The Sexual Side Effects Of Vyvanse
Vyvanse is a stimulant medication belonging to the amphetamine drug class. Because of its effects on human neurotransmitter levels and central nervous system arousal, Vyvanse is known to sometimes influence sex drive and performance in those who use it.
- attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children young as five
- binge eating disorder (BED) in adults
Vyvanse is FDA-approved and is generally considered to be safe for long-term therapeutic use. However, it is also associated with a variety of potential side effects, which may include hypersexuality and other effects relating to sexuality and reproduction.
Amphetamines & Sexuality
When taken into the body, lisdexamfetamine is metabolized by enzymes in the liver to form dextroamphetamine, an amphetamine class drug.
Amphetamines are central nervous system stimulants that increase the activity of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which in turn increases one’s energy level, wakefulness, concentration, and sense of wellbeing.
These effects are ideal for treating juvenile and adult ADHD, which is believed to be caused by chronically low levels of dopamine.
Dopamine & Serotonin Boost
Boosting a person’s dopamine and norepinephrine levels has also been associated with increasing sex drive, extroversion, blood flow, and arousal, especially in males. This may sometimes lead to Vyvanse-linked hypersexuality.
Paradoxically, increases in serotonin level are strongly associated with reduced sexual interest and ability, as is the case with many serotonin-focused antidepressants. This means that Vyvanse may, on occasion, also reduce a person’s sex drive or contribute to sexual dysfunction.
Sexual thoughts and urges are a normal part of daily life for both adults and adolescents, and these naturally ebb and flow over time.
Hypersexuality, in contrast, describes when a person’s sexual interest, urges, and activity becomes abnormally and problematically stimulated, sometimes to the point that sexual preoccupation interferes with one’s daily life and relationships or causes someone to begin practicing risky and out of character sexual behavior.
More specifically, a person experiencing hypersexuality may:
- have intense sexual fantasies and frequent or intrusive sexual thoughts, especially in response to negative feelings of boredom, anxiety, depression, or stress
- engage in excessive sexual activity, often including viewing pornography, masturbation, having sex, visiting strip clubs, etc.
- engage in high-risk sexual activity of various kinds
- be unable to curb, control, or reduce their libido
While hypersexual is a known side effect of Vyvanse use, not all individuals who use Vyvanse will experience it, or experience an increase in libido to the point that it becomes problematic or unmanageable.
In fact, according to some studies around half those who take Vyvanse or similar ADHD modifications report experiencing no change in their sex drives at all.
Hypersexuality & Vyvanse Overdose
Acute hypersexuality and impaired inhibition are also common signs of heavy amphetamine abuse and intoxication, along with euphoria, aggression, panic, extreme changes in heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, and disorganized thinking and movement.
- heart attack
- hallucinations and psychosis
- depression and mental health issues
- chronic sleep problems
- premature or sudden death
- stimulant dependence and addiction
Vyvanse & Reduced Sex Drive
The impact of stimulant drugs on sexual desire and performance is complex and seems to change from individual to individual.
While many of those who have been studied have generally reported increases in libido, others have reported their sexual interest decreasing, possibly as a result of the medications improving their overall wellness and impulsivity.
The effects of Vyvanse on a person’s sex life also appear to be dose dependent. Lower doses may be more likely to stimulate male sexual libido while chronic, high-dose abuse of Vyvanse or other amphetamine ADHD medications may cause problems with libido and with sexual function, including:
- delayed ejaculation and erectile dysfunction in males
- difficulty achieving orgasm or experiencing pain during sexual stimulation in females
In fact, sexual dysfunction and impotence are listed as potential (though uncommon) side effects of Vyvanse as well as similar medications like Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine), Ritalin (methylphenidate), and Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine).
Other Vyvanse Side Effects
The most common side effects of Vyvanse use, at therapeutic doses, include:
- dry mouth
- loss of appetite and weight loss
- stomach or abdominal pain
However, other serious side-effects and adverse effects may also occur, especially if the medication is not taken as prescribed. These should be referred to a healthcare professional if they do occur.
Minimizing Vyvanse’s Sexual Side Effects
If the side-effects of your medication don’t improve as your body adjusts, let your healthcare provider know. They may lower your dosage or move you to another medication (including certain non-stimulant medications), if needed.
If you or a loved one are experiencing side effects as a result of abusing Vyvanse, please consider reaching out to the Ohio Recovery Center today. We provide effective, evidence-based treatment to manage stimulant abuse and addiction, including:
Contact us today to learn more.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/208510lbl.pdf
- Frontiers in Psychology https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9148957/
- The Journal of Sexual Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26147855/