Vyvanse is a stimulant medication that’s used to treat attention problems like ADHD. It’s a central nervous system stimulant that can increase alertness, focus, and wakefulness. Drugs like Vyvanse may be misused to achieve a euphoric high or to enhance cognitive performance. To make these stimulants more intense, you may try to smoke or snort them. However, Vyvanse is unique among stimulants. It’s specifically designed to make it difficult to abuse as a recreational drug. But what happens if you try to smoke or snort Vyvanse?
What Is Vyvanse
Vyvanse is a prescription medication that contains the drug lisdexamfetamine. It’s a stimulant, which means that it works in the brain and nervous system by increasing activity. The drug is primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s approved for use in people that are six years old or older. Vyvanse may also be used to treat binge eating disorder, a behavioral disorder that causes compulsive overeating.
Vyvanse is a useful medication in helping people with ADHD increase their focus, alertness, and their ability to participate in tasks that may otherwise be very difficult. Stimulants like Vyvanse are used to increase dopamine levels in the brain. Low dopamine levels may be a cause of attention problems. Dopamine is tied to reward and motivation. As you work through a task, dopamine is released to encourage your focus on that task. People with ADHD have low levels of dopamine, which causes their brain to seek other sources of the chemical. This leads to increased distractibility and other symptoms of ADHD. Vyvanse can help correct dopamine levels.
Like other stimulants, Vyvanse can cause some common side effects, including low appetite, anxiety, insomnia, diarrhea, restlessness, irritability, and nausea. It can also cause some less common but more serious side effects like mania, heart complications, and psychosis. Heart attacks may be caused in people that have other, underlying heart problems. Other severe side effects, like psychosis, may be more likely when the drug is misused in high doses.
Vyvanse is a federally controlled substance. It’s categorized as Schedule II, which means that it has accepted medical uses, but it also has significant abuse potential. Vyvanse may be used to achieve a stimulating high similar to cocaine, though it’s not as potent as cocaine. Vyvanse, and other ADHD medications, are also used as performance and cognitive enhancing substances. Stimulants may be used on college campuses to help increase focus and alertness through long study sessions or to boost test scores. However, misusing and abusing Vyvanse increases your risk of encountering dangerous side effects and consequences like dependence and addiction.
Why Would People Snort Vyvanse?
Stimulants are often used as recreational drugs, but the most common stimulants of abuse are cocaine and methamphetamine. However, ADHD medications like amphetamines and similar substances may be used in an attempt to achieve a similar high. ADHD medications don’t cause euphoria that’s as powerful as an illicit drug like cocaine. Cocaine, and some other recreational substances, are insufflated, which is the technical term for snorting.
The experience of taking a drug can be affected by the way you take it. This is because of the way a drug is able to make it into your bloodstream and then into your brain. When you swallow a tablet or pill, it breaks down in your digestive system and is absorbed into your bloodstream through your intestines. Then it makes it past your liver and it’s dispersed through your body where it can take its effects. Drugs that affect the nervous system take effect when they reach your brain.
Insufflating a drug is more direct, and it can enter your bloodstream from your nasal passageways. Some drugs aren’t able to get through your nasal passageways very easily; others are broken down in the gut and don’t get to the bloodstream easily when taken orally. Cocaine is much more potent when the drug is snorted or smoked than when it’s swallowed. People that are seeking to use stimulants for recreational purposes may believe snorting them like cocaine will make it more effective.
Why is Vyvanse Difficult to Abuse?
Vyvanse is a slow, long-acting drug that’s intended to provide relief from ADHD symptoms over many hours. The slow onset of its effects makes it so that they come on very gradually. When you take the drug as directed, you may not notice when symptoms begin and end. Those qualities make it effective for many people that are seeking ADHD treatment, but they aren’t desirable for those seeking a recreational high. Snorting the drug may not increase its potency or the speed at which you begin to feel its effects.
Does Snorting Vyvanse Change Anything?
Vyvanse, like many prescription medications, is formulated to be very effective when you take it orally. When Vyvanse is taken orally, 96.4% of the dose gets to your bloodstream, which is very efficient. Under normal circumstances, snorting a stimulant will cause you to experience the drug’s effects much more quickly. Even if it would reach your bloodstream through normal digestion, snorting it is much faster and tends to be more intense.
But Vyvanse is different from other stimulants.
Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate is technically inactive in the human body, which means it has no effects. However, it’s also what’s called a prodrug for another substance called dextroamphetamine, which is a chemical that’s commonly found in other ADHD medications. As a prodrug, lisdexamfetamine isn’t active until it’s broken down in the body to create dextroamphetamine. The fact that Vyvanse needs to be broken down before it’s effective. Under normal circumstances, it can take up to two hours before you feel its effects. This also makes it take longer for it to work, even when it’s snorted.
A study in 2011 found that intranasal administration of lisdexamfetamine was comparable to oral administration. Whether you snort or swallow Vyvanse, it may not begin working any sooner, and it won’t produce a more intense high. While the fact that Vyvanse needs to break down to work makes it take longer to become active, it also makes it less likely to abuse as a recreational drug.
Can you Smoke Vyvanse?
Vyvanse is difficult to smoke. Depending on the substance, crushed powers may not burn as well as herbs and other commonly smoked substances. Even cocaine needs to be altered into its freebase form (crack) to be smoked. Plus, when you burn Vyvanse, you will be smoking the inactive prodrug, and it may not cause the stimulating effects you’re looking for.
What Happens if You Snort Vyvanse?
There may be no advantage to snorting Vyvanse over swallowing a tablet, but some may try it anyway. What would happen if you snorted Vyvanse? Snorting any substance can have some negative side effects. Even inert substances can irritate your nasal passages and cause inflammation.
Insufflation is a way that some drugs are designed to be taken, as with nasal sprays that are used to relieve congestion. However, drugs that are designed to be insufflated are usually in liquid form, which can be easier on your nasal passages. Even these drugs can cause nose bleeds and other side effects if you use them too much.
Active substances may be even more dangerous to snort. Chronic insufflation can lead to damage, infections, and decreased functionality of your nasal passageways. Your sense of smell and ability to breathe through one or more of your nostrils may be diminished. In some cases, snorting substances can affect your lungs, which can cause severe infections.
Misusing a drug can be inherently dangerous, especially if it comes from an illicit source. If you’re using a prescription drug like Vyvanse, it’s safe as long as it’s coming from a trusted source like a pharmacy. However, illegally bought prescription drugs may not be what they seem. Even if the drug you bought looks like pills or tablets that you’ve seen before, it may be counterfeit.
Drug dealers are able to press their own pills. Sometimes, they look identical to the real thing. Pressed pills can have other substances in them. They may be inert substances like cornstarch, or they may be active like opioids. Either way, snorting pills that contain adulterants can be dangerous. It may lead to toxic effects or overdose.
Can Snorting Vyvanse Cause An Overdose?
Vyvanse can cause a dangerous and even life-threatening overdose when it’s taken orally, smoked, or snorted. The Food and Drug Administration reports that Vyvanse causes the following symptoms when the drug is taken in high doses:
- Increased heart rate
- Respiratory changes
- Changes in blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Loss of coordination
- Tremors and shaking
- Flushed skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
The most dangerous side effects of Vyvanse are related to the heart. The FDA reports that Vyvanse can cause myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, and even sudden death. These are rare side effects when the drug is taken as directed. But they may be more likely to occur when you take the drug in high doses.