Strattera vs. Vyvanse: Comparison of two ADHD medications

Strattera vs. Vyvanse Comparison of two ADHD medications

Strattera and Vyvanse are FDA approved drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, these prescription drugs do not match. Strattera is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Vyvanse is a stimulant. These drugs work differently, and they carry individual risks of side effects.


Strattera is a trademark of atomoxetine hydrochloride. Although many SNRIs are used to treat depression, Strattera is used only for ADHD. It works by changing the way your brain absorbs chemical norepinephrine, as well as how these chemical acts in your body. Norepinephrine affects your overall mood. By changing how it works in your body, Strattera can:

  1. Reduction of hyperactivity.
  2. Attention improvement.
  3. Decrease in impulsive behavior.


Vyvanse is a trademark of lidecamphetamine-dimesylate. This is amphetamine. Like Strattera, Vyvanse also changes brain chemicals. However, it targets dopamine as well as norepinephrine. It is believed that this drug helps maintain dopamine in the brain and helps stimulate the release of norepinephrine. As a result, more of these chemicals are available to stimulate the brain. It helps to attract attention and focus. Because Vyvanse does not become active until it is in your digestive system, its potential for abuse may be less than the risk of other stimulants that act as soon as they are in your body.

Vyvanse is a long-acting drug. It enters your body in an inactive form. When you digest the medicine, your body slowly turns it into its active form. Then it starts working. You take Vyvanse once a day. By taking it in the morning, you get the maximum benefits while you are awake.

The price of Vyvanse depends on several things: your insurance coverage, your daily dosage and the pharmacy where you shop. The average cash price for a 30-day supply of Vyvanse is up to about $300, according to, which allows users to shop for prescriptions locally, based on zip code.

Dosage and Administration

Both Strattera and Vyvanse can be used in people 6 years and older to treat ADHD. For any drug, your doctor will start you at the lowest dose and then increase the dosage as needed. The dosage for both drugs depends on factors such as age and weight.

You may have an increased risk of side effects from Strattera if you have:

  • high blood pressure;
  • liver disease;
  • depression history.

The following conditions may also increase the risk of side effects from either drug:

  • drug or alcohol abuse;
  • glaucoma;
  • heart disease;
  • hypertension;
  • irregular heart rate;
  • overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism);
  • psychosis.

Both drugs can cause serious cardiovascular events, including sudden death, in people with pre-existing heart abnormalities.

You and your doctor should consider possible drug interactions when you are taking any medications. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe more than one drug for ADHD. Both Strattera and Vyvanse can interact with certain types of antidepressants, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and tricyclic antidepressants.

You can find detailed information about other drugs that can interact with both of these drugs in the Healthline articles on Strattera and Vyvanse. Some of these drugs may require a dose adjustment, and some should not be used with Strattera. That is why it is important for you to tell your doctor about all the medicines you use, including over-the-counter medicines, herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements.

Stimulants, such as Vyvanse, are the most common form of treatment for ADHD. They often work quickly in the body so that the medicine can alleviate the symptoms more quickly. However, this does not mean that stimulants are your only option. Strattera is one example of drugs with ADHD that do not fall under the general class of drugs like a stimulant.

Ultimately, you and your doctor can decide which of these two ADHD drugs may work best for you. It is important to remember that there is no medicine for ADHD. However, you can get relief from the symptoms with consistent treatment.