New Information on Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate

Dr. Ballas Health Guide
  • The APA 60th Institute on Psychiatric Services recently ended in Chicago, and the results of many research projects were presented there for the first time. ADHD is so common, has such wide ranging affects on patients lives, and the treatment have been very effective so far, so naturally there were a number of projects on treatment of this disorder. Medications for ADHD have been around for half a century, and one of the newest medications, lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanese) was the focus of several presentations at this APA conference. This medication gained approval by the FDA for treatment of ADHD in adults in April 2008. Some of the research that led to this approval was the topic of a study at this convention. 

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    One study showed that among 420 adults with ADHD, lisdexamfetamine dimesylate was found safe and effective in treating healthy adults with ADHD without a huge impact on their heart health or sleep. People who participated in this study were aged 18 to 55, had no serious heart problems, and no serious high blood pressure. They either received a placebo or a dosage of the medication for 4 weeks. Both groups were repeatedly evaluated for mental and physical health. 


    The study showed that people taking the medication did have a slight increase in their heart rate, but they did not have seriously elevated blood pressure or changes on their ECG. The increase in heart rate was similar to the increase in heart rate that known to happen with other stimulants. A few subjects did experience certain heart related side effects, including slight elevation in blood pressure, some shortness of breath, or heart palpitations and did leave the study due to these symptoms. No serious adverse events occurred in any of the participants of the study. 


    Sleep is an important area of concern in ADHD. Stimulant medications are notorious for causing insomnia as a side effect, and people with ADHD have more problems sleeping well than people without the illness. A study of the same participants of the above study showed that lisdexamfetamine dimesylate did not affect their sleep and in fact improved their overall ability to function during the daytime. Roughly 20 percent of the people taking the medication did experience insomnia when the medication was started, but it got better with time. 


    These studies show that lisdexamfetamine dimesylate is similar to other stimulant medications used to treat ADHD in their affects on the heart and sleep. I'm glad that there is another option I can offer to adults who have ADHD, because a sizeable number of people with the illness don't respond to the first medication. If you've had only partial success with treatment of ADHD, ask your doctor about other medication options, many people who don't respond to one medication respond to another. 

Published On: October 27, 2008