ADHD meds making me sleepy--but only sometimes.
October 21, 2014 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Vyvanse makes me debilitatingly sleepy, but only occasionally. Has this happened to you? Is there another medication option I should try?

Preemptively: I know you are not my doctor, but I am hoping that other people’s experiences might give me suggestions of lifestyle changes I could make, or talking points to bring up with my doctor when I see him next.

I’ve been taking vyvanse on and off for six years (mostly on). When it works, it works really well. But a few times a month it makes me unbearably, overwhelmingly sleepy—like, can’t keep my eyes open, unable to stop nodding off at work sleepy. I can’t figure out a pattern to when it will happen (in terms of quantity or quality of sleep I got the night before; whether I took it with food, or after eating, or before, or didn’t eat breakfast at all; my caffeine intake that morning and in general). The sleepiness usually kicks in about an hour after I take it and lasts for several hours.

I’m wondering if this happens to anyone else and if so, if they’ve had better luck with other stimulant medications or some specific lifestyle change. When the vyvanse works I am very happy with it, but this is inconvenient enough that I am thinking about exploring other options.

Potentially relevant background: I am a 28 year old female in reasonably good shape. No other chronic health issues (that I know of) aside from Bipolar II, for which I take Lamictal (and have taken alongside the vyvanse in the same dosage for years). Recently I took a six month break from the vyvanse and then went back on it about a month ago (at a lower dosage because of decreased tolerance--40 mg down from 70), but this has happened the entire time I’ve been on it at every dosage I’ve taken it. I have in the past taken wellbutrin (gave me bad anxiety) and modafinil/provigil (did not do anything at all), but have not tried any other stimulant medications.
posted by cosmic osmo to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
Have you talked to your doctor about changing what time of day you take it?
posted by Nimmie Amee at 11:39 AM on October 21, 2014

I've had good results with Modafinil, but I use it off-label and haven't had a prescription to compare it to. I've dabbled in stimulants now and then and have definitely experienced the counterintuitive sleepiness/depression they can cause; I don't get the same thing with modafinil. It can be taken ad-hoc, is generally seen to have few side-effects and specifically increases wakefulness, so perhaps it might be worth a try!
posted by Drexen at 12:11 PM on October 21, 2014

I unfortunately do not have an answer, but I do have a suggestion/thought. You say that Wellbutrin gave you bad anxiety - was that also constant or did it come and go? I ask because I also experience anxiety/tremors on Wellbutrin, seemingly randomly. Perhaps this is how you react to stimulant medications? Just a (far-fetched) thought.
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:35 PM on October 21, 2014

I have gotten this from time to time with Adderall. It seems less frequent now that I'm drinking more water and taking iron and B-vitamin supplements, I'm not sure if any of those things is really related.
posted by Sequence at 6:38 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I had been on various medications for my focus and energy issues for years. Fed up with the side effects (including the one you're struggling with), I recently went off all of them completely. The withdrawal period lasted a few weeks and was aggressively bleh. Since then I've started running or doing some other high intensity cardio exercise every day and practicing mindful meditation a few times a week. I took time, but I feel much better now than I ever did under any of my medicinal regimens. My energy levels are up, and I feel calm, lucid, and more together than ever before.
posted by easydoesit at 7:57 PM on October 21, 2014

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