Vyvanse Side Effects in Children: What Every Parent Should Know11 min read

Are you concerned about the potential side effects of Vyvanse in your child? As a parent, it’s natural to want the best for your child’s health and well-being. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of Vyvanse and its possible effects on children. Let’s explore what you need to be aware of to make informed decisions about your child’s treatment.

  • Common Side Effects: Discover the most frequently encountered side effects of Vyvanse.
  • Less Common Side Effects: Uncover the less typical but important effects that may affect your child.
  • Serious Side Effects: Learn about the rare but severe side effects that demand immediate attention.
  • Impact on Physical Health: Understand how Vyvanse can influence your child’s physical well-being.
  • Impact on Mental Health: Explore the potential impact of Vyvanse on your child’s mental health.
  • Managing Side Effects: Find out how to effectively manage and mitigate Vyvanse side effects.

The World of Vyvanse

Vyvanse is a prescription medication commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. It belongs to a class of drugs known as stimulants. Vyvanse works by increasing certain neurotransmitters in the brain, helping to improve focus and reduce impulsivity in children with ADHD.

Common Side Effects

While Vyvanse can be effective in managing ADHD symptoms, it may come with some common side effects. These can include appetite suppression, making it important to monitor your child’s eating habits while on the medication. Additionally, insomnia and irritability are not uncommon, so it’s crucial to be prepared for potential sleep disturbances and mood changes.

Less Common Side Effects

Less frequently observed side effects of Vyvanse may include stomachaches, headaches, and occasional mood swings. It’s essential to keep a close eye on your child’s overall well-being and communicate any discomfort they may experience.

  • Stomachaches: Some children may experience gastrointestinal discomfort while taking Vyvanse. Ensuring a balanced diet and proper hydration can help alleviate this issue.
  • Headaches: Headaches may occur sporadically. If they persist or worsen, consult your healthcare provider for guidance.
  • Mood Swings: While less common, mood swings can affect some children. Open communication with your child and their healthcare provider is crucial in addressing this side effect.

Understanding Serious Side Effects

Serious side effects of Vyvanse in children are rare but demand immediate attention. Chest pain, although uncommon, can occur and should never be ignored. Shortness of breath is another concerning symptom that requires prompt medical evaluation. Additionally, some children may experience psychiatric symptoms, such as hallucinations or extreme agitation. These situations should be taken very seriously, and you should contact a healthcare professional immediately.

Chest Pain

Chest pain in children taking Vyvanse should always be treated as an emergency. It could be a sign of an underlying heart condition or a severe reaction to the medication. Seek medical help without delay if your child complains of chest pain while on Vyvanse.

Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath can be frightening for both children and parents. If your child experiences difficulty breathing while on Vyvanse, consult a healthcare provider right away. It’s essential to rule out any serious respiratory issues or allergic reactions.

  • Allergic Reaction: In rare cases, shortness of breath may be a sign of an allergic reaction to Vyvanse. This can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

Psychiatric Symptoms

Psychiatric symptoms like hallucinations, paranoia, or extreme agitation can be alarming. While these side effects are rare, they should not be ignored. Consult your child’s healthcare provider immediately if you observe any unusual behavior or mood changes.

Handling Psychiatric Symptoms

  • Communication: Maintain open and honest communication with your child to understand their feelings and experiences.
  • Professional Help: Seek the assistance of a child psychiatrist or psychologist experienced in ADHD and related medications.
  • Medication Adjustment: Your healthcare provider may need to adjust the medication or explore alternative treatments to address psychiatric symptoms.

Impact on Physical Health

The use of Vyvanse in children may have several notable impacts on their physical health. Weight loss is one of the primary concerns, as the medication can suppress appetite, leading to reduced food intake. This can result in decreased body weight over time.

Weight Loss

Vyvanse’s effect on appetite can lead to weight loss in some children. It’s essential to monitor your child’s weight regularly while they are on the medication. If significant weight loss occurs, consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action.

Managing Weight Loss

  • Nutrition: Ensure that your child is receiving a balanced diet with adequate nutrients to support their growth.
  • Regular Monitoring: Regularly track your child’s weight and report any substantial or concerning changes to their healthcare provider.
  • Dietary Supplements: Your healthcare provider may recommend dietary supplements to address nutritional deficiencies if necessary.

Growth Suppression

In addition to weight loss, Vyvanse may lead to growth suppression in some children. This means that they may not grow at the expected rate during their treatment.

Addressing Growth Suppression

  • Height Monitoring: Regularly measure your child’s height to track growth patterns and share the data with their healthcare provider.
  • Dosage Adjustment: Your healthcare provider may consider adjusting the medication dosage to mitigate growth suppression while still managing ADHD symptoms effectively.

Impact on Mental Health

Vyvanse’s influence extends to a child’s mental health. It can affect their emotional well-being, potentially causing anxiety, depression, or, in rare cases, psychosis.


Some children may experience heightened anxiety while taking Vyvanse. This can manifest as nervousness, restlessness, or excessive worry.

Managing Anxiety

  • Open Dialogue: Encourage your child to express their feelings, and listen actively to their concerns.
  • Professional Support: Consider involving a therapist or counselor who specializes in anxiety management to help your child cope.


Depression can be another potential mental health concern for children taking Vyvanse. It may manifest as persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, or changes in sleep patterns.

Addressing Depression

It’s crucial to be vigilant for signs of depression and take action if necessary. Here’s what you can do:

Seek Professional Help

  • Consult a Mental Health Expert: Reach out to a child psychiatrist or psychologist who can provide specialized care for depression.
  • Consider Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or other evidence-based therapies can be effective in treating depression in children.


While exceedingly rare, Vyvanse has been associated with cases of psychosis in children. Psychosis involves a disconnect from reality, potentially leading to hallucinations, delusions, or disorganized thinking.

Managing Psychosis

  • Immediate Intervention: If you suspect your child is experiencing psychosis, contact emergency medical services or seek urgent psychiatric care.
  • Discontinuing Vyvanse: Your healthcare provider will likely discontinue Vyvanse if psychosis is diagnosed and explore alternative treatment options.

Consulting a Healthcare Professional

When considering Vyvanse for your child, consulting a healthcare professional is crucial. They can provide guidance on the most appropriate treatment and dosage based on your child’s specific needs.

Regular Check-ups

Regular check-ups with your child’s healthcare provider are essential to monitor their progress and evaluate any side effects or concerns.

What to Expect During Check-ups

  • Medication Review: Your healthcare provider will review the effectiveness and side effects of Vyvanse and make necessary adjustments.
  • Growth and Development Assessment: For children, tracking growth, development, and any potential issues is a priority.

Discussing Concerns

Maintaining open communication with your child’s healthcare provider is key. Don’t hesitate to discuss any worries, side effects, or behavioral changes you observe.

Effective Communication

  • Keep a Journal: Document your child’s experiences, any side effects, or notable changes to provide a comprehensive view to the healthcare provider.
  • Ask Questions: Seek clarification on any aspect of your child’s treatment or well-being that you find unclear.

Adjusting Dosage

The dosage of Vyvanse prescribed to your child is a critical factor in managing side effects. It’s not uncommon for healthcare providers to start with a lower dose and gradually adjust it to find the right balance between symptom management and side effect minimization.

Titrating the Dose

Titrating the dose means gradually increasing it until the optimal balance is achieved. This method helps minimize side effects while ensuring that the medication effectively manages ADHD symptoms.

Gradual Increases

  • Starting Low: Healthcare providers often begin with a low dose and monitor your child’s response before making adjustments.
  • Frequent Assessments: During this process, your child’s healthcare provider will conduct regular assessments to track progress and make informed decisions.

Monitoring Effects

Careful monitoring of your child’s response to Vyvanse is essential. This involves observing how the medication affects their behavior, mood, and physical health.

What to Look For

  • Behavioral Changes: Pay attention to any shifts in your child’s behavior, both positive and negative, as it may indicate the need for dose adjustments.
  • Side Effects: Report any side effects, even if they seem minor, to your healthcare provider. They can guide you on how to address them.

Customizing Treatment

Each child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Customizing the treatment plan to your child’s specific needs is crucial for success.

Tailored Approaches

  • Individualized Care: Collaborate closely with your healthcare provider to ensure that the treatment plan is tailored to your child’s ADHD symptoms and side effect tolerance.
  • Alternative Medications: In some cases, an alternative ADHD medication may be a better fit for your child if Vyvanse proves unsuitable.

Lifestyle Changes

In addition to medication management, implementing certain lifestyle changes can complement your child’s ADHD treatment and mitigate side effects.

Healthy Diet

A balanced diet plays a crucial role in minimizing side effects and supporting your child’s overall health during Vyvanse treatment.

Nutritional Strategies

  • Regular Meals: Ensure your child eats regular, well-balanced meals to counteract appetite suppression.
  • Hydration: Encourage adequate water intake to prevent dehydration, especially if appetite reduction is a concern.

Regular Exercise

Physical activity is a natural way to boost mood, reduce anxiety, and improve overall well-being.

Active Lifestyle

  • Engage in Activities: Encourage your child to participate in physical activities they enjoy, such as sports, dancing, or outdoor play.
  • Consistency: Establish a routine that includes regular exercise to help maintain physical and mental health.

Sleep Hygiene

Quality sleep is vital for any child, especially those taking medication. Proper sleep hygiene can help mitigate some of the side effects of Vyvanse.

Healthy Sleep Habits

  • Consistent Bedtime: Establish a regular sleep schedule to ensure your child gets enough rest.
  • Screen Time Management: Limit screen time before bedtime to promote better sleep quality.


In conclusion, Vyvanse can be an effective treatment for ADHD in children, but it may come with various side effects. As a parent, your role is crucial in monitoring your child’s well-being, communicating with healthcare providers, and making necessary adjustments to ensure the best possible outcome for your child’s treatment. Stay informed, stay involved, and prioritize your child’s health and happiness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is Vyvanse safe for children?

Answer: Vyvanse can be safe and effective for children when prescribed and monitored by a healthcare professional. It’s essential to follow their guidance closely.

2. What are the typical signs of Vyvanse side effects in children?

Answer: Common signs may include decreased appetite, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, or stomachaches. However, each child may react differently.

3. How can I tell if my child is experiencing serious side effects?

Answer: Serious side effects like chest pain, shortness of breath, or psychiatric symptoms should be taken seriously. Contact a healthcare provider immediately if you observe these signs.

4. Will Vyvanse affect my child’s growth?

Answer: Vyvanse can suppress appetite and growth in some children. Regular monitoring and potential dose adjustments can help mitigate this effect.

5. Can Vyvanse cause long-term harm to my child’s health?

Answer: Long-term effects of Vyvanse are still being studied, but it’s generally considered safe when used as prescribed under a healthcare provider’s supervision.

6. Are there alternatives to Vyvanse for treating ADHD in children?

Answer: Yes, there are other medications and behavioral therapies available. Discuss your options with a healthcare provider to find the best treatment for your child.

7. Can lifestyle changes alone manage ADHD symptoms in children?

Answer: While lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, and sleep hygiene can help, they may not be sufficient for all children with ADHD. Medication may still be necessary.

8. How can I help my child cope with anxiety or depression while on Vyvanse?

Answer: Supporting your child through therapy, open communication, and a healthy lifestyle can be beneficial. Consult a mental health professional for guidance.

9. Is it possible to stop Vyvanse treatment once started?

Answer: Discontinuing Vyvanse should always be under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Abruptly stopping the medication can lead to withdrawal or a return of ADHD symptoms.

10. What should I do if I notice any behavioral changes in my child while on Vyvanse?

Answer: If you observe any behavioral changes or mood swings, consult with your healthcare provider. They can assess whether these changes are related to the medication and recommend appropriate action.
These frequently asked questions aim to provide clarity and guidance for parents concerned about Vyvanse side effects in children. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment decisions.