe it may be linked to an imbalance in chemical messengers that affect the brain.

Does ADHD go away in adulthood?

ADHD can be a lifelong condition, but symptoms may appear differently as you age. For instance, symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity in children may look like trouble staying seated and blurting out answers in school. In an adult, symptoms of hyperactivity may become less obvious but difficulties with restlessness, poor planning, and impulsivity may persist. Learn more about ADHD in adults.

Is there a cure for ADHD?

Medications do not cure ADHD. Rather, they may help patients with ADHD control the hyperactive/impulsive and inattentive symptoms of ADHD. Medicine may not be right for everyone and may be used as part of a total treatment plan for ADHD that may include counseling and other therapies. Learn more about Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) for adults with ADHD.

What should I know about ADHD treatment options?

There are several treatment options available for ADHD. Talk with your doctor to see if Vyvanse is right for you. Medicine may not be right for everyone and if prescribed may be used as part of a total treatment plan for ADHD that may include counseling and other therapies. Learn more about Vyvanse, a treatment option for ADHD.

How can I prepare for my doctor’s appointment?

Try writing down your questions ahead of time and consider filling out a discussion guide.

What help may be available for me in college?

If you’re a student and you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, certain accommodations may be available. Services vary widely from college to college, but you can find out what’s available at your school by visiting the department that works with students with disabilities. They can help you and find out the steps you will need to take in order to take advantage of the services. For instance, you might need to provide a copy of the evaluation from your doctor and, if necessary, a copy of your 504 Plan or IEP or a Summary of Performance from your high school.

Beyond what your school offers, you may want to consider hiring an ADHD coach. A coach may assist you in developing time management skills and help keep you on track toward your goals. In the meantime, check out these ideas for managing college life.

What does an ADHD coach do and where can I look for one?

ADHD coaches are trained in specific techniques to help people with ADHD set goals for creating new behavior patterns. Coaches may charge a fee or provide fee-based services to help with practical issues like getting organized and managing time. Ask your doctor for help finding an ADHD coach. You can also visit one of these ADHD coaching sites for more information:

Where can I connect with other people who have ADHD?

ADHD groups can be great for additional support and to help answer any questions you might have. Ask your doctor for information about support groups for adults with ADHD, or contact an ADHD support group and advocacy organization to see what services they may have available. Here are some to check out:

What is Vyvanse?

Vyvanse (pronounced Vi’-văns) is a once-daily prescription medication approved for the treatment of ADHD in patients 6 and above. Vyvanse is not for weight loss. It is not known if Vyvanse is safe and effective for the treatment of obesity. Vyvanse may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in adults with ADHD.

Your doctor may prescribe Vyvanse as part of a total treatment program that may include counseling or other therapies.

Who should not take Vyvanse?

Do not take Vyvanse if you are taking or have taken within the past 14 days an anti-depression medicine called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, or MAOI, or are sensitive to, allergic to, or had a reaction to other stimulant medications.

For more information, talk to your doctor and keep learning as much as you can about ADHD and how Vyvanse may help.

Can I ask my doctor for Vyvanse?

Every patient's experience with ADHD is different and their responses to treatment might also be different. There is a lot to consider before taking any medication. Vyvanse may not be right for every patient. Have an open and honest conversation with your doctor about how your ADHD symptoms are impacting your world and your doctor will decide whether Vyvanse is an option for you based on your entire medical history.

Is Vyvanse addictive?

As with any medication, proper use is important. Vyvanse is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Keep Vyvanse in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. Selling or giving away Vyvanse may harm others and is against the law. Talk to your doctor and read the safety information continued below and download our Proper Use of Prescription Stimulant Medication brochure for more information.

What are side effects of Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate)?

Vyvanse may cause serious cardiovascular, mental (psychiatric), and circulatory side effects. Vyvanse may also cause the slowing of growth (height and weight) in children. The most common side effects of Vyvanse include anxiety, decreased appetite, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, irritability, loss of appetite, nausea, trouble sleeping, upper stomach pain, vomiting, and weight loss. These are not all the possible side effects of Vyvanse.

It is important to see your doctor regularly to discuss how you are doing on a treatment plan and to report any side effects, discomfort, or concerns you have while taking medicine. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist and see Important Safety Information.

What is the recommended Vyvanse dosage?

Your doctor will work with you to find the dosage that works best—increasing it if your symptoms aren’t well controlled or decreasing it if you experience side effects. You should take Vyvanse once a day in the morning. The doctor may sometimes stop treatment to see if Vyvanse is still right for you.

Vyvanse capsules should be swallowed whole—and taken with or without food. If you have trouble swallowing capsules, open the Vyvanse capsule and mix all the powder into yogurt, water, or orange juice and consume it right away. Vyvanse chewable tablets must be completely chewed before swallowing.

It’s important to take Vyvanse exactly how your doctor tells you to take it. And it's also important to keep talking to your doctor about your progress on Vyvanse. If you take too much Vyvanse, call your doctor or poison control center right away, or get to the nearest hospital emergency room. See more information on dosing and administration.

Why is the doctor changing the dosage of my ADHD medicine?

The doctor may adjust the dosage of your medication. It may require time to determine which dose of medication is right for you. It's important that you take Vyvanse exactly as the doctor tells you to take it. Keep learning about dosing and administration.

How soon does Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) start working and how long does it last?

In an adult clinical trial, Vyvanse was shown to start working 2 hours and 14 hours after taking the medication.* Everyone is different, so it may take some time for the doctor to find the right dose for you. The onset and duration of Vyvanse in adolescents have not been studied. However, in a clinical trial of children aged 6-12, Vyvanse was shown to start working 1.5 hours after taking the medication.

Vyvanse is not for weight loss. It is not known if Vyvanse is safe and effective for the treatment of obesity.

Please talk to your doctor if you have any questions about Vyvanse.

*Based on the Permanent Product Measure of Performance (PERMP), a skill-adjusted test that measures attention in ADHD. 

Based on Swanson, Kotkin, Agler, M. Flynn, and Pelham Deportment Scores (SKAMP-DS).

Can Vyvanse be stopped on weekends or for “drug holidays”?

Your doctor or healthcare provider can determine the best course of treatment for you. Take Vyvanse exactly as prescribed and talk to your doctor before stopping or changing the dose of your medication.

How should Vyvanse treatment be discontinued?

Only the doctor can determine the proper course of treatment for you, including when to start or whether to stop Vyvanse. Make sure you talk with your doctor before stopping or changing the dose of your medication. Your doctor may sometimes stop Vyvanse treatment for a while to check your ADHD symptoms.

What information should I tell my doctor before starting Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate)?

Before starting Vyvanse and during treatment, tell your doctor about all health conditions (or family history of) including:

  • Any previous or current abuse or dependency on alcohol, prescription medicine, or street drugs
  • Heart problems, heart defects, or high blood pressure
  • Mental problems, including psychosis, mania, bipolar illness, or depression
  • Circulation problems in fingers and toes
  • If you have any kidney problems. Your doctor may lower the dose
  • If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant or breastfeed, and about any medications (prescription or non-prescription) that you are taking
  • And any other information you think might be important for your doctor to know about you or your family health situation
Next up?

If you’re an adult with ADHD, you’re not alone. Here’s some information, advice and support.

Want info about Vyvanse for ADHD in children (ages 6-17)?

Right this way