Vyvanse vs Adderall: Which is Superior?

There are a couple of key differences between Vyvanse vs Adderall. These differences are important because they’ll inform your choice of ADHD medication.

Being on the right stimulant at the appropriate dose takes a lot of guesswork on the part of your psychiatrist. Unfortunately, until personalized medicine and genotyping becomes more commonplace, there’s no easy way to tell what medication an individual with ADHD will respond to.

In this guide, I’m going to break down the differences between Vyvanse vs Adderall so that you can better compare their merits and demerits.

  • Instant release Adderall is short-acting (6h), Vyvanse is long acting (12h)
  • Adderall contains both dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine, Vyvanse contains just dextroamphetamine
  • Vyvanse releases dextroamphetamine at a constant rate throughout the day, whereas the amphetamine salts in Adderall enter the blood stream quickly
  • Adderall’s cardiovascular side effects (hypertension, elevated heart rate), are more pronounced than Vyvanse
  • Vyvanse is still under patent and therefore more expensive
  • Some individuals with ADHD find Adderall more effective at controlling their symptoms
  • Adderall has more abuse potential because it’s instant release

I personally prefer Vyvanse because the onset of effects are smoother and I feel less like I’m being affected by a drug. Others prefer Adderall for many reasons. For example, Adderall gives you more control over the dosage and duration of effects. A comprehensive analysis comparing Adderall and Vyvanse is available here.