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Risks of Mixing Vyvanse and Alcohol

Unsafe Combination

Lisdexamfetamine
dimesylate (Vyvanse) is a stimulant. This prescription drug is used to treat
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It works with the central
nervous system (CNS) to help improve ADHD symptoms. Drinking alcohol with
stimulants can alter the way these medications work.

See a side-by-side comparison of Vyvanse and Adderall »

Drinking
alcohol with Vyvanse is not safe. Combining the two may even lead to medical
emergencies.

What Vyvanse Does

As
a CNS stimulant, Vyvanse alters the way neurotransmitters work. These brain chemicals
send messages to each other. Neurotransmitters are vital for basic brain
functions. They also play a role in mood and activity level. The primary function
of Vyvanse is to increase dopamine. Doing so helps stimulate more efficient
nerve signals. In ADHD, this helps alleviate symptoms such as:

  • lack of focus
  • hyperactivity
  • forgetfulness
  • inability to finish assignments and tasks

Vyvanse
is a long-acting stimulant. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it stays active in your
body for about 13 hours. This is the longest duration of any stimulant
medication for ADHD. Vyvanse is taken once a day, preferably in the morning.
It’s available in the following types of oral capsules:

  • ivory: 20 milligrams (mg)
  • orange and white: 30 mg
  • white and blue-green: 40 mg
  • white and blue: 50 mg
  • aqua blue: 60 mg
  • blue and orange: 70 mg

Long-term
dosing depends on age, condition, and response to the initial dose. The most
common starting dose is 30 mg. Vyvanse is not recommended for people with a personal
or family history of heart disease. The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration reports the following complications associated with this medication:

  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • increased heart rate
  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • sudden death

How Alcohol Affects Vyvanse

Alcohol
is known for having a “relaxing” effect because it’s a depressant that slows
down brain activity. Drinking in moderation may be safe for some adults, but
the safety of alcohol is more questionable in patients who take medications.
This includes Vyvanse.

Like
other ADHD prescriptions, Vyvanse has different effects on the brain than
depressants. As a powerful stimulant, Vyvanse may overshadow the normal effects
of alcohol. Feeling the effects of alcohol less, you may drink more. Alcohol poisoning is of particular
concern when combining the two. You may inadvertently drink too much and not
realize it because you don’t feel the normal signs of intoxication.

Side Effects from Interaction

Mixing
alcohol with any stimulant may produce side effects. You might experience
extreme changes in mood and behavior as a result. You may also experience worsened
side effects from the drug.

Vyvanse
poses a greater risk to the cardiovascular system compared with other
stimulants. Taking the medication alone may increase your risk for cardiovascular
issues. This is especially the case if you have preexisting heart problems.
Alcohol increases these risks, putting a greater strain on the cardiovascular
system. Drinking raises your blood pressure. It can also increase your heart
rate. In this way, combining the two substances together can prove disastrous.

Drinking
may increase the risk of side effects from Vyvanse, including:

  • poor circulation
  • psychosis
  • poor appetite and weight loss
  • dry mouth
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • insomnia

Warning

Stimulants
like Vyvanse are intended for ADHD patients only. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, approximately 30 percent
of all emergency room visits involving non-medical stimulant use also involve
alcohol. Recreational use, especially with alcohol, can lead to
life-threatening complications. Among the most serious effects include:

  • hypertension
  • heart rate changes
  • blood vessel problems
  • alcohol poisoning

Seek
emergency medical help if you experience:

  • dizziness or fainting
  • rapid heart rate
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath

Staying Safe

When
taking any type of medication, it’s important to be mindful of other substances
you use. Interactions can occur between prescription drugs, over-the-counter
medications, and herbal supplements. Vyvanse and alcohol is proven to be a
risky combination. If you have problems with either substance, discuss it with
your doctor.

Posted by: Dr.Health

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