Cold and flu season is almost upon us. And while we all look forward to fall, it’s not exactly a happy time of the year for many people. Cold and flu viruses are everywhere at this time of year, so taking precautions is important.

If you take Vyvanse and also get sick occasionally, you might be wondering if cold medicine will interact poorly with your medication. It’s important to understand how these two drugs can affect you individually before making any decisions about your healthcare.

Read on to learn more about taking cold medicine with Vyvanse, and how these factors may influence your response to both treatments independently or in combination.

What Is Vyvanse?

Vyvanse is a type of stimulant prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Vyvanse is designed to help people with ADHD focus and pay attention. It is also FDA approved to treat binge eating disorder in adults.

Vyvanse comes in capsule form. You can take it in combination with other ADHD medications, or as a standalone treatment. Vyvanse capsules come in three different types: 30mg, 50mg, and 70mg. Depending on your needs, your doctor will recommend a dosage that’s right for you.

Vyvanse is a Schedule II controlled substance that’s regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This means that it’s illegal to possess without a valid prescription.

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There’s no way to know for sure, but Vyvanse could have been the first drug you were prescribed for ADHD. Due to its popularity and how long it’s been around, it’s one of the most common ADHD drugs used.

Cold Medicine and Its Effects

Cold medicine or flu medicine is a type of over-the-counter medication used to treat the symptoms associated with common colds, the flu, allergies, and other similar diseases.

The active ingredients in these medicines are generally antihistamines and decongestants, which help to reduce swelling, coughing, and other symptoms.

What you take for your cold will depend on the severity of your symptoms.

Some common ingredients in over-the-counter cold medications include:

  • Paracetamol: to relieve headaches associated with colds and flu
  • Ibuprofen: to decrease swelling, pain, and fever
  • Pseudoephedrine: to reduce swelling in the nose and sinuses
  • Acetaminophen: to reduce fevers and relieve mild to moderate pain
  • Phenylephrine: to reduce swelling in the nose, head, and ears
  • Dextromethorphan: to help you sleep and reduce coughing
  • Guaifenesin: to thin and loosen mucus to make coughing easier
  • Clemastine: to treat allergies and congestion
  • Chlorpheniramine: to treat allergies

Will Cold Medicine Interact With Vyvanse?

As mentioned above, there are a few ingredients in cold medicine that you should be aware of. The main ones are pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine. The phenylephrine found in cold or flu medications is structurally similar to the phenylephrine found in Vyvanse.

That said, phenylephrine is also found naturally in the body. And, it’s very similar to ephedrine, the active ingredient in pseudoephedrine. In fact, phenylephrine is often used as a substitute for ephedrine in certain medications.

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Because phenylephrine and ephedrine are so similar, there’s a chance that cold medicine may affect Vyvanse. If you take Vyvanse and also come down with a cold, there’s a chance cold medicine could interact with your medication and cause unwanted side effects.

Pros of Taking Cold Medication with Vyvanse

As with any drug interaction, there’s always a chance that cold medicine and Vyvanse could interact poorly. So, why even take the risk? There are a few reasons why taking cold medication with Vyvanse can be beneficial.

First, if you take Vyvanse regularly, you more than likely experience times when your symptoms flare up. These “breakthrough” symptoms may reduce the effectiveness of your medication and cause you to feel abnormally hyperactive.

Cold medicine can help reduce these “breakthrough” symptoms by decreasing the amount of phenylephrine in your system. This will allow more ephedrine to circulate, which is the active ingredient in Vyvanse.

Cons of Taking Cold Medication with Vyvanse

Of course, there are some potentially serious side effects that could arise when taking cold medicine with Vyvanse. The active ingredients in cold medicine interact with many other types of medications. So, taking cold medicine with Vyvanse may increase the likelihood of unwanted side effects.

The most common side effect of cold medicine is drowsiness. Other common side effects include vision changes, dizziness, headaches, dry mouth, constipation, and heart palpitations.

While these are common side effects, taking cold medicine with Vyvanse may increase the likelihood of experiencing them.

If you experience any negative side effects while taking cold medicine with Vyvanse, you should speak with your doctor as soon as possible.

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Final words: is it okay to take cold medicine with Vyvanse?

At the end of the day, there are a handful of factors that will determine whether you can take cold medication with Vyvanse.

These factors include:

  • The dosage of Vyvanse you take
  • The dosage of cold medicine you take
  • Whether you take any other medications
  • Whether you have any health conditions

If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, you should be able to take cold medicine with Vyvanse without any issues. But, as we always stress, it’s important to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your medication schedule.


David with lots of experience and knowledge in medications that are utilized to treat a wide range of medical conditions. Before David dispenses a medication to a patient, he will go over the side effects, dosage recommendation and contraindications.