Vyvanse Vs. Concerta | Which Is Better For ADHD?

Despite how many similarities these two prescription drugs have, they also have quite a few differences as well.

Vyvanse Vs. Concerta | Which Is Better For ADHD?

Vyvanse and Concerta are both central nervous system stimulant medications that are used in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Vyvanse is the brand name for lisdexamfetamine dimesylate and Concerta is the brand name for methylphenidate.

They both work similarly on chemicals in the brain to decrease ADHD symptoms, but while they may seem very similar, they also have a few differences as well.

Similarities Between Vyvanse & Concerta

Concerta and Vyvanse have many similarities. They are both the same kind of long-acting drug, work on similar disorders, and can be used by the same group of people.


The biggest similarity between the two ADHD medications is the kind of drug they are. They are both central nervous system stimulant prescription medications. Other stimulants like this include Ritalin and Adderall.

This means that Vyvanse and Concerta work in the central nervous system to ease the symptoms of ADHD. To do this, they both increase the amount of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.


Concerta and Vyvanse are also both classified as schedule II controlled substances by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means they have a high potential for abuse and can lead to psychological and physical dependence.

ADHD Treatment

Concerta and Vyvanse are also both used in the treatment of ADHD. Concerta is usually the first choice when treating ADHD, but Vyvanse is used as well.

They both also work on other disorders. Concerta can also be used to treat narcolepsy and Vyvanse can be used for binge eating disorder.

Age & Population

Vyvanse and Concerta are both approved for adolescents and adults. They are approved for children six and older and adults. Concerta does have a cut-off at the age of 65, but any adult younger than that can still use the medication.

Side Effects Of Concerta & Vyvanse

Many of the side effects of Vyvanse and Concerta are the same but some are more common than others.

Some of the most common side effects these two medications share include:

  • decreased appetite
  • dry mouth
  • sleep problems
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • abdominal pain
  • sweating
  • headache
  • anxiety
  • weight loss
  • irritability

Medical Condition Interactions

There are also several medical conditions that Vyvanse and Concerta do not work well with. The two ADHD medications can actually make the following conditions worse:

  • blood circulation problems
  • mental health conditions like severe agitation, bipolar disorder, and psychosis
  • heart problems like irregular heartbeat, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathy
  • history of stroke or overactive thyroid
  • glaucoma
  • seizures
  • kidney disease
  • history of a substance use disorder
  • history of uncontrolled muscle movements/tics

Withdrawal Symptoms

Vyvanse and Concerta also have many of the same withdrawal symptoms. If you abuse either of these prescription drugs or take a high dose over a long period of time, you can build up a dependence.

If you build up a dependence on one of these drugs and then try to quit, withdrawal symptoms can occur. The withdrawal symptoms these two drugs share include:

  • difficulty sleeping
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • increased appetite
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • irritability
  • cravings

Differences Between Vyvanse & Concerta

Despite how many similarities these two prescription drugs have, they also have quite a few differences as well, including what they look like and how they are metabolized in the body.

Drug Interactions

While there are a few drugs that both Concerta and Vyvanse negatively interact with, Vyvanse adversely interacts with many more drugs than Concerta.

They both negatively interact with:

  • antidepressants like monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • alcohol
  • marijuana

Beyond that, Vyvanse also should not be taken with:

  • seizure medicines
  • blood thinner medication
  • blood pressure medication
  • cold medicines
  • vitamins and supplements
  • other meds that contain amphetamine or dextroamphetamine


Another one of the big differences between the two drugs is that one is a prodrug and one is not.

Vyvanse is a prodrug which means it does not begin working until the body has metabolized it.
Concerta works immediately and over time because of the dual action of the drug.

What It Looks Like

The two medications also look very different from one another in terms of color and shape.

Vyvanse comes in white chewable tablets and capsules that are different colors depending on their dosage. The capsules can be white, blue, pink, white and orange, and blue and orange.

Vyvanse comes in immediate-release tablets and extended-release capsules.

Concerta capsule-shaped tablets come in a few different colors based on the dosage they are. The colors include red, white, gray, and yellow.

Concerta comes in immediate-release and extended-release tablets.

If you or a loved one lives with stimulant addiction, please contact us today to learn how we can help.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

Published on

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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