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Vyvanse vs. Concerta: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 12, 2024
Vyvanse and Concerta are both prescription medications used to treat ADHD; Vyvanse contains lisdexamfetamine while Concerta contains methylphenidate.

Key Differences

Vyvanse, a medication containing lisdexamfetamine, is primarily used for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and binge eating disorder. In contrast, Concerta, which contains methylphenidate, is a stimulant specifically targeted at managing ADHD symptoms in both children and adults. Both drugs function by influencing neurotransmitters in the brain, but they do so through different active ingredients.
Vyvanse is known for its once-a-day dosing, offering a gradual release that minimizes the potential for abuse. Concerta, similarly, is designed for extended release, but it uses a different mechanism to maintain a steady release of methylphenidate throughout the day. Both medications are part of a comprehensive treatment plan that often includes psychological, educational, and social components.
The side effects of Vyvanse and Concerta can slightly differ due to their active ingredients. Vyvanse may cause effects like appetite loss, sleep disturbances, and irritability. Meanwhile, Concerta can lead to similar side effects, including increased heart rate and nervousness. Both medications require careful monitoring by a healthcare professional.
Vyvanse, besides treating ADHD, is approved for treating moderate to severe binge eating disorder in adults. Concerta, on the other hand, is exclusively used for ADHD. This distinction underlines the broader therapeutic range of Vyvanse compared to Concerta.
The effectiveness of Vyvanse and Concerta can vary among individuals. Vyvanse might take slightly longer to start working but can have a smoother effect, whereas Concerta’s effects might be felt more quickly but can fluctuate throughout the day. Patients often work with their healthcare provider to determine which medication is more suitable for their specific needs.

Comparison Chart

Active Ingredient


Primary Use

ADHD & Binge Eating Disorder

Release Mechanism

Gradual release, once-daily dosing
Extended release throughout the day

Common Side Effects

Appetite loss, sleep disturbances, irritability
Increased heart rate, nervousness, sleep problems

Onset of Action

Takes longer to start working, smoother effect
Quicker onset, potential for fluctuating effects

Vyvanse and Concerta Definitions


Vyvanse is a stimulant medication used to treat ADHD.
The doctor prescribed Vyvanse to help manage her ADHD symptoms more effectively.


Concerta works by affecting chemicals in the brain and nerves.
Concerta helps him concentrate by altering neurotransmitter activity in his brain.


Vyvanse is a once-daily medication, offering a steady treatment for ADHD.
Taking Vyvanse once a day made it easier for her to maintain a consistent routine.


Concerta is a medication designed to treat ADHD symptoms.
His pediatrician recommended Concerta for his ADHD.


Vyvanse works by altering certain chemicals in the brain.
Vyvanse's effectiveness is due to its impact on neurotransmitters in the brain.


Concerta is an extended-release form of methylphenidate.
Concerta's extended-release formula helps him stay focused throughout the school day.


Vyvanse also treats moderate to severe binge eating disorder in adults.
Her treatment plan for binge eating disorder includes therapy and Vyvanse.


Concerta is often part of a broader ADHD treatment plan.
Along with behavioral therapy, her doctor prescribed Concerta.


Vyvanse is known for its ability to reduce hyperactivity and improve focus.
Since starting Vyvanse, he has been able to concentrate better in school.


Concerta helps in increasing attention and decreasing impulsiveness and hyperactivity.
Since taking Concerta, she's been less impulsive in class.


Can Concerta be used in children?

Yes, Concerta is approved for use in children with ADHD.

Does Vyvanse have potential for abuse?

Vyvanse has a lower potential for abuse compared to some other stimulants.

What is the active ingredient in Concerta?

The active ingredient in Concerta is methylphenidate.

Are there any dietary restrictions with Vyvanse?

No specific dietary restrictions, but it's best to discuss with a healthcare provider.

Is Concerta effective in treating adult ADHD?

Yes, Concerta is effective in treating ADHD in both children and adults.

How often should Vyvanse be taken?

Vyvanse is typically taken once daily.

What is Vyvanse used for?

Vyvanse is used to treat ADHD and binge eating disorder.

Can Vyvanse help with concentration?

Yes, Vyvanse can improve focus and concentration in people with ADHD.

Is weight loss a side effect of Vyvanse?

Weight loss can occur as a side effect of Vyvanse.

Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking Vyvanse?

It's generally advised to avoid alcohol while taking Vyvanse.

Does Vyvanse interact with other medications?

Vyvanse can interact with certain medications, so it's important to inform your doctor about all medications you're taking.

How does Concerta release medication throughout the day?

Concerta uses an extended-release mechanism to release medication steadily.

How quickly does Concerta start working?

Concerta typically begins working within 30 to 60 minutes.

What are the common side effects of Vyvanse?

Common side effects include loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, and irritability.

Can Vyvanse be used for non-ADHD related issues?

Vyvanse is also approved for treating binge eating disorder in adults.

Can Concerta affect growth in children?

Concerta may affect growth in children, which should be monitored by a doctor.

Does Concerta need to be taken at the same time every day?

It's recommended to take Concerta at the same time each day for consistency.

Can Concerta be stopped abruptly?

It's not recommended to stop Concerta abruptly without consulting a healthcare provider.

Is Concerta a controlled substance?

Yes, Concerta is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance.

Can Concerta cause sleep problems?

Yes, Concerta can sometimes lead to sleep disturbances.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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