Many prescription medications come with warnings of side effects. Although they are designed to help you with a physical or mental issue, your prescriptions can sometimes cause other issues that can affect your ability to function on a daily basis. One of those prescription medications that can have side effects is one that could produce auditory hallucinations. In fact, a number of people have reported hearing voices on Vyvanse.
What is Vyvanse?
Vyvanse is the brand name for lisdexamfetamine, a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as part of a total treatment plan, including psychological, social, and other treatments. Vyvanse may help increase your ability to pay attention, to stay focused, and to stop fidgeting. The medication has also been proven effective in treating binge eating disorder as it may help reduce the number of binge-eating days.
Vyvanse is a stimulant, an amphetamine. Prescriptions for lisdexamfetamine have steadily increased over the past few years. In 2007, there were 212,554 prescriptions. That number increased dramatically to 8,884,101 in 2017, with only slight dips in 2013 and 2015.
How It Works
The prescription Vyvanse is thought to work on ADHD and binge eating by restoring the balance of natural chemicals in the brain. Amphetamines such as this drug can cause a feeling of euphoria or intense happiness when taken in large doses. Vyvanse can help you feel more focused and alert, which is one reason it is prescribed for ADHD. However, just like other amphetamines, Vyvanse can be misused and that can lead to dependence and addiction.
If you are hearing voices on Vyvanse, you are experiencing auditory hallucinations. You might hear someone speaking to you or telling you to do certain things. Or, you might hear sounds, like someone walking or repeated clicking or tapping noises. These sounds could be friendly or angry, neutral or warm.
These auditory hallucinations, which are the most common type of hallucinations, are false perceptions of sound. They have been described as words or noises that have no real origin in the outside world. In most cases, auditory hallucinations are unintentional, intrusive, and unwanted.
Hearing Voices on Vyvanse
Hallucinations, including auditory hallucinations, have been identified as one of the potential serious side effects of Vyvanse. Research studies have found that patients taking Vyvanse are more likely to develop psychosis than those who are prescribed Ritalin or Concerta, which are methylphenidates. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is aware of this issue and in 2007 mandated that ADHD medication labels include warnings about potential psychiatric as well as heart issues.
A recent study focused on patients 13 to 25 years old who were new users of either Vyvanse or one of the methylphenidates from January 1, 2004, to September 30, 2015. A total of 221,846 patients were included in the study, with 110,923 taking methylphenidate and 110,923 taking the amphetamines. New cases of psychosis were identified in twice as many of the patients taking Vyvanse as in those taking Ritalin or another methylphenidate. The amphetamine users had a 65 percent increase in the risk of a psychotic event, which can include delusions or hallucinations.
The study’s lead author, Lauren Moran, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a practicing psychiatrist, says “from a public health perspective, there’s so many millions of people being prescribed these medications that it actually leads to thousands of people at increased risk of psychosis.” Moran pointed to the differences in how the medications work in the brain as one reason for the differences in the risk of auditory hallucinations.
While both raise levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is involved in a host of brain functions, methylphenidate works by blocking dopamine from being removed from the brain. Amphetamines, by contrast, both block dopamine from being removed and increase the production of dopamine. One of the risk factors for psychosis is the use of drugs in ways other than directed, leading to overuse and addiction.
Treatment for Problematic Pharmacology
When you are hearing voices on Vyvanse, effective treatment includes methods to help you when your ADHD medication is no longer needed, when it is not working for you, and when your medication is creating more problems than it is solving. Treatment can include psychotherapy, supplements and vitamins, and meditation, helping you work through the answers you need to discontinue your use of this prescription stimulant in a safe way.
Contact Recovery Without Walls for Help During COVID-19
Recovery Without Walls can help you with Vyvanse, Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, and other medications. We are an evidence-informed medical practice, using the most current medical research, exceptional psychotherapy, and integrative healing methods to address your specific needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage you to email or call us for care and answers to your questions. Contact us today to get help.