Compare Vyvanse vs. Kapvay

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



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.Treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Kapvay (clonidine) is one of the few medicines for ADHD that isn't a stimulant and not addictive, but it can lower your blood pressure.
Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Vyvanse
of people (All ages) say Vyvanse is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
491 reviews
Have you used Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Kapvay (clonidine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
  • Decreased appetite 35%
  • Sleep difficulty 20%
  • Abdominal pain upper 6%
  • Irritability 10%
  • Any side effect 8%
  • Vomiting 5%
  • Weight loss 8%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Dry mouth 5%
  • Dizziness 5%
More Vyvanse side effects »
  • Sleepiness 34%
  • Headache 4%
  • Fatigue 15%
  • Upper abdominal pain 3%
  • Irritability 5%
  • Dizziness 2%
  • Sleep difficulty 4%
  • Emotional disorder 3%
  • Nightmare 4%
  • Nausea 1%
More Kapvay side effects »
How it works
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.Kapvay (clonidine) is an alpha-2 agonist. It's not entirely clear how it works for ADHD, but it lowers the activity of certain stress hormones in the brain.
Type of medication
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • 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
Detailed Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) risks & warnings »
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Stopping Kapvay (clonidine) suddenly
Detailed Kapvay (clonidine) risks & warnings »

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.

  • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
No alcohol related info.
No sleep related info.
  • People who take Kapvay (clonidine) can feel very sleepy during the day. It can be worse if you're taking other medicines that also make you sleepy, like pain medicines, or medicines for anxiety. Be very careful driving or doing anything that requires your full concentration until you know how your body reacts to it.
  • Can cause drowsiness, headache, dizziness, and dry mouth.
Upsides and benefits
  • 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.
  • Can be used alone or together with a stimulant-type medicine to treat ADHD.
  • Also treats blood pressure and some nervous system and psychiatric conditions.
  • Kapvay (clonidine) is available in generic.
Downsides and risks
  • 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.
  • It's a controlled medication and should be locked up to prevent potential abuse.
  • Not safe for people with a history of heart problems.
  • Kapvay (clonidine) is not a first choice medicine to treat ADHD.
  • Kapvay (clonidine) can make you feel very dizzy or cause low blood pressure.
  • Stopping Kapvay (clonidine) suddenly can cause your blood pressure to jump and your heart to beat very fast.
  • It can take up to two weeks of taking Kapvay (clonidine) to notice any changes in behavior.
  • Kapvay (clonidine) has to be swallowed whole, which can be hard for some children to do.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
  • 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.
  • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
  • Store it in a locked area to prevent abuse.
  • It can cause changes in your mood.
  • Can raise your blood pressure and pulse, so it's not safe for people with heart problems.
  • Can cause drowsiness, headache, dizziness, and dry mouth.
  • You might have to take Kapvay (clonidine) for at least two weeks before you notice any changes.
  • Don't stop taking this medicine suddenly without talking to your doctor.
  • Swallow Kapvay (clonidine) whole. Don't chew, cut or crush the pill.
  • If you forget your daily dose of Kapvay (clonidine), skip it for that day. Don't double up the next day.
Learn more
More about VyvanseSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about KapvaySide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Kapvay (clonidine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it