Compare Vyvanse vs. Ritalin

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

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Ritalin (methylphenidate)

Prescription only
Helps you focus and stay alert.

Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) is a first-choice treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, but it can be expensive since it's only available as a brand name product.

3.7/ 5 average rating with 491 reviewsforVyvanse
Helps you focus and stay alert.

Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD that comes in many different forms, but you need to take this medication more often than alternatives.

3.5/ 5 average rating with 526 reviewsforRitalin
Upsides
  • Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) is a first-choice medication to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • It is usually dosed once a day, so parents don't need to send the medication with their children to school.
  • Can take the capsule as a whole or mix the contents with water, orange juice, or yogurt.
  • Available as a chewable pill form.
  • First-choice medication to treat ADHD because it is cheap and effective.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) is used with counseling and other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
  • Available as a generic medication.
  • Available in many different forms: extended-release and immediate-release tablets, chewable tablet, and liquid.
  • Preferred medicine for elderly with ADHD or narcolepsy because it is safer than alternatives for this population.
Downsides
  • Need to take Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) in the morning, otherwise it can cause difficulty sleeping at night.
  • Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) is not available as a generic medication, so it is expensive.
  • This medicine has the potential for abuse and dependence.
  • Can cause serious side effects for the heart.
  • Can also slow growth in children and cause weight loss.
  • Need to take Ritalin (methylphenidate) 2 or 3 times a day compared to other ADHD medications which you can take once daily.
  • Can raise your blood pressure and pulse, so its not safe for people with heart problems.
  • It's a controlled medication (CII), so you may need to get a new prescription each month from your doctor.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) may affect growth in children and teens in some cases.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) contains a mixture of active and inactive compounds (dexmethylphenidate and methylphenidate, respectively), which may not work as well for some people.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
Price
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Reviews
491 reviews so far
67%
saidit'sworth it
49%
saiditworked well
17%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)?

Leave a review
526 reviews so far
60%
saidit'sworth it
42%
saiditworked well
19%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Ritalin (methylphenidate)?

Leave a review
Side effects
15possible side effects
  • Decreased appetite
    27%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    27%
  • Dry mouth
    26%
  • Diarrhea
    7%
  • Nausea
    7%
  • Anxiety
    6%
  • Loss of appetite
    5%
  • Feeling jittery
    4%
  • Agitation
    3%
  • Increased blood pressure
    3%
  • Sweating
    3%
  • Restlessness
    3%
  • Difficulty breathing
    2%
  • Increased heart rate
    2%
  • Tremor
    2%
See more detailed side effects
17possible side effects
  • Lowered appetite
    25%
  • Headache
    22%
  • Dry mouth
    14%
  • Nausea
    13%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    12%
  • Anxiety
    8%
  • Weight loss
    7%
  • Dizziness
    7%
  • Irritability
    6%
  • Fast heartbeat
    5%
  • Sweating
    5%
  • Depression
    4%
  • Stomach pain
    2%
  • Loss of appetite
    2%
  • Vomiting
    2%
  • Blurry vision
    2%
  • Aggressive behavior
    2%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • High blood pressure
    • Taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) 14 days before starting Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)
  • Abuse and dependence
    • History of drug abuse
  • Serious or life-threatening cardiovascular events
    • History of heart problems
  • Aggressive behavior and psychosis
    • History of psychotic episodes
    • History of bipolar disorder
  • Long-term growth suppression
    • Children ages 6 to 12
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Abuse and dependence
    • History of drug abuse
    • Alcoholism
  • Serious or life-threatening heart problems
    • History of heart problems
  • Aggressive behavior and psychiatric symptoms
    • History of psychotic episodes
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • History of Tourette's syndrome
  • Height and weight delay in children
    • Children
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
  • Circulation problems in the hands and feet
See more detailed risks and warnings