What are Vyvanse and SSRI interactions?

In this blog, we will talk about the drug interactions between Vyvanse and SSRIs and also cover what Vyvanse is, what SSRI is, the side effects of these drugs, drug interactions and harmful effects, and serotonin syndrome. 

What are Vyvanse and SSRI interactions?

Vyvanse and SSRI interactions refer to the effects that are caused when Vyvanse and SSRI are consumed simultaneously by a person. 

Vyvanse is a part of the treatment plan for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or ADD along with a blend of social and psychological treatments, used once daily.

Vyvanse is actually a brand name used to refer to the lisdexamfetamine dimesylate drug. 

ADHD is a mental disorder comprising of higher levels of hyperactivity, a deficit of attention, and also impulsive behaviors. 

This amphetamine stimulant improves focus for people with inattentive ADHD and decreases impulsivity and hyperactive behavior, says Beth Donaldson, M.D., medical director at Copeman Healthcare Centre in Vancouver. It is approved by FDA as a safe medication since 2006. 

Vyvanse is also used to treat binge eating disorders along with CBT and interpersonal therapy in adults which involves recurring episodes of binge eating without purging and accompanying feelings of remorse afterward.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) 

These are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medications that help to ease various symptoms of depression.  They are deemed to be safe as they show fewer side effects than other antidepressant medicines. 

SSRIs are proven to increase the serotonin levels in the brain, which are chemical messengers carrying signals from neurons to muscles or in between two neurons. 

Simply explained, it helps to regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle and internal clock by carrying messages between brain cells and contributing to well-being, good mood, and appetite. 

SSRIs approved to treat depression

These SSRIs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat depression:

  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)

Further, Vyvanse is a prescription medication belonging to the class of drugs called stimulants. 

Using them with varying doses coupled with other forms of therapy helps ADHD patients in calming them and focus better. Along with this, additional benefits include improved self-esteem, thinking ability, and interpersonal relationships.

Similarly, antidepressants work on reducing symptoms of depressive disorders by working on the chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain. Antidepressants are grouped into classes based on how they affect the chemistry of the brain

Side effects of SSRIs and Vyvanse

Vyvanse is a prodrug, where the active constituents present in it are released and get metabolized (converted in the body) after administration. Owing to this, its side effects are considered less harsh. 

Most patients consuming it have claimed of not having any side effects, however the most common reactions when treating ADHD are – anxiety, diarrhoea, decreased appetite, dry mouth, weight loss, etc.

Vyvanse side effects while treating Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

It includes dry mouth, troubled sleep, decreased appetite, feeling jittery, anxiety, etc.

Vyvanse and weight loss

Children and adults beginning treatment with Vyvanse may experience a diminished desire to eat, which can lead to rapid weight loss. 

Vyvanse has physical effects on the body, and because our metabolism is strongly linked to our body temperature, people who take it on a regular basis may lose weight without making any dietary modifications. 

However, because Vyvanse is not FDA-approved as a weight-loss medicine, using it to suppress appetite for the purpose of losing weight can have major consequences for both physical and mental health.

Vyvanse and Heart or Blood Pressure Related Problems 

Stimulants can cause a rise in blood pressure and heart rate. Vyvanse has caused sudden mortality, stroke, heart attack, and elevated blood pressure in patients with structural cardiac defects and other major heart disorders.

Vyvanse and bowel movements 

It can have a drying effect on the body, including the gastrointestinal system, causing issues in bowel movements. 

To combat this, it is recommended to increase water and fiber intake, exercise more often and possibly take a magnesium supplement after consulting your doctor.

SSRIs and side effects

SSRIs often differ in their potencies at inhibiting serotonin reuptake and in how rapidly the body metabolizes the drug, certain side symptoms may go away after the first few weeks of treatment, while others may prompt you and your doctor to try a new antidepressant.

The usual effects include nausea, blurred vision, constipation, dizziness, anxiety, lower sex drive, etc.

SSRIs do not cause addiction. However, suddenly quitting antidepressant treatment or skipping several doses can result in withdrawal symptoms that lasted from 2 weeks to 2 months and they include – nightmares or vivid dreams, abdominal pain, etc.

Antidepressants also differ in terms of how they affect neurotransmitters, how they’re used, and how they interact with other drugs. 

In research done by Cartwright et. al. to study the long-term effects of antidepressants, participants completed rating scales about the effectiveness of antidepressants, levels of depression before and during antidepressant use, quality of life, and perceived adverse effects. 

Participants were given two open-ended questions in which they could share their personal experiences. 

The majority of people (89.4%) said antidepressants helped them feel better, although 30% said they had moderate-to-severe depression while taking antidepressants. 

Withdrawal symptoms (73.5%), sexual issues (71.8%), and weight gain (71.8%) were all common side effects (65.3 percent ). Adverse emotional consequences such as feeling emotionally numb (64.5%) and addicted (43%), were also prevalent.

Drug interaction and its harmful effects

A drug interaction occurs when two (or more) drugs interact, or when a drug interacts with food, beverage, or supplement. A drug interaction might also occur if you take medicine while suffering from certain medical problems. If you have high blood pressure, for example, taking a nasal decongestant may trigger an undesirable reaction.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, drug interaction falls into three categories –

  • Drug-drug interactions – when two or more drugs react with each other and result in an unexpected side effect. For instance, taking a sedative and antihistamine (for allergies) can reduce the pace of our reactions.
  • Drug-food/beverage interactions – where drugs react with food or beverages. For instance, mixing alcohol with certain drugs can make us feel lethargic.
  • Drug-condition interactions – When certain medications are possibly dangerous due to a pre-existing medical condition. If you have high blood pressure, for example, taking a nasal decongestant may trigger an undesirable reaction. 
  • Mixing antidepressants and stimulants – stimulants and antidepressants are administered for different purposes. Stimulants increase energy and mental awareness. Antidepressants on the other hand produce relaxing and sedative effects. As a result, when stimulants and depressants are combined, the body receives confusing messages.
  • Polydrug use refers to the use of medications such as stimulants and depressants in combination. In most polydrug situations, the user has only one drug of choice. They do, however, utilize other medicines to increase or neutralize the effects.

There are an array of antidepressants and stimulants which can have varied impacts on our minds and bodies. Hence when the question arises, what are the potential consequences of interactions between them? The responses would be multiple.

A study by Kim Wo and others shows evidence in this regard where they recruited undergraduate students to participate in an online survey to report their usage of amphetamine drugs and other drugs. 

Results showed significant differences between students reporting (n=79; 4.0%) and not reporting (n=1,897; 96%) amphetamine-stimulant use in the past month – in terms of race/ethnicity, class standing, residence, health symptoms, self-health report – in addition to alcohol, tobacco, pain-reliever, and antidepressant use. 

Health symptoms reported more often by stimulant users included depression, diarrhoea, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, and nicotine craving which portrays how the misuse of amphetamine stimulants (Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, Vyvanse) and other unsafe self-medication practices among college students is a serious threat.

Drug Facts and Comparisons which is a comprehensive drug information compendium covering more than 20,000 prescription drugs and over 6,000 over-the-counter drugs also shows strong evidence stating concurrent use of stimulants with antidepressants is a high-risk behavior and is medically contraindicated.

Serotonin syndrome 

Serotonin syndrome, also referred to as serotonin toxicity is a drug-induced condition caused by too much serotonin in synapses in the brain. Most cases involve a rise in serotonin in different ways or an overdose of 1 serotonin evaluation drug. 

It is characterized by the rapid development of symptoms like high blood pressure, muscle spasms, dizziness, rigidity, diarrhea, increased body temperature, etc. 

The human body requires serotonin as it is the key hormone to stabilize our moods, well-being, and happiness and it also plays a noteworthy role in communication between different neurons hence an increase or decrease in the levels of serotonin has an impact on the entire body.

Researchers have also stated that a lack of serotonin in your brain may play a role in depression. But too much of it can lead to extreme nerve cell activity and dangerous symptoms.

To sum it all up

Like psychotherapy, antidepressants are a major part of treatment involving depressive disorders as they play a significant role in relieving symptoms and even keeping relapses at bay. 

Opinions vary on whether and how effective they are and we may have varied opinions on this. They are effective in most cases of severe, moderate, or chronic depression, however, if they don’t help as expected, it is possible to consult our psychiatrist and switch to a different medication. 

According to experts, depression is caused by an imbalance of chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) such as serotonin, which prevents messages from correctly passing along nerves. 

Antidepressants, which are used for 6 to 2 years, are designed to boost the availability of these substances.

SSRIs can also be prescribed to people who have various comorbidities as they have a better tolerance, are generally safe, and not really threatening to one’s life. 

SSRIs are being prescribed by doctors because of their safety, efficacy, and tolerance. More people are getting better and SSRIs are able to successfully work for people with depression. SSRIs are not magic potions though and should be taken only when prescribed by a physician or psychiatrist who has taken various factors into consideration. 

According to Dr. Donald Haupt, co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD: When deciding which drug to take and which side effects to avoid, the question of side effects or drug interactions is important.

Dizziness, diminished sex drive, or erection issues are all symptoms that some people experience. Many individuals with ADHD and depression can benefit from the use of both stimulant drugs and antidepressants


In this blog, we covered the interactions between Vyvanse, SSRIs, what are these drugs, how they actually work, side effects of these drugs, and serotonin syndrome.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What are Vyvanse and SSRI interactions?

Can you take an SSRI with Vyvanse?

No, it is not advisable to take Vyvanse with other medications as it can interact with other drugs and create several issues. It is better to consult with a medical professional who can prescribe these medications and consider your symptoms and aspects to make a better-informed decision.

Can you take stimulants and SSRIs?

Taking stimulants and SSRIs is highly risky as these two work on antagonistic principles and can lead to various side effects.

What medications should not be taken with Vyvanse?

Medicines like linezolid, selegiline, rasagiline, procarbazine, tranylcypromine, etc. should not be taken with Vyvanse and should even be stopped before proceeding with treatment of Vyvanse.

What is the safest antidepressant to take with Vyvanse?

The safer options for antidepressants that can be taken with Vyvanse are tricyclic antidepressants and fluoxetine. 

Can SSRIs make ADHD worse?

SSRIs have often shown inconsistent results for ADHD and tend to worsen the symptoms of ADHD and can even result in problems with areas in the frontal brain. 


Cartwright, C., Gibson, K., Read, J., Cowan, O., & Dehar, T. (2016). Long-term antidepressant use: patient perspectives of benefits and adverse effects. Patient preference and adherence, 10, 1401–1407. https://doi.org/10.2147/PPA.S110632

Vo, K., Neafsey, P. J., & Lin, C. A. (2015). Concurrent use of amphetamine stimulants and antidepressants by undergraduate students. Patient preference and adherence, 9, 161–172. https://doi.org/10.2147/PPA.S74602


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