Compare Ritalin vs. Vyvanse

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Concerta
(Methylphenidate)

Vyvanse
(Lisdexamfetamine)

Helps you focus and stay alert. Concerta (Methylphenidate) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD. It comes in many different forms and is also available as a generic. That said, the immediate-release form needs to be taken more frequently than other alternatives.Helps you focus and stay alert. Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD and you only have to take it once a day. However, it's only available as brand name drug, so it can be expensive.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.770873786407767Ritalin
Reviews for Concerta (Methylphenidate)
59%
of people say Concerta (Methylphenidate) is worth it
41%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine)
65%
+6% vs. Concerta (Methylphenidate)
46%
+5% vs. Concerta (Methylphenidate)
18%
+1% vs. Concerta (Methylphenidate)
Side effects
RitalinVyvanse

The Ritalin FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Ritalin side effects »
  • Decreased appetite 35%
  • Dry mouth 23%
  • Sleep difficulty 19%
  • Any side effect 8%
  • Abdominal pain upper 6%
  • Vomiting 5%
  • Drowsiness 1%
  • Fever 1%
More Vyvanse side effects »
How it works
RitalinVyvanse
Concerta (Methylphenidate) is a stimulant. Researchers don't know exactly how it works for ADHD, but it increases norepinephrine and dopamine activity in the brain, which affects attention and behavior.Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) is an amphetamine stimulant. Researchers don't know exactly how it works for ADHD, but it increases norepinephrine and dopamine activity in the brain, which affects attention and behavior.
Type of medication
RitalinVyvanse
StimulantPrescription only
StimulantPrescription only
Available as
RitalinVyvanse
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Oral solution
  • Liquid
  • Patch
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
RitalinVyvanse
Risk factors for serious side effects
RitalinVyvanse
  • History of heart problems
  • History of psychotic episodes
  • History of Bipolar Disorder
  • Children ages 7 to 10
  • History of drug abuse
  • History of seizures
      Detailed Concerta (Methylphenidate) risks & warnings »
      • Taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) 14 days before starting
      • History of drug abuse
      • History of heart problems
      • History of psychotic episodes
      • History of Bipolar Disorder
      • Children ages 6 to 12
        Detailed Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy category
        RitalinVyvanse
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        Alcohol
        • Patients should avoid alcohol since it'll cause worse side effects from Concerta (Methylphenidate).
        • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
        • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
        Food
        No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
        Kidneys and liver
        No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
        Sex
        • There have been reports of men having an erection lasting more than 4 hours while on Concerta (Methylphenidate). This has been rare and usually happened after a person's dose of Concerta (Methylphenidate) was increased. If not treated in time, this can cause permanent damage to your penis, including impotence. Talk to your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if this happens.
        No specific sex-related info.
        Sleep
        No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
        Weight
        • Appetite suppression may occur. In clinical studies, long-term treatment with stimulants similar to Concerta (Methylphenidate) caused a temporary slowing of growth rate (both height and weight) in children ages seven to ten years. Doctors should monitor children's growth during treatment.
        • Appetite suppression may occur. In clinical studies, long-term treatment with stimulants similar to Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) caused a temporary slowing of growth rate (both height and weight) in children ages six to twelve years. Doctors should monitor children's growth during treatment.
        Upsides and benefits
        RitalinVyvanse
        • Concerta (Methylphenidate) is used in combination with counseling or other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
        • Available as a generic medication.
        • Available in many different forms: extended-release and immediate-release oral tablets, chewable immediate-release tablets, liquid, suspension, and skin patches.
        • Capsules can be opened and sprinkled in water or applesauce for people who don't like swallowing pills.
        • First-choice medication to treat ADHD.
        • Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) is used in combination with counseling or other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
        • Usually dosed once a day, so parents don't need to send the medication with their children to school.
        • The capsule can be taken whole, or opened into a glass of water or orange juice, or swallowed in a spoonful of yogurt.
        • First-choice medication to treat ADHD.
        Downsides and risks
        RitalinVyvanse
        • The immediate-release form needs to be taken two or three times a day.
        • After taking Concerta, the tablet shell can be seen in your stool, but don't be concerned since the medication was still absorbed by your body.
        • The second or third dose needs be taken by early afternoon, otherwise insomnia can affect you that night.
        • Patients should avoid alcohol since it'll cause worse side effects from Concerta (Methylphenidate).
        • It's a controlled medication and should be locked up to prevent potential abuse.
        • Has to be taken in the morning, otherwise it can cause insomnia later that night.
        • Not available as a generic medication, so it can be expensive.
        • Not safe for people with a history of heart problems.
        • It's a controlled medication and should be locked up to prevent potential abuse.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        RitalinVyvanse
        • Since it comes in many different forms, there are different requirements for how to take or use each type. Make sure you know how to take the one you have.
        • Store Concerta (Methylphenidate) in a locked area to prevent abuse.
        • Take it early in the morning to prevent insomnia later that night.
        • It can cause changes in your mood.
        • Can raise your blood pressure and pulse, so it's not safe for people with heart problems.
        • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
        • Take Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) early in the morning to prevent insomnia later that night.
        • Avoid driving the first few days that you take Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) until you know how your body reacts to it.
        • Store it in a locked area to prevent abuse.
        • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
        • It can cause changes in your mood.
        • Can raise your blood pressure and pulse, so it's not safe for people with heart problems.
        Learn more
        More about RitalinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about VyvanseSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert