Vyvanse and Alcohol: Interaction, Effects & Risks

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

February 7, 2023

Table of Contents

Vyvanse is a branded form of lisdexamfetamine, a stimulant medication primarily used for the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, Vyvanse has some medical utility, but it also has a high potential for abuse and the development of physical dependence. The chances of adverse physical outcomes increase significantly when Vyvanse is mixed with alcohol. This guide highlights the negative effects and risks of combining a stimulant like Vyvanse and a CNS depressant like alcohol.

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Vyvanse and Alcohol Interaction

The manufacturer of Vyvanse (Takeda Pharmaceuticals) does not provide any warning that mixing Vyvanse and alcohol is dangerous. There are no clinical studies on the dangers of combining alcohol and Vyvanse either.

Can you mix Vyvanse and alcohol, then?

Effects of Mixing Vyvanse and Alcohol

The stimulant medications used for the treatment of ADHD work in different ways in the body. Vyvanse is an extended-release medication you take once a day.

When you ingest Vyvanse, the substance is converted into dextroamphetamine in the body. Dextroamphetamine is a CNS stimulant. The substance performs two keys roles:

  • Stimulates the release of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) like norepinephrine and dopamine.
  • Blocks the reuptake of those neurotransmitters.

When those with ADHD take this medication, it stimulates the area of the brain responsible for attention and vigilance. Those same neurotransmitters are also associated with pleasure and wellbeing, though, heightening the abuse profile of Vyvanse.

 Mixing alcohol and stimulants like Vyvanse typically results in each substance diminishing the effects of the other. Alcohol can minimize some stimulant effects associated with Vyvanse, while Vyvanse mitigates some of alcohol’s sedative effects. When this occurs, it can lead to:

  • Using more of each drug.
  • Engaging in risky behaviors.
  • Increasing the chance of overdose and alcohol poisoning.

 The most reported side effects of combining alcohol and Vyvanse include:

  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth and nose
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sharp changes in blood pressure
  • Aggression.
  • Irritability.
  • Hyperactivity
  • Feelings of euphoria.
  • Memory lapses.
  • Chest pains
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Seizure
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia

Dangers of Mixing Vyvanse and Alcohol

The primary risk of mixing alcohol and Vyvanse are:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Heart complications
  • Increased risk-taking behaviors
  • Liver damage
  • Episodes of depression and anxiety
  • Heightened risk of psychosis
  • Misuse, abuse, and addiction

Alcohol poisoning

Vyvanse is a stimulant of the CNS (central nervous system). When the medication is combined with alcohol, this can mask the effects of drunkenness. Oftentimes, this leads people to drink more than intended without being aware of the effects, leading to an increased risk of alcohol overdose (alcohol poisoning). You will also be at increased risk of injuries like slips and falls.

Heart complications

Vyvanse is classified as a stimulant like amphetamine. Research shows that combining alcohol and amphetamine raises heart activity and blood pressure levels, leading to an increased risk of cardiovascular complications.

Increased risk-taking behaviors

Vyvanse in combination with alcohol may increase the risk of the following adverse outcomes:

  • DUI
  • Vehicular accidents
  • Physical assaults
  • Legal complications
  • Becoming a victim of crime
  • Inadvisable sexual experiences
  • Sexually assaults

Liver damage

Both alcohol and Vyvanse can cause liver damage. When the substances are combined, liver damage can develop even more rapidly. Additionally, Vyvanse may cause you to consume more alcohol, further worsening liver damage.

Episodes of depression and anxiety

Chronic alcohol abuse is associated with anxiety and depression. When alcohol is combined with Vyvanse, these negative effects may be intensified.

Heightened risk of psychosis

If you experience any symptoms of psychosis like delusions and hallucinations, symptoms may be inflamed by combining Vyvanse and alcohol. The combination of these substances may also trigger psychosis.

Misuse, abuse, and addiction

Both ADHD medications like Vyvanse and alcohol are potentially addictive substances. Those diagnosed with ADHD are already at an increased risk of developing substance abuse issues. The risk is further compounded when prescription drugs are mixed with alcohol.

The combined use of stimulants and depressants may lead to polysubstance abuse issues. This can prompt severe physical and mental health complications, as well as addiction. If you need help, reach out to Renaissance Recovery Center in Huntington Beach.

Addiction Treatment at Renaissance Recovery

If you have been abusing alcohol or prescription medications like Vyvanse, build the firmest foundation for sustained sobriety at Renaissance Recovery in Huntington Beach.

For those suffering from addictions with co-occurring mental health disorders, we offer coordinated dual diagnosis treatment. Unpack both conditions simultaneously with expert guidance and emotional support.

If you require assistance with drug or alcohol withdrawal, we can help you find licensed medical detox centers throughout Southern California.

Choose from the following treatment programs at Renaissance’s affordable luxury rehab center:

  • PHPs (partial hospitalization programs)
  • IOPs (intensive outpatient programs)
  • Virtual IOPs (remote rehab programs)

All treatment programs offer individualized treatment for all types of addictions and polysubstance use issues. Expect to engage with various holistic and science-backed therapies, such as:

Medication-assisted treatment

  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Experiential adventure therapy
  • Holistic therapy

Addiction is a chronic and relapsing condition, so your treatment team will equip you with a robust aftercare package that includes coping techniques, relapse management strategies, and access to the Renaissance Recovery alumni program. We are here to help you throughout your ongoing recovery from alcohol and Vyvanse addiction. Call 866.330.9449 today for immediate assistance.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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