Vyvanse is FDA-approved to treat children and adults with ADHD as well as adult binge eating disorder. Off-label prescriptions may be given to treat depression, schizophrenia, excessive daytime sleepiness and — although the FDA clearly states that Vyvanse should not be used as a weight-loss drug — weight loss. Vyvanse is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that shares an active component, dextroamphetamine, with Adderall. Like other prescription stimulants, Vyvanse is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse. Regular use of Vyvanse, even as directed, quickly causes tolerance and dependence.
What is Vyvanse Withdrawal?
Withdrawal is a state where uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms occur as a result of reducing or stopping Vyvanse use and is a consequence of dependence. Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms include cravings, anxiety and an inability to focus. There are ways to mitigate withdrawal symptom severity, most notably by tapering the dose over time. This is best done under the direction of a medical professional who can help you determine the most appropriate tapering schedule.
How Long Does Vyvanse Stay in Your System?
The half-life of Vyvanse is approximately one hour, so it will be out of your system within about five hours. However, Vyvanse has an active component, dextroamphetamine, that has a half-life of 12 hours and will remain in your system for around 60 hours. Because Vyvanse was designed as a pro-drug that is slowly converted into its active form (dextroamphetamine), the concentration of dextroamphetamine in the bloodstream goes up a bit more gradually than it would if someone took a drug that delivered dextroamphetamine directly (e.g., fast-acting Adderall). This may result in a slightly longer amount of time that dextroamphetamine could be detected.
The Vyvanse “crash” is a common set of symptoms that occur when the drug begins to wear off. It is generally recommended that Vyvanse be taken in the morning so, for most people, Vyvanse wears off around midday, resulting in feelings of fatigue, irritability and craving for more. This crash is one reason why stimulants (including Vyvanse) are so commonly misused.
Vyvanse Withdrawal Symptoms
Vyvanse withdrawal occurs when someone who has developed a dependence on Vyvanse reduces or quits taking the drug altogether. Generally, symptom severity and persistence correlates with the length of time Vyvanse was used and amount taken. Withdrawal symptoms can be attenuated or, in some cases of mild Vyvanse use disorders, avoided completely by consulting with a medical professional who can provide a prescription for a tapered dose schedule.
Some physical symptoms of Vyvanse withdrawal include:
- Extreme Fatigue
- Shaking or trembling
- Increased Appetite
Some psychological symptoms of Vyvanse withdrawal include:
- Inability to concentrate
- Disrupted sleep or strange dreams
- Overall lack of interest and enjoyment
Vyvanse Withdrawal Timeline
The timeline for Vyvanse withdrawal generally depends on how long someone used the drug for and how much they took. Withdrawal often has two components, acute and post-acute. For Vyvanse, acute withdrawal symptoms generally subside within about seven days. Post-acute withdrawal includes similar symptoms as acute withdrawal, but with fluctuating intensity and duration. Post-acute withdrawal symptom severity subsides over time, but it can take weeks or months before symptoms fully abate.
Factors Impacting Vyvanse Withdrawal
The most significant factors that impact Vyvanse withdrawal are the amount taken and how long Vyvanse was used. Generally, someone who took large amounts of Vyvanse for a long time will face the most severe withdrawal symptoms. However, symptom severity is influenced by other factors, including whether other drugs are being taken, metabolism, exercise, even individual personality traits. In addition, how someone stops using Vyvanse can matter a great deal: Someone who stops suddenly will experience substantially more uncomfortable symptoms than someone who tapers the dose gradually.
The first step to recovery begins with detox, which is the period of time during which Vyvanse is completely eliminated from the system. Detoxification and withdrawal begin approximately simultaneously, but withdrawal persists after detox is complete. For many people, the best way to detox from Vyvanse is by participating in a rehab program that can evaluate symptom severity, determine the most appropriate tapering schedule and, if appropriate, provide medications that ease symptom severity. Tapering is an incredibly helpful way to minimize the discomfort of detox and withdrawal, as it gives your brain the chance to wean off of Vyvanse rather than the drug being suddenly unavailable. Quitting cold turkey can be difficult physically and mentally and is not recommended in most cases.
Detoxing at Home
Many people who choose to detox at home face challenges that can be difficult to overcome, resulting in succumbing to the desire to resume drug use. The intense fatigue and depression that are often associated with Vyvanse detox can leave people feeling unmotivated and disinterested, which can negatively impact their home and work lives. However, detoxing at home can be successful, especially after prior consultation with a medical professional. A medical consult can determine the most appropriate home detox strategy and provide a prescription for a tapered dose.
Detoxing at a Treatment Center
There are numerous benefits to choosing to detox at a treatment center. Multidisciplinary rehab centers are equipped to help people deal with the physical and psychological aspects of detox and withdrawal, and can provide medical intervention and, when appropriate, pharmacotherapy. In addition, people in detox facilities have 24/7 access to professionals who can address questions and concerns as they arise. Some treatment methods include:
- Medical Detox: Rehab programs typically offer medically supervised detox programs that will carefully monitor detox progression and, if necessary, provide interventions in the form of pharmacological agents and therapy to improve mental health and wellbeing.
- Inpatient Detox: Quality inpatient rehab programs include detox treatment. Much like medical detox, 24/7 access to professionals is available, including medications when needed. Inpatient detox will often include additional components to ease the challenges associated with early recovery, including individual and group therapy sessions and recreational therapy. Inpatient detox is usually the first step in a comprehensive inpatient rehab program.
- Outpatient Detox: People with mild to moderate Vyvanse use disorders are candidates for outpatient detox programs. Outpatient detox generally consists of full-day participation in a rehab program that includes access to medical professionals, therapy sessions and, if necessary, medical interventions. In outpatient programs, the client does not stay in the facility overnight. However, quality programs will ensure that their clients have 24/7 access to staff if they have questions or concerns while they are at home.
Finding a Detox Center
There are several elements to consider when looking for the most appropriate detox center:
- Location is an obvious consideration and some people find that detox centers that are further from home allow them to successfully avoid triggers and prevent relapse
- The cost of detox can be high, but many insurance providers (including Medicaid) will help to defray the cost
- Look for facilities that have experience treating Vyvanse use disorders and that can provide information on their success rates and endorsements from former clients
- Accreditation through The Joint Commission or CARF International ensures that the program provides a certain standard of care
- A low staff-to-client ratio guarantees that the staff has adequate time to dedicate to each client
- Multidisciplinary programs are able to determine whether a dual diagnosis of substance use disorder that is coincidental with a mental health disorder is appropriate
Key Points to Understanding Vyvanse Withdrawal and Detox
Keep the following key points in mind when considering Vyvanse withdrawal and detox:
- Regular Vyvanse use leads to tolerance and dependence, which are associated with withdrawal symptoms if Vyvanse use is reduced or stopped
- Tapering the Vyvanse dose is generally more successful than quitting cold turkey
- Vyvanse withdrawal symptom severity is correlated with the duration and amount of use
- Physical symptoms of Vyvanse withdrawal include extreme fatigue, trembling, headaches and appetite changes
- Psychological symptoms of Vyvanse withdrawal include depression, anxiety, cravings, an inability to concentrate and mood swings
- Acute Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms typically last for about a week
- Post-acute Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms may persist for several weeks or months
- Vyvanse detox can be done several ways, including medically supervised detox, participation in an inpatient or outpatient program or at home
Contact The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health today to speak with a representative about how addiction treatment can help you address your substance use disorder.
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Consumer Reports. “Vyvanse: The pill you shouldn’t use to lose weight.” March 2015. Accessed August 19, 2019.
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Dolder, Patrick C; et al. “Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Lisdexamfetamine Compared with d-Amphetamine in Healthy Subjects.” Frontiers in Pharmacology, September 2017. Accessed August 20, 2019.
Nail, Rachel. “Coping with a Vyvanse crash.” Medical News Today, April 2008. Accessed August 19, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.