Vyvanse is a controlled substance, classified by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration in the Schedule II categorization of controlled substances. It requires a prescription from a physician. Stimulants like Vyvanse may often be used by physicians for off-label purposes, such as to counteract lethargy, address hypoactive delirium, or even as an aid to improve focus for individuals with neurological issues that result in cognitive problems. Because of the way that Vyvanse is metabolized in the system, it may be less likely to be used for these purposes than other stimulants.
According to the book Workplace Drug Testing, the length of time that a drug remains in an individual’s system is often estimated or measured by the drug’s half-life (the time it takes normal metabolic processes to reduce the concentration of the drug by half ). Lisdexamfetamine, the active ingredient in Vyvanse, is naturally metabolized into the stimulant dextroamphetamine. Lisdexamfetamine would only be detectable for a very short period of time (only a few hours in most cases). Instead, dextroamphetamine, which has a half-life of about 12 hours, would be detectable for longer. Dextroamphetamine is an amphetamine-like substance that would show up on most drug tests.
Based on a 12-hour half-life for dextroamphetamine, one would expect the drug to be eliminated from the body within 2–3 days.
For general purposes, it can be estimated that it takes about 5.5 half-lives of a particular drug for it to be eliminated from the body. However, numerous factors can affect the metabolism of any drug, including the person’s weight and gender, whether or not the drug was taken in conjunction with other drugs, and how much of the drug was taken.
Again, numerous factors could influence the detectability of the drug in the system. For instance, if an individual were to take several doses of Vyvanse several hours apart, the detectability window should be estimated from the person’s last use of the drug and not when they started taking the drug.
Vyvanse was originally believed to have a lower potential for abuse compared to other prescription stimulant drugs like methylphenidate (e.g., Ritalin). However, drug abusers are often eager to try new substances and adapt them to their needs; thus, Vyvanse is a potential drug of abuse.
The detectability of any drug in a person’s system depends on numerous factors. Blood tests typically have the shortest detection window. In most cases, Vyvanse would be detectable in a person’s blood for up to eight hours after taking it. Vyvanse or its metabolites would be expected to be detectable in urine samples for up to three days and in some cases a little longer.
Hair analysis typically has the longest detection window, although it may take a few days before a hair sample would test positive for Vyvanse or its metabolites. Typically, Vyvanse would be detectable in a hair sample for about a month after the person took the drug.