Vyvanse Interaction with Alcohol

Authored by The Rx Advocates, / Medically Reviewed by Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS

Vyvanse is a stimulant. It is a prescription used for attention, alertness, and energy levels. It can help treat certain conditions. This includes Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Stimulants are a commonly used medication in the U.S. for numerous conditions. Vyvanse is prescribed for children as young as six and into adulthood. Alcohol is readily available. It is important to understand how stimulants, like Vyvanse, may interact with alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant. Using Vyvanse and alcohol together will cause a counteractive response and possibly life-threatening side effects.

How Does Alcohol Affect Conditions?

Drinking alcohol in large amounts is dangerous. Drinking a lot or binge drinking can lead to poor mental health. Short-term effects of alcohol slow down communication in the brain. Alcohol can damage and destroy brain cells when used in large amounts for a long time.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects the brain in how a person focuses. It may cause a lack of impulsive control. When drinking with ADHD, alcohol can worsen symptoms. Alcohol can cause someone with ADHD to act more impulsively than normal. People left untreated with ADHD are more likely to develop alcohol use disorder. While ADHD people who are properly treated with stimulants are less likely to abuse substances. It is important to diagnose and treat ADHD appropriately and early.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) makes it difficult for people to control their eating behavior, and negative emotions like guilt usually follow eating. Alcohol consumption can make you feel hungry. So drinking with BED can worsen symptoms. Binge eaters have an increased risk of binge drinking. Seeking proper BED treatment is important.

Can You Drink Alcohol When Taking Vyvanse?

Vyvanse is a stimulant medication. Stimulant medications are central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. They are for mental health and neurological conditions. Stimulants work by raising levels of signals in the brain. One signal affected is norepinephrine. This helps control the brain’s attention and response. One signal affected is norepinephrine. Another signal affected is dopamine. This affects the brain’s feelings of reward and pleasure. Abnormal levels of dopamine may cause people to act more impulsively. Alcohol inhibits certain brain signals. It can make it more difficult for Vyvanse to do its prescribed job. In extreme cases, mixing alcohol with Vyvanse can have dangerous side effects (please see below).

What About Mild Alcohol Consumption?

Some people are not heavy drinkers. They may only have an occasional drink here and there. It’s a common question to ask, “Is having one or two drinks okay while taking Vyvanse?” Alcohol affects individuals in different ways. Some individuals metabolize alcohol from their system faster than others. Genetics, age, and medical history can vary alcohol’s interaction with stimulants. Because of this, the answer is not straightforward. It’s important to discuss this question with your medical provider.

Who is More At Risk When Combining Alcohol and Vyvanse?

Different factors can affect who is at risk. Age can affect how Vyvanse and alcohol interact. For example, when a person is older, alcohol can stay in your system longer. Also, sex from birth is a consideration. Females assigned at birth are more at risk of alcohol and Vyvanse interactions. This is due to females assigned at birth having less body water than males assigned at birth. The liver removes alcohol from your body. The liver needs to remove alcohol from your body. Any person who has liver problems needs to be aware of the effects of alcohol with or without Vyvanse.

How Do Vyvanse and Alcohol Interact?

Alcohol is a depressant. Depressants slow down brain signals. Vyvanse is a stimulant. Stimulants speed up brain signals. When used together, they will counteract each other. When counteracting, stimulant medications can blunt the effects of alcohol. This makes you feel less intoxicated than you are. This can lead to increased consumption of alcohol to compensate. And you are then at risk of overindulging with alcohol.

What are the Common Side Effects?

Mixing Vyvanse and alcohol can affect your heart and blood pressure. This leads to jitters, palpitations, and irregular heart rates. This can cause your heart to need to work harder. Alcohol can increase the side effects of Vyvanse. For some, it can cause irritability or anxiety. Other common side effects are dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty focusing.

What are Serious Side Effects?

Combining alcohol and Vyvanse can disrupt communication between brain cells. This may impact judgment and decision-making. People who have combined alcohol and Vyvanse should not operate a vehicle. Since combining Vyvanse and alcohol causes your heart to work harder, you will have an increased risk of developing heart problems. In some cases, it can result in chest pain and heart attacks.

When Should You Seek Medical Attention?

Alcohol and stimulant consumption can increase the risk of alcohol poisoning. This requires immediate medical attention. The signs of alcohol poisoning include:
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty staying awake
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Slow heart rate
  • Clammy skin
  • Bluish or pale skin
  • Seizure
Alcohol and stimulant consumption can increase the life-threatening risk of stimulant overdose. The signs of stimulant overdose include:
  • Tremors
  • Jerking Limbs
  • Chest pain
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety or Paranoia
If experiencing alcohol poisoning or stimulant overdose, call 911 or Poison Control. Combining alcohol and stimulants may cause a heart attack. The signs of a heart attack include:
  • Chest discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in arms or shoulders
  • Pain in jaw, neck, stomach, or back

When Can You Resume Alcohol Consumption After Stopping Use of Vyvanse?

You can develop withdrawal symptoms when stopping Vyvanse. Please discuss stopping use with your medical provider. Vyvanse can take approximately 3 days to leave your system. But this is dependent on many factors. The factors include your age, medical history, and other medications you may be taking. You must always discuss with your medical provider when it is appropriate for you to resume alcohol use.

What Similar Medications are Not Affected by Alcohol?

Other medications can be used to treat ADHD and BED, which include: To manage these conditions, the medications must change brain chemical levels. So there are no alternatives that can treat ADHD or BED that are safe to take with alcohol.

How to Get Vyvanse?

Do you need help getting Vyvanse or another medication for ADHD or BED? Please contact The Rx Advocates so we can assist you with the process from start to finish.
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