Vyvanse is a long acting stimulant medication for ADHD. It has been approved by the FDA for use in children, adolescents and adults. On February 7, 2012, it was announced that the FDA has approved Vyvanse for “Maintenance Treatment” in adults with ADHD.
What does this mean?
When an individual starts taking medication for ADHD, they are initially in acute treatment. Acute treatment means that they are testing the medication, adjusting for side effects, and working with the doctor to see if it will work. Once an adult finds that this medication works for them – the question is – will it continue to work? This new indication says “yes, it will”.
Maintenance treatment means that the medication continues to work while it is taken, and in fact, it will stop working when it is stopped. In the study quoted to make this announcement, the researchers did a “double-blind, multi-center, placebo-controlled, randomized withdrawal design study assessed the maintenance of efficacy and safety of Vyvanse in 123 adults who met DSM-IV-TR® criteria for ADHD”. This means that adults who were stable on a dose of Vyvanse for more than 6 months, with demonstrated improvement in their ADHD were then enrolled in this study. They were then randomized to either get placebo or continue on their therapeutic dose of Vyvanse. This phase of the study was for 6 weeks. The researchers monitored how many patients had a recurrence of their ADHD symptoms. Only 8.9% of the patients who continued on their Vyvanse experienced a relapse of their symptoms, whereas 75% of patients who were on the placebo experienced a relapse of their symptoms.
This new FDA indication for Vyvanse is good for adults with ADHD, because it shows that continuing with Vyvanse will continue to help their ADHD symptoms control.