Vyvanse is a prescription medication that is designed to offer long-lasting help to people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The medication stays active for such a long time that people are often advised to take just one dose per day.
That single dose keeps working throughout the day and night, helping people with ADHD to achieve the focus and control that might elude them without the help of medications.
But do people who take large doses of Vyvanse clear the drug from their bodies in a day? And can people pass a drug test within a day or two of drug use? The answers to these questions are more complex, and they involve a bit of knowledge of chemistry.
The chemical name for Vyvanse is lisdexamfetamine dimesylate. The medication is designed to be swallowed, and it moves through the digestive tract just like any other medication. As it is digested, the body makes a crucial chemical change to the medication, transforming it into a form of amphetamine salt. It is this amphetamine that enhances focus in people with ADHD. The amphetamine also can boost feelings of euphoria and spark the path to drug abuse and/or drug addiction.
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According to research published in the journal Pharmacy and Therapeutics, the maximum amount of amphetamine found in the bloodstream of someone taking Vyvanse happens somewhere between three and 12 hours. At that point, about half of the drug has been metabolized by the body, and after that point is reached, the body begins to process the remainder of the drug in a slow taper that allows sobriety to return.
The foods you eat while taking the medication can slow down this process. Eating a meal that is very high in fat, for example, can make it harder for your body to process the drugs in your system.
Your body is working on digesting other elements, and that might lead to a delay in processing and eliminating the drug. The health of your body, your weight, your sex, and more can also influence how quickly the drug moves through you.
It’s possible that your body can’t convert part of the dose you take into amphetamines. When that happens, the non-converted ingredients pass out of your body through your urine. According to documents submitted by the manufacturer to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, doses of an unconverted drug can no longer be found in the bloodstream after about eight hours. The amphetamine portion of your dose can persist within your body for a much longer time.
In a study conducted with rats, published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, researchers measured how long they could detect amphetamines in the blood of rats given Vyvanse. After 24 hours, amphetamines were still present at detectable levels, although those levels were dropping hour by hour.
Humans aren’t rats, so it is highly possible that human bodies could process the drug much more efficiently and clear the drug altogether in a shorter time. But results like this do suggest the drug can linger within the body for long periods, meaning that those hoping to hide drug use from those who test for abuse could have something to worry about.
It is important to note that the substance can linger even when people can no longer feel the impact. According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation in Australia, people who take most amphetamines can feel the impact within about 30 minutes of swallowing the dose, and typically, the high does not last long.
This is, in part, what makes amphetamines so dangerous. People feel a big high and then feel that high slip away quickly. They then take another dose to make the high last longer, and that repeated dosing can cause an immense amount of damage to the brain in a short period.
If you’ve binged on Vyvanse or another type of amphetamine, you may feel as though the drug cannot stay in your body for long periods since the high is so fleeting. In reality, the drug can persist. If you are hoping to pass a drug test despite your Vyvanse use, that persistence could cause you trouble.
Drug tests are often part of an employment screening process, but they can also be useful for doctors and clinicians. Some drug screening tests help doctors understand the last time you took a specific substance, and results can also help your doctor to understand how much you take in a dose.
When in a laboratory, technicians test your urine for amphetamines and other illicit drugs. According to an article in Clinical Chemistry, an amphetamine test reading of 1,000 μg/L (1,000 micrograms per liter) or higher is a positive result.
Research from the University of Rochester Medical Center suggests that it’s common for people to test positive for amphetamines if they have taken the drug between one day and four days ago, but those who take amphetamines often can have positive tests for up to a week after the last dose.
Urine tests can help your doctor and others understand if you’ve taken a drug like Vyvanse, but for specific results about how much you took, your doctor may need to perform a blood test. These tests are more expensive to administer, but the results they offer can be much more specific and detailed.
The University of Rochester Medical Center reports that amphetamine levels in the blood of 0.2 mg/L (milligrams per liter) could indicate therapeutic use, but levels higher than that indicate abuse could be happening. Again, amphetamines can appear in the blood for at least 24 hours, if not longer.
Hair samples are meant to help someone know if you’ve taken a substance within the time in which your hair has been growing. Your body can place metabolites of drugs within the strand of your hair as it grows from your head, and as long as that hair is on your head, the test result might be positive. According to the journal Analytica Chimica Acta, amphetamines appear in hair within a week or two of use, and they persist despite hair washing.
Failing a drug test could be the first step toward a healthier future. When you have failed a drug test, it’s hard to hide the fact that you’ve been using a drug. With the results of a blood test, your doctor might know just how much of the drug you have been taking. It can be embarrassing or even painful to admit that you have been taking drugs, but when you do so, people can begin to help you. The guidance they offer can mean everything for you and your future.
Addictions can leave you feeling as though you have no options and no future. Treatment can change that. In treatment, you can come to understand why you abused drugs. You can gain the control you never thought you had. You can truly heal.
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(May 2010). Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate (Vyvanse), A Prodrug Stimulant for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Pharmacy and Therapeutics. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2873712/
(February 2007). Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate). New River Pharmaceuticals. from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/021977lbl.pdf
(June 2010). Absorption of Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate and its Enzymatic Conversion to D-Amphetamine. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/021977lbl.pdf
Amphetamines. Alcohol and Drug Foundation. from https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/amphetamines/
(October 2002). Duration of Detectable Methamphetamine and Amphetamine Excretion in Urine After Controlled Oral Administration of Methamphetamine to Humans. Clinical Chemistry. from http://clinchem.aaccjnls.org/content/48/10/1703
Amphetamine Screen (Urine). University of Rochester Medical Center. from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=amphetamine_urine_screen
Amphetamine Screen (Blood). University of Rochester Medical Center. from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=167&ContentID=amphetamine_blood_screen
(May 2013). Incorporation of Methamphetamine and Amphetamine in Human Hair Following Controlled Oral Methamphetamine Administration. Analytica Chimica Acta. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3391534/