Newer Adhd Drugs and Their Side Effects

Intinuniv and Vyvanse

Intinuniv® (Guanfacine)

Lately we have seen an increase in advertising for the prescription drug with the brand name Intuniv (guanfacine).  This medication is being promoted as a “nonstimulant for ADHD”.

According to the FDA website Intuniv may control symptoms but does not cure anything. And even the makers of the drug don’t know how it works.  To quote from the Intuniv website, “It is not known exactly how INTUNIV works. Guanfacine, the main ingredient in INTUNIV, is thought to work in the brain.”

Oddly enough the main ingredient, guanfacine sold under the brand name of Tenex is prescribed to treat high blood pressure.  So really the same drug that is given to children for ADHD is also sold to treat high blood pressure.  How this is supposed to make sense nobody seems to know.

According to the National Library of Medicine, as a blood pressure medication guanfacine works by decreasing the heart rate and relaxing the blood vessels.  According to the makers of Intuniv, this same drug is thought to work by affecting the brain.  Obviously, there is something confusing going on here.

Just in case you are misled into thinking Intuniv is somehow safe because it is a “nonstimulant” here are some of the side effects and warnings connected with this drug:

May cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when you get up too quickly from a lying position.

You should know that you may faint if you become dehydrated or overheated during your treatment with guanfacine.

INTUNIV can slow thinking and motor skills.

dry mouth

tiredness

trouble sleeping

weakness

headache

irritability

decreased sexual ability

decreased appetite

stomach pain

nausea

vomiting

constipation

If your child experiences any of the following symptoms, call your doctor and get medical help immediately:

fainting

blurred vision

rash

slow heart rate

low blood pressure

sleepiness

Guanfacine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); fainting; severe or persistent dizziness, drowsiness, or weakness; slow or irregular heartbeat.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider.

Vyvanse® (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate)

Another drug prescribed for ADHD is Vyvanse.  This is a newer drug, still covered by patent and therefore aggressively advertised.

Lisdexamfetamine is in a class of medications called central nervous system stimulants.

You should know that this medication may make it difficult for you (or your child) to perform activities that require alertness or physical coordination.

Lisdexamfetamine can be habit-forming.

Lisdexamfetamine may slow children’s growth or weight gain.

WARNING: POTENTIAL FOR ABUSE

AMPHETAMINES HAVE A HIGH POTENTIAL FOR ABUSE. ADMINISTRATION OF AMPHETAMINES FOR PROLONGED PERIODS OF TIME MAY LEAD TO DRUG DEPENDENCE. PARTICULAR ATTENTION SHOULD BE PAID TO THE POSSIBILITY OF SUBJECTS OBTAINING AMPHETAMINES FOR NON-THERAPEUTIC USE OR DISTRIBUTION TO OTHERS AND THE DRUGS SHOULD BE PRESCRIBED OR DISPENSED SPARINGLY.

MISUSE OF AMPHETAMINES MAY CAUSE SUDDEN DEATH AND SERIOUS CARDIOVASCULAR ADVERSE EVENTS.

The effectiveness of Vyvanse for long-term use, i.e., for more than 4 weeks, has not been systematically evaluated in controlled trials.

Overusing lisdexamfetamine may also cause sudden death or serious heart problems, such as heart attack or stroke.

You may develop severe depression and extreme tiredness if you suddenly stop taking lisdexamfetamine after overusing it.

Lisdexamfetamine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
sleepiness
uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
dizziness
jitters
headache
dry mouth
stomach pain
diarrhea
nausea
vomiting
loss of appetite
weight loss
fever
sweating

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms call your doctor immediately:

fast or pounding heartbeat
chest pain
shortness of breath
fainting
slow or difficult speech
weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
seizures
hallucinating (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
believing things that are not true
feeling unusually suspicious of others
aggression
irritability
mood swings
frenzied, abnormally excited mood
seizures
tics
hives
rash
swelling of the eyes, face, tongue, lips, or mouth
blurred vision or other vision problems

Lisdexamfetamine may cause sudden death in children and teenagers, especially children and teenagers who have heart defects or serious heart problems.

The above has been taken drum Drugs.com and NLM.NIH.org (National Library of Medicine)

These are not all the side effects and warnings for Vyvanse.  Please visit the above sites to find out more or talk to a medical advisor.