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Vyvanse For Depression: Lisdexamfetamine As An Adjunct Treatment

Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) is a drug developed by Shire Pharmaceuticals as a successor to Adderall.  Vyvanse was first approved for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder  (ADHD) in 2007.  In 2015, Vyvanse was approved for binge eating disorder and was found to successfully minimize appetite and number of binge eating episodes per week compared to a placebo.

The drug has been investigated for a variety of other conditions, including the treatment of major depressive disorder.  In fact, Shire Pharmaceuticals was fairly confident that the drug would be a success in treating depression, so much so that they conducted multiple late-stage clinical trials to determine its effectiveness as an adjunct.  Unfortunately the trials were discontinued as a result of the drug’s poor efficacy.

The trials indicated that using Vyvanse with an antidepressant was no more effective than using a standalone SSRI or SNRI.  Despite these findings, there is significant evidence that using psychostimulants as antidepressant augmentation strategies in cases of refractory depression is highly effective.  Among individuals with depression that’s resistant to normative treatments, Vyvanse may provide some benefit.

Vyvanse for Depression: Lisdexamfetamine as an Adjunct

Many cases of refractory depression respond well when a psychostimulant is added as an adjunct.  While a psychostimulant may not be even a first-line adjunct option, in many cases it is effective.  Adding a psychostimulant to an existing antidepressant may improve energy, motivation, cognition, and address low dopamine levels that may be contributing to depression.

A majority of psychiatrists end up testing drugs like antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and even thyroid hormone as an adjunct strategy for depression.  However, these substances may exacerbate SSRI-induced side effects (e.g. weight gain, sluggishness, sexual dysfunction), a psychostimulant like Vyvanse may be a better adjunct.  Furthermore, Vyvanse may counteract unwanted antidepressant-induced side effects (e.g. weight loss, sexual dysfunction, drowsiness).

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22263621

Research Timeline: Vyvanse for Depression

The drug Vyvanse was slated to become an FDA approved adjunct treatment for depression, but was found ineffective in late stage clinical trials.  That said, there have been numerous studies suggesting that Vyvanse may help with certain aspects of depression.  It may be particularly beneficial for those with major depression and: comorbid ADHD, executive dysfunction, or lingering depressive symptoms during antidepressant treatment.

2011: A study published in 2011 investigated the safety and efficacy of Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) among individuals with ADHD that had a history of depression and/or substance use.  Researchers gathered data of comorbid depression from medical history reports filed by clinicians.  The study incorporated a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design with forced titrations of Vyvanse.

Results from the study were analyzed based on ratings from the ADHD Rating Scale and Clinical Global Impressions Scale.  Data was collected prior to treatment with Vyvanse, and following the treatment of 30 mg, 50 mg, or 70 mg.  Outcomes indicated that Vyvanse produced the same effect among individuals regardless of whether they had a history of depression, substance abuse, or no comorbid condition.

Based on the results of this study, Vyvanse was able to eradicate attentional deficits just as significantly among individuals with a history of depression as those without one.  While this is a small scale study, it highlights the fact that the drug may be particularly beneficial for those who have ADHD with comorbid depression or vice-versa.  It remained unclear as to whether those with a history of depression were depressed at the time of the study, as well as whether mood improved as a result of Vyvanse treatment.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3071091/

2013: Results from a randomized clinical trial were published that evaluated Vyvanse as an adjunct treatment for adults with residual depressive symptoms following treatment with Lexapro.  The goal of this trial was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Vyvanse in reducing lingering depressive symptoms that weren’t alleviated by Lexapro.  A total of 129 adults participated in the study, and the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale was administered to assess pre-trial, intra-trial, and post-trial depressive symptoms.

Results of the study suggested that the depressive symptoms of the 65 individuals receiving Vyvanse improved significantly when compared to the 64 individuals receiving a placebo.  Researchers noted significant reductions in Montgomery-Asberg Depression Ratings after 14 weeks.  Authors suggest that among individuals with inadequate responses to an antidepressant, adjunct treatment with Vyvanse may be an effective option.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24021497

2013: Another study was published in 2013 that specifically analyzed the effects of Vyvanse on body weight and metabolism. Their secondary objective was to analyze the effect of Vyvanse in reducing ADHD and depressive symptoms among individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder (both type 1 and 2).  The study consisted of 45 adults with bipolar disorder and comorbid ADHD with stable moods.

The study involved flexible dosing and was regarded as being open-label. All participants began with 30 mg of Vyvanse as an adjunct for the first week.  Flexible dosing meant that some participants may have their dosage titrated upwards between 30 mg and 70 mg between Week 2 and Week 4 of the study.

The average dose of Vyvanse administered was 60 mg, and researchers noted a significant decrease in weight after 4 weeks when compared to baseline measures.  The following measures also decreased when compared to baseline: body mass index, fasting total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high density lipoprotein cholesterol.  Reductions in ADHD and depressive symptoms were considered significant after 4-weeks when compared to baseline measures.

This suggests that short-term (one month) treatment with Vyvanse may elicit favorable effects on body weight (e.g. weight loss) and body mass index.  More importantly, the drug was considered effective in reducing both attentional deficits and depressive symptoms among those with bipolar disorder.  This provides further evidence elucidating some benefit associated with using Vyvanse for depression.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24014142

2014: A study published in 2014 evaluated Vyvanse as an augmentation to antidepressant monotherapy among individuals with executive dysfunction with comorbid partial or fully remitted major depression.  This was a randomized, placebo-controlled study with 143 adult participants.  All individuals had been taking an antidepressant for at least 8 weeks and were assessed with the following measures: Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF), and Self-Report-Global Executive Composite (GEC).

Following a preliminary screening period of 2 weeks, all participants were assigned to 9 weeks of either Vyvanse or a placebo as an adjunct, followed by a single-blind setup with just a placebo.  A total of 119 individuals were able to complete the study, and statistically significant improvements were noted among the 60 individuals receiving Vyvanse compared to the 59 receiving a placebo.  These improvements were significant among all rating scales: MADRS, BRIEF, and GEC.

Results suggest that among adults with executive dysfunction, and partial or fully remitted depression, Vyvanse significantly improved the executive dysfunction and further reduced depressive symptoms.  Authors noted that Vyvanse had a relatively safe side effect profile and that the results were consistent with other findings.  This means that if your depression is compromising your executive performance, Vyvanse may provide significant benefit.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24309905

2015: Newer research published in 2015 attempted to determine both the efficacy and tolerability of Vyvanse among individuals experiencing bipolar depression.  In this study, 25 individuals with either Type 1 or Type 2 bipolar disorder enrolled in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study over the course of 8 weeks.  Of these individuals, 11 were administered Vyvanse, while 14 were administered a placebo.

To determine the degree to which a person’s depression had improved, researchers assessed depressive symptoms using the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Scale.  Results from the study suggested that there were no significant differences in terms of mood between the Vyvanse group and the placebo group based on Montgomery-Asberg Depression Scale ratings.  That said, self-reports among those receiving the Vyvanse were notably different than those receiving the placebo.

Those administered the Vyvanse self-reported less depressive symptoms, reduced fatigue, less daytime sleepiness, and reductions in binge eating.  Further data revealed that those taking the Vyvanse had reduced fasting levels of low-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol.  Authors of the study indicate that Vyvanse was well-tolerated, but may have potential for abuse.

The subjective self-reports of reduced depression as a result of the Vyvanse should be worth noting.  Additionally the small sample size of the study makes it difficult to determine the degree by which those receiving the Vyvanse differed from those receiving the placebo.  There is a need for larger-scale, longer-term studies analyzing the effects of Vyvanse in treating bipolar depression.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25340384

How Vyvanse May Help Depression: Mechanisms of Action

Vyvanse may help alleviate certain depressive symptoms via its mechanism of action as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor and its ability to stimulate the release of presynaptic neurotransmitters.  This provides an individual with increases in dopamine, that when combined with an SNRI are targeting the trifecta of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.  In other words, you’re getting an effect akin to taking a “triple reuptake inhibitor” (SNDRI).

  • CNS stimulation: Vyvanse is a potent CNS stimulant. The lisdexamfetamine is metabolized into dextroamphetamine and the amino acid l-lysine.  The dextroamphetamine is what stimulates the central nervous system and increases your energy levels.  This means that you’ll feel more activated, less tired, and your brain will be operating at a higher level than without the drug.
  • Dopamine increase: For some individuals, a notable benefit resulting from the usage of psychostimulants like Vyvanse is a dopamine increase. Vyvanse substantially increases dopamine levels and activates dopamine receptors in the prefrontal cortex (D1 receptor).  Some individuals may benefit significantly from the dopamine increase.  In fact, certain people may find that dopamine not serotonin was the initial cause of their depression; targeting it with Vyvanse may help.
  • Other neurotransmitter increases: Vyvanse is known to increase a variety of other neurotransmitter concentrations, most notably norepinephrine. There is speculation that low norepinephrine and depression are linked.  It also affects serotonin to a minor extent, eliciting subtle increases.
  • Prefrontal activation: Those with depression and/or executive dysfunction often have impaired activation of the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the most advanced part of your brain that helps you with critical analysis, planning, thought organization, attention, and even mood.  Vyvanse helps activate the prefrontal cortex, offsetting the effects that stem from hypoactivation – one of which may be depression.
  • Triple reuptake inhibition: There’s a lot of buzz about new “SNDRI” drugs, but these shouldn’t be regarded as anything special. If you want to experience these triple reuptake inhibitors, you could theoretically just add Vyvanse to an SNRI.  This will provide reuptake of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.  Some people may find this advantageous over targeting just one neurotransmitter like serotonin.

Potential Benefits of Vyvanse as an adjunct

Below are some potential benefits associated with taking Vyvanse for depression.  Many of these benefits may indirectly contribute to mood improvement as a result of improvements in realms such as: cognitive function, productivity, motivation, and weight loss.

  • Cognitive enhancement: Vyvanse is well documented as a cognitive enhancer. In fact, taking it has been shown to increase IQ by an average of 4.5 IQ points among those with ADHD.  While this improvement may not be permanent, it can provide a temporary boost to someone who is severely depressed that cannot think clearly.  For some individuals, just enhancing cognition results in improved self-esteem and less depression.
  • Counteracting side effects: Another obvious benefit associated with using Vyvanse is that it may counteract antidepressant-induced side effects. This means that if your antidepressant is causing weight gain, it may neutralize it or tip the scale towards weight loss.  It also can improve antidepressant-induced brain fog, excessive drowsiness, or sexual dysfunction.
  • Motivation boost: There’s also potential for Vyvanse to significantly increase your motivation. The dopamine increase as a result of this medication is believed to motivate us to achieve goals and avoid unfavorable outcomes.  This means that you may feel more motivated to accomplish goals.  Goal-oriented behavior is known to help offset depression and increase feelings of well-being.
  • Productivity: Those taking Vyvanse may find that they are significantly more productive while taking it than they had in the past. This is due to the increase in prefrontal activation coupled with the dopaminergic and noradrenergic effects of the drug.  When you feel more motivated, can think clearer, and your brain is performing at a higher level, your productivity will increase.  Increasing productivity may lead to a better mood via feelings of accomplishment, achievement, or a pay increase at work.
  • Sexual enhancement: Regardless of whether you find your antidepressant causing sexual dysfunction, Vyvanse has potential to help. It may enhance sexual function as a result of increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels.  This may result in a higher libido, improved sexual performance, or greater pleasure associated with sex.
  • Socialization: Sometimes users may attain a pro-social effect from a drug like Vyvanse. This makes them feel increasingly confident in social situations as a result of heightened mental acuity.  In other words, a person may feel more “primed” for conversation and derive more pleasure from social interactions than they had in the past.
  • Weight loss: There is significant evidence linking Vyvanse and weight loss. The drug is known to curb binge eating episodes, reduce appetite, speed metabolism, and provide you with increased energy for working out.  Although it shouldn’t be used solely for weight loss, the added benefit of weight loss could theoretically translate to an improved mood.

Optimal scenarios to use Vyvanse for depression

There are several types of depression that may respond better to Vyvanse as an adjunct than others.  Since Vyvanse is approved to treat ADHD and binge eating disorder, individuals with those conditions may experience an indirect mood boost from getting their attentional deficit or binge eating under control.

  • ADHD: If you have ADHD, medicating your attention-deficit and/or hyperactivity may benefit your depression.  Some individuals with ADHD may find that when their attention span increases, they feel less depressed.  ADHD can cause depression, or occur entirely separate from depression.  In any regard, those with ADHD and comorbid depression or depression with comorbid ADHD may stand to benefit from Vyvanse.
  • Binge eating disorder: In 2015 Vyvanse was approved by the FDA for the treatment of binge eating disorder (BED).  Those who experience depression related to their binge eating may feel less depressed when Vyvanse gets their binge eating under control.  That said, even if the binge eating and depression are mutually exclusive conditions, it’s possible that the Vyvanse may alleviate certain aspects of depression.
  • Dopaminergic depression: If you have abnormally low levels of dopamine, working to increase dopamine may offset many of your depressive symptoms.  Although natural methods for increasing dopamine may provide benefit, they are not as potent as Vyvanse.  For individuals that are believed to have an atypical dopaminergic depression, Vyvanse may be a preferred treatment.
  • Fatigue-based symptoms: Just because Vyvanse isn’t approved to treat narcolepsy or excessive daytime sleepiness doesn’t render it ineffective for those conditions.  The active ingredient resulting from the breakdown of Vyvanse is dextroamphetamine, which has been used to reduce sleepiness and fatigue since World War II.  If you have a fatigue-based depression, Vyvanse may help combat your tiredness.
  • Treatment-resistant depression: Those with depression that is resistant to traditional treatments may respond well when adding Vyvanse to antidepressant monotherapy. Sometimes there’s a symbiotic or synergistic reaction between various medications and their ability to reduce depression.  Adding Vyvanse to an existing antidepressant may provide significant benefit to those with refractory depression.

Why you may want to avoid Vyvanse for depression

Not every person with depression will respond well to Vyvanse.  In some cases, Vyvanse may exacerbate depressive symptoms or even worsen comorbid conditions like anxiety.  For others, the drug may lead to abuse, addiction, and/or dependence – potentially increasing depression.

  • Abuse potential: Vyvanse is classified as a “Schedule II” controlled-substance.  This means that it has a high potential for abuse.  The potential for abuse stems from the dopaminergic rush that the drug provides, creating a temporary euphoria for abusers.  Abuse may result in abnormally high dopamine levels and ultimately may trigger stimulant psychosis.
  • Addiction: If you have an addictive personality, this may be the wrong drug to try.  Many people become addicted to its stimulatory effects and they continue to seek out Vyvanse or other stimulants.  If you are constantly thinking about taking your next Vyvanse pill or getting your next dextroamphetamine fix, this probably isn’t a good fit.
  • Anxiety: Many individuals with depression have comorbid anxiety.  In rare cases, a person’s anxiety may actually improve from Vyvanse, but this is uncommon.  In most cases, an individual will feel a heightened sense of anxiety, nervousness, and discomfort.
  • Dependence: Over time, it is highly possible to become dependent upon Vyvanse for functioning.  This means that you may come to rely on the drug in order to perform (at school or work), socialize, or even stay alert throughout the day.  This dependence is most often psychological in that a person feels they need the drug to mentally function, but may also be physical.
  • Insomnia: Another potential drawback associated with Vyvanse is that it may throw off your sleep cycle as a result of insomnia.  Sure the stimulation from the drug may improve your depression, but it may also lead to an inability to sleep or broken sleep.  Difficulties with sleep can exacerbate depression and lead to other health problems.
  • Long-term effects: The long-term effects associated with psychostimulant usage may be undesirable, particularly for those without ADHD.  Over time, your brain may downregulate dopamine receptors and burn up endogenous dopamine stores as a result of the Vyvanse.  This means that over the long-term, you may be digging yourself in a dopaminergic hole that will be difficult to escape.
  • Refill difficulty: Due to the fact that Vyvanse is a “Schedule II” drug, refills are not available.  This means that you must have a physical signed copy of a prescription from your psychiatrist for each 30 day supply of Vyvanse.  If you aren’t able to see your psychiatrist within a month, you may experience temporary withdrawals.
  • Side effects: Some people don’t react well when taking psychostimulants.  Vyvanse may make them feel jittery, jumpy, or restless.  In other cases, a person may experience headaches, dizziness, or excess sweating.  If the side effects become unbearable, this drug may not be a good option.
  • Tolerance: It is relatively easy to build up tolerance to the effects of dextroamphetamine.  This means that you may need to frequently increase your Vyvanse dosing to alleviate your depressive symptoms.  Once tolerance is established to the highest dose, you may find that you get no additional relief from the drug.
  • Withdrawal: The discontinuation associated with stopping Vyvanse shouldn’t be minimized.  Those that have taken the drug for a long-term, especially at a high dose are likely to experience debilitating Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms.  These include increases in fatigue, sleepiness, and cognitive impairment.  In many cases the withdrawals will be more severe than the symptoms experienced prior to taking the drug.

How does Vyvanse compare to Adderall for depression?

In the past, many psychiatrists utilized Adderall for depression as a psychostimulant adjunct.  Adderall is very similar to Vyvanse in that it contains dextroamphetamine (75%), but also contains levoamphetamine (25%).  Vyvanse is a prodrug, meaning it is biologically inactive until orally ingested.  Upon ingestion, the drug takes nearly 2 hours before it is metabolized into dextroamphetamine and l-lysine.

Vyvanse is considered to have a slightly lower potential for abuse, is slightly less potent, and a longer duration of effect by comparison.  For more information, you can check out the comparison article I wrote called “Adderall vs. Vyvanse.”  Neither Vyvanse nor Adderall should be regarded as superior to the other for depression – responses are largely subject to individual variation.

How does Vyvanse compare to Provigil for depression?

Vyvanse differs from Provigil in that it has a greater potential for abuse and dependence.  Provigil doesn’t provide as significant of a dopamine kick and has a shorter duration of effect by comparison.  That said, Provigil may be the preferred choice by some psychiatrists due to the fact that it doesn’t have as significant abuse potential, has less intense side effects, and minimal withdrawal symptoms (by comparison).

Some individuals may respond better to the mechanisms of Provigil better than Vyvanse or vice-versa. For additional information, read “Provigil for depression.”

Personal Experience Taking Vyvanse for Depression

For several months, I took Vyvanse on an intermittent basis to treat depression.  Although it was meant to be used as an adjunct, I used it intermittently as a standalone option.  I wasn’t too keen on continuing with my antidepressant due to undesirable side effects, so I stopped it and only used Vyvanse as needed.

Due to the potential for abuse, I used an extremely low dose by taking a 30 mg capsule and pouring the powder into yogurt – this was recommended by my psychiatrist.  I probably was taking somewhere around 10 mg to 15 mg and experienced noticeable benefit.  It may not have made me feel “happy” or “euphoric” like Adderall did, but it certainly alleviated my depression.

It dramatically increased my mental clarity, optimism, and cognitive function.  Despite my experience with low dose Vyvanse for depression, I never wanted to become dependent upon it or fall victim to the long-term trap of downregulation of dopamine receptors and low dopamine levels.  That said, nearly every time I took it, it eradicated my suicidal thoughts and depression, while simultaneously giving me hope for the future.

Verdict: Vyvanse may be an effective adjunct treatment for depression

Despite the fact that formal FDA approval wasn’t granted to Vyvanse as an adjunct treatment for major depression, there is evidence suggesting that it may be helpful for select individuals – particularly those with treatment-resistant depression.  Additionally, those that have comorbidities of ADHD, binge eating disorder, executive dysfunction, or fatigue may derive significant benefit from Vyvanse.  Certainly this drug shouldn’t be used in everyone, particularly those with addictive personalities.

That said, if a psychostimulant is to be used as an adjunct, Vyvanse may be a preferred option over older drugs.  This is due to the fact that it is a prodrug, is believed to have a smoother absorption, is less likely to make a person “crash,” and has a long duration of effect.  However, some psychiatrists may still prefer Provigil (modafinil) over Schedule II substances like Vyvanse due to its well established efficacy and reduced abuse potential.

Have you found Vyvanse helpful for depression?

If you have personally used Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) to help treat your depression, feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.  For those that are taking Vyvanse as an adjunct, what benefits were most pronounced when you started taking it?  Did you find the drug effective at offsetting SSRI or SNRI-based side effects?  Keep in mind that some people may find that Vyvanse worsens their depression, if you disliked this drug’s effect on your mood, be sure to explain.

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12 thoughts on “Vyvanse For Depression: Lisdexamfetamine As An Adjunct Treatment”

  1. Vyvanse was a life changer for me too. I take Cymbalta and have tried other anti-depressants. I suffer from depression, ADHD, and anxiety. This medication is the best in improving my focus, depression, and mood. I have been more motivated than ever in my life. I have been on it for 8 years.

    Tolerance, dependence, and psychological dependence are a problem. I just see it for what it is and take anywhere from 2 days to a week off. It is hard but after one week, it works a lot better again. I feel like the best me I can be when it is working well.

    I pray that tests are continued with this medication for depression and ADHD. I do wish for a better consistency. The up and down times through the day can be hard. Keep working on this Shire. Truly a gift from God!

  2. Thank you very much for your excellent article about Vyvanse. I have been suffering from Clinical Depression all my life. I’m 41 now and my symptoms are extremely difficult to handle. I stopped going to my Doctors for two years now because I have tried all type of treatments, including 24 ECT treatments, more than 12 different anti-depressants and all suggestions from friends and Doctors and seems to me that, even I was feeling good with every new treatment, I was back to depression in a very short period of time.

    This ongoing Depression has been a devastating problem for me and my family. I remember one Doctor that prescribed to me Adderall to alleviate my depression and it works like a charm but, I did get some side effects that was not pleasant like, very high heart rate, sweating a lot and not sleeping at all. For that reason, I could not continue with Adderall.

    Then yesterday my wife told me about Vyvanse because my daughter has ADHD and have a prescribed bottle of Vyvanse. I try one 30 mg to see if it could work for me and… I can’t even describe the immense difference it makes to my concentration, energy, and motivation. I can tell you, I have done so many things I haven’t able to do for a long time. I feel no side effects and feel very good and happy.

    Oh my… this is more that I was asking for this medicine. I could be happy if I only feel a little better but this is way better than I was expecting. I’m not talking about euphoria, I’m talking concentration and motivation and a lot of more energy. Your article helps me a lot because it motivates me to go back to my doctor and talk about this medicine and how much it can help me if I don’t have the side effects as Adderall did.

    I will post here my results after I get a prescription from my Doctor (if he is willing to give me one) on a longer term taking Vyvanse. I just want to tell you that your article can help a lot of people that, as you mention, are like my with treatment-resistant depression. What makes me happier is that I have hope again for some depression relief and some happiness back in my life.

    I added this article to my favorites on my phone to show it to my Doctor to discuss the options about Vyvanse. Thank you very much again for such a wonderful article.

  3. I am an addict, 26 years old, so for a long time until I got my addiction under control I’ve been dealing with different doctors being hesitant to prescribe certain medications that I knew I would benefit from, I finally found a DR that treats me like I am a normal person and not a junkie… That being said, I am currently prescribed Vyvanse 40mgs, Wellbutrin 300mgs, Suboxone 16mgs, and lexapro 20mgs.

    I had side effects from the suboxone and lexapro, and it honestly seemed to make me more depressed and “numb”. I was still craving opiates. I would isolate from everyone and not want to socialize or think about other people and I hated myself. Now, since starting the Vyvanse, MY LIFE HAS CHANGED dramatically. I feel like I did before I was ever depressed, angry, or alone.

    Now I crave social interaction, I have motivation, school has become fun, I definitely don’t feel numb, I can honestly say I am excited to be alive and be able to wake up tomorrow. I’ve always had ADD, I was diagnosed with it young, so it is kind of annoying to know that I could have avoided such a destructive and dangerous path, (drug addiction and such), by taking the right medication “Vyvanse” or the combo that I’m on.

    I have even started to not want to take the other meds, I have cut my suboxone and wellbutrin dose in 1/2, and soon I plan on just being on the vyvanse and maybe lexapro. I hope that anyone else suffering like I was can find a doctor with real life experience so they treat you like a normal person and take a chance to possibly give you a medication that will change your life.

  4. After ten years of major deep depression I turn to pain pills in order to have a life. Pain pills were the only why I could get out of bed to work and spent time with my family. I was under care of a doctor and had tried all the anti-depression meds that were on the market. My doctor was not the source of the pain pills so to stay out of jail I went into methadone treatment.

    Six years ago I started seeing another doctor who would treat my ADD/ADHD all the while knowing I was also taking methadone. This alone with dropping methadone for buprenorphine is the reason I am alive today. Don’t ask me why or how but when I started taking Vyvanse and Burprenorphine I was cured. I have my life back and I am again adding to this world.

    It is not just myself who saw the major change in me but others who were around me. I work, pay bills and have others who depend on me daily. I have not felt the need to abuse either of these meds. I am on the same amount as when I started. These two meds were a game changer for me. Now however, with all the news about drug abuse, I live in fear that my meds will be taken away from me.

    I believe there are others just like me that would be in danger of killing themselves if these meds were taken away from us. Like I said I can not tell you why, I can only show you my life of the last six years as proof that these meds work. I have rights same as others do. I have a right to have a life that is free of pain and depression.

    Please don’t make it harder for people like myself to receive the treatment we need in order to be productive citizens. We still don’t know all there is to know about how the brain works, but one day I feel sure we will better understand why some people like myself need this type of medication. Until then don’t judge all of us by the action of a few.

    • It amazes me how much vyvanse and buprenorphine have saved our lives. I was very close to giving up, I have tried suicide before via heroin OD, but Narcan revived me. Today now that I am on vyvanse and suboxone I really don’t ever think about hurting or hating myself, and I have found that I crave helping others rather than destroying myself.

      Right now I feel as if I could stop taking the suboxone and be fine on just the vyvanse, but at the same time I am scared to stop either one because of how “normal” I feel now. But isn’t it amazing to not crave or obsess about opiates or about feeling a certain way and being able to focus on the things that truly matter???

      • I looked at things this way previously, I was a long time user of both, and there are simply easy ways to rationalize prolonged use of either one or the combination of the two. Recently it became overtly clear that there was no other side to one coin: The fact remains which entirely sucks to recognize, but it’s no less real just because it’s so god damn unappealing. The fact that the nature of these drugs on our brains can produce feelings of positive wanting, a positive wanting for interaction, physical activity, or any range in the spectrum of positive human feelings/intentions.

        Like heroin or oxy’s, Vyvanse or buprenorphine, and the lot of them all… they are inarguably ingestible and injectable chemicals which chemically alter our naturally default mood. A mood the vast majority of us have much life experience living with, but haven’t known in quite some time. Street to prescription chemicals become easy roads to take, and I’m not denying there are logical support points to be made, but anything worth anything will never come to you easy.

        -TWO GROUPS YA NEED, Diligently proper nutrition and regular clips of no less than moderately strenuous physical exercise are mandatory for feeling, and more importantly being well. Secondly, positive and constructively emotional relationships are the other half. Flesh those two areas out, and not of minute of your time spent will ever see the side of wasted.

        • Reading this reply in 2018 while struggling for years with clinical nonstop depression, anxiety and PTSD. The above I find insulting. WHAT YA NEED… is to remember that your life is yours… and great for you that preaching has made your life successful somehow.

          Continue with what works for you… and I’ll continue to search what works for me. Have a nice jog tomorrow. I have my 3rd anniversary of PT after almost dying and needing all of my neck bones replaced. Like I said what has worked for you.

          Don’t preach physical success to overcome years of mental instability… without being aware of lives and needs of others. Thanks. J

  5. I was prescribed Vyvanse for ADHD, weight control, and Depression. While it did help with all three issues, the negative side effects overshadowed the good. My biggest issue concerned the way Vyvanse affected my body. Having moderate fibro and anxiety seemed to enhance my problem of tightening all my muscles. This put me in excruciating pain, especially the lower back area where I’d had surgery due to stenosis.

    I split the lowest dose into half to start and never took more than 30mgs. After 2days I’d start to feel the body tension. I did see in the literature that low back pain was mentioned as a side effect. It took three deep tissue massages to get me back to my normal. It also elevated my BP although my DR swore that wasn’t it. I know better as I know my body.

  6. I took 30 mg vyvanse for about 10 months months with fetzima. I noticed a big improvement in my functioning and mood, and almost felt “high,” but only for about 6 hours after taking it. Then I felt a crash. I stopped the vyvanse and definitely felt pretty significant withdrawal.

    Basically couldn’t get out of bed for over two weeks. I do feel it helped at least give me those hours to not feel so completely down. So I’m going to try again with 20 mg and stay on the fetzima. (Which isn’t very helpful alone). It is hard to use vyvanse because of the need to see the doctor every 30 days. Plus expensive. Anyway, that’s my experience so far.

  7. After 18 months of trying to find the right combination for my severe depression exacerbation, a med management specialist started me on Vyvanse 30 MG once a day. By the time 2 hours had past I felt like myself. Interested in the world, did the dishes. Remembered every meeting at work. Just incredible. My wife cried because it was like having the “old Laura” back.

  8. My theory is that dopamine overload can make tolerance happen sooner and make Vyvanse ineffective for depression once tolerance kicks in. Here’s my new plan for a long term solution to avoid dopamine overload and avoid tolerance:

    Take Vyvanse “holidays” every weekend.
    Stop all caffeine.
    Stop all simple sugar intake (especially chocolate).
    No alcohol or marijuana EVER.
    Exercise daily.
    Eat healthy.

    I’m hoping these steps will maintain the effectiveness of Vyvanse for my depression. I’ll see how it goes.

  9. Thank you for this excellent post. I took Adderall fairly regularly for several years, and found it to be extremely helpful with depression. Although I didn’t abuse it at all, the first time I stopped taking it I experienced MAJOR withdrawal symptoms, the repercussions of which I am still feeling, years later. Knowing that helped me when I went back on it a couple of years later, and since then I’ve only experienced that regular old depression that led me to Adderall in the first place.

    For quite a while, I have been wanting to go back on Adderall (I took a very minor dose — 5-7 milligrams) but it is so expensive and hard to come by! In addition, I can only take one brand of the generic, which is so weird. If I take the other brand, it makes me groggy and literally puts me to sleep (I even used it as a sleeping pill once). But I digress… the main reason I started researching Vyvanse was because I started seeing my problem as management of energy, rather than of mood, which has made me much more willing to reconsider medication.

    When I think of it that way, stimulant medication doesn’t seem like such a crutch. Now all I have to do is find a way to pay for it… Wish me luck! (and again, thank you.)


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