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Is Vyvanse a controlled substance / narcotic drug?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on May 25, 2022.

Official answer


Key Points

  • Vyvanse (generic name: lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) is a Schedule II federally controlled substance in the United States. Vyvanse is not a narcotic. It is in the class of drugs known as central nervous system (CNS) stimulants.
  • Vyvanse is a schedule C-II controlled substance because it’s ingredient, lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, is converted to dextroamphetamine (the active agent) in the body. Dextroamphetamine is also classified as a C-II drug.
  • Vyvanse contains a Boxed Warning, the most stringent FDA warning for prescription drugs, that states that CNS stimulants (amphetamines and methylphenidate-containing products), including Vyvanse, have a high potential for abuse and dependence.
  • Your doctor will assess your risk of abuse prior to prescribing Vyvanse, and monitor you for signs of abuse and dependence while on therapy.

Why is Vyvanse a Schedule II drug?

Within the federal U.S.Controlled Substances Act there are five schedules (I-V) that are used to classify drugs based upon their abuse potential, accepted medical applications, safety and potential for addiction.

Vyvanse has been placed in Schedule II by the DEA. Drugs that are placed in Schedule II:

  • have a high potential for abuse.
  • have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S. or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.
  • are drugs where abuse of the drug may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Vyvanse is used for treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children ages 6 to 17 years of age, as well as moderate-to-severe binge eating disorder (BED) in adults.

Vyvanse is converted to dextroamphetamine in the body after a dose is taken. Dextroamphetamine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, in the same class of methylphenidate (brand examples: Ritalin, Daytrana) or amphetamine (brand example: Adzenys XR-ODT).

Is Vyvanse an opioid?

No, Vyvanse is not an opioid or narcotic, but it still can cause addiction or an overdose. Vyvanse is a CNS stimulant approved by the FDA to treat attention deficit activity disorder (ADHD) and binge eating disorder (BED).

Opioids are a class of drugs primarily used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. Examples of common C-II prescription opioids in the U.S. include hydrocodone (brand example: Hysingla ER), oxycodone (brand examples: Oxycontin, Xtampza ER) and morphine.

If you or someone you know has taken too much Vyvanse, either by accident or on purpose, call 911 and get emergency help immediately. An overdose of Vyvanse can be deadly.

Signs or symptoms that someone may show if they have overdosed include:

  • agitation, restlessness, panic
  • blurred vision
  • blood pressure changes
  • fast breathing
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • muscle cramps or pain
  • trembling
  • diarrhea
  • heart palpitations, irregular heart rhythm
  • confusion, hallucinations
  • attempt to harm themselves or others
  • sweating
  • overactive reflexes
  • seizures
  • coma

Should I keep Vyvanse locked-up?

Because Vyvanse is a controlled substance with a high potential for abuse, misuse and addiction, Vyvanse should always be stored in a safe place that is preferably locked, like a locked cabinet. Store at room temperature (68°F to 77°F / 20°C to 25°C) and protect from light.

Do not give or sell Vyvanse to anyone else. Selling or giving Vyvanse to others may harm them and it is against the law.

If you stop taking Vyvanse, you should dispose of the remaining unused or expired drug by a medicine take-back program. Contact your local pharmacy and ask about the next DEA “Take Back Day” in your community where you can safely dispose of controlled substances.

Bottom Line

  • Vyvanse is a Schedule II federally controlled substance in the class of prescription drugs known as central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. It is not a narcotic (opioid). However, Vyvanse is still associated with the potential for misuse, abuse, dependence and overdose.
  • Vyvanse should always be stored in a safe place, preferably a locked cabinet. It is against the law to give or sell Vyvanse to anyone else.
  • If you stop taking Vyvanse, you should dispose of the remaining unused or expired drug by a DEA medicine take-back program. Ask your pharmacist where these are held in your community.

This is not all the information you need to know about Vyvanse for safe and effective use. Review the full product information here, and discuss this information with your doctor or other health care provider.


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