Why is Vyvanse so expensive?

Key highlights

  • Brand name drugs are generally more expensive than generic drugs because the patent provides the brand name pharmaceutical manufacturer with the right to exclusively market the drug.
  • As of 2023, there is a generic version of Vyvanse available which will help patients that are taking Vyvanse save money on this drug.

Americans pay the highest prices in the world for brand-name medications. In 2016, the CDC found that 6.1 million (9.4%) children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD. As ADHD is a growing problem, many are concerned about the rising costs of prescription drugs including ADHD medications and are wondering why Vyvanse is so expensive in the United States.

What is Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate)?

Vyvanse is a central nervous system stimulant medication manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. It is a prescription medication that is used for the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in people over the age of 6 and for the treatment of moderate to severe binge eating disorder (B.E.D.) in adults. It is not prescribed for weight loss and it is not known if Vyvanse is effective and safe for obesity.

Vyvanse is a brand-name drug that contains the active ingredient lisdexamfetamine dimesylate. It is available as a capsule and chewable tablet. Lisdexamfetamine is a prodrug of dextroamphetamine, which means it is converted into dextroamphetamine when it enters the body. Dextroamphetamine is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulator that belongs to the class of drugs known as amphetamines. It is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse and dependence.

Vyvanse is a popular medication that is used to treat ADHD and B.E.D. The number of prescriptions for Vyvanse has been steadily increasing over the years as more people are being diagnosed with these disorders.

How does Vyvanse work?

Vyvanse works by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These neurotransmitters are involved in regulating mood, behavior, and attention.

ADHD is thought to be caused by an imbalance of these neurotransmitters. By increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, Vyvanse can help to improve symptoms of ADHD.

Vyvanse side effects

The most common side effects of Vyvanse in children between the ages of 6 to 17 and adults with ADHD include:

  • loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • decreased appetite
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • irritability
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dry mouth
  • trouble sleeping
  • stomach pain
  • anxiety
  • weight loss

The most common side effects of Vyvanse in adults with moderate to severe B.E.D. include:

  • constipation
  • anxiety
  • dry mouth
  • decreased appetite
  • trouble sleeping
  • increased heart rate
  • feeling jittery

If you experience any side effects or possible signs of an allergic reaction while taking this medication, speak with your healthcare provider right away. You are also encouraged to report negative side effects to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

How much does Vyvanse cost?

Vyvanse cost is around $12.44 per day or $350 for a 30-day supply, for uninsured individuals who need to pay the full retail price out of pocket. This price may vary depending on the pharmacy you purchase the medication from.

The cost of Vyvanse for individuals with prescription drug insurance coverage through Medicare or private insurance will depend on your health insurance plan and the coverage for this drug including the copay and deductible.

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Why is Vyvanse so expensive?

There are several major reasons why this brand-name medication is so expensive:

Patent law protection

The process of developing, testing, and obtaining FDA approval for a new medication is very expensive and can take many years. All brand-name drugs are protected by patents that give the drug company the exclusive right to sell the drug for 20 years.

After the patents expire, other pharmaceutical companies are allowed to sell generic versions of the drug.

The patents for Vyvanse expired in 2023 and generic pharmaceutical companies are now allowed to supply an FDA-approved generic version of Vyvanse.

Unregulated pricing for pharmaceuticals

Prescription drug prices in the United States are the highest in the world. One of the major reasons for this is that the prices of pharmaceuticals are not regulated by the government like they are in most other countries.

The FDA does not have any authority to regulate the prices of drugs in the United States. The cost of a medication is determined by the drug company, which takes into account the cost of research and development, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution.

It is common for drug companies to increase the price of their medications over time, especially if there are no generic alternatives available on the market.

This has been the case with Vyvanse, which has seen several price increases since it was first introduced in 2007.

A study by RAND shows that medication prices in the United States are on average 2.56 times higher than in other OECD countries. Another study by AARP shows that in the United States, prescription drug prices have increased annually more than the rate of inflation.

How do I save on Vyvanse?

The expensive price of Vyvanse can make this prescription drug unaffordable for many people, especially for people who do not have adequate prescription drug insurance. There are several options that may be able to help you save money on this medication:

  1. Vyvanse Savings Card – Takeda provides a savings card to individuals who meet the eligibility requirements that can pay as little as $30 per Vyvanse prescription, up to a maximum savings of up to $60 savings per prescription. This offer covers the amount spent above $30, up to a maximum savings of $60 per prescription. You are responsible to pay for any additional cost over $90 for each prescription. Check the terms and conditions on the Takeda website to determine if you are eligible as this offer may change.
  2. Buy generic Vyvanse – generic Vyvanse is currently available for purchase at a local pharmacy at a significantly lower cost than the brand name medication.
  3. Patient assistance programs – you may be eligible for enrollment into a patient assistance program for Vyvanse.
  4. Ask your doctor if they can provide you with free Vyvanse samples – most pharmaceutical companies provide free samples to doctors that are given to their patients to help them get started on the medication.
  5. Get medical advice from your healthcare professional and find out if there are any alternative medications – ask your prescribing doctor if there are any lower-cost Vyvanse alternatives that can work for you, such as Concerta (methylphenidate), Ritalin (methylphenidate), Adderall XR (amphetamine), or Adderall (amphetamine).
  6. Shop around for the lowest price at mail-order pharmacies – the price of medicines varies by pharmacy so make sure to always check prices at multiple pharmacies to find the lowest possible price for your medication.
  7. Vyvanse coupons – find out if a Vyvanse manufacturer coupon is available that can help you save money on this medication.
  8. Get help from Medicaid – find out if you are eligible for a state Medicaid plan that may cover the cost of your Vyvanse prescription.

Medically reviewed

A medical professional has reviewed this article.

Jamie Winn, PharmD
Jamie Winn, PharmD

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Dr. Jamie Winn received his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2002 from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC. Jamie is a medical reviewer for NiceRx.

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Sources (2)

  1. Vyvanse official website

  2. Drugs.com - Vyvanse price guide

The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.