The truth is, if you’ve never been able to lose weight no matter how hard you try, the benefits of losing weight assisted by medication may outweigh the risks of amphetamines. But this is an issue that’s clearly best discussed with your physician.
Spoiler: our ultimate verdict is that Vyvanse is a better choice for weight loss than instant release Adderall. Instant release Adderall is short-acting, lasting about 6 hours. Individuals may experience rebound hunger later in the day after Addeall has worn off that nullifies the benefit of the appetite-suppressing effects.
Weight Loss Strategies
Weight loss has essentially become an industry. The monopoly that commercial interests have on the subject of weight loss can make it difficult to find accurate information.
In my view, losing weight can be broken down into these bite-sized chunks:
- How many calories are you consuming each day?
- Which foods are you eating (e.g. french fries or salmon)?
- How much physical activity do you get (including mundane things that you’d do outside of the gym like walking up stairs, moving boxes)
- What’s the psychology underlying your eating behavior? Do you tend to eat comfort food to make yourself feel better? Or are you just hungry all the time, independent of mood?
- Do you have any medical conditions – like hypothyroidism or sleep apnea – that can lead to weight gain?
- The average person doesn’t fully appreciate what an important role sleep plays in regulating weight. Not getting enough sleep (less than 7-8 hours) will make you pack on pounds.
- How is your brain “wired”? (Excuse the silly computer metaphor of the brain.) Do you suffer from any psychiatric conditions like depression? Do you have trouble with fatigue, motivation, or concentration?
Amphetamines for Weight Loss
What are amphetamines? They’re drugs that are structurally very similar to catecholamines (dopamine and norepinephrine are two important catecholamines).
Amphetamines like Adderall (or amphetamine-derivates like Vyvanse) promote the release of catecholamines in the brain. This increases energy and concentration, while suppressing appetite.
While amphetamines also tend to increase metabolic rate, it’s the appetite-suppressing effect of amphetamine that is most relevant for weight loss.
Mixed Amphetamine Salts (Adderall) Verses Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) for Weight Loss
Vyvanse lasts longer and comes on more smoothly. The gradualness of Vyvanse’s effects is less likely to result in rebound hunger. Since Vyvanse can last up to 12 hours, the appetite suppressing effects will most likely wear off at night, when you’re sleeping.
Using amphetamine-based psychostimulants like Adderall and Vyvanse is not the best strategy for losing weight. While these substances do suppress appetite and increase basal metabolic rate, these effects diminish over time. This occurs as your body adjusts to the effects of the drug and begins to compensate for the decrease in appetite.
Also, a symptom of amphetamine withdrawal is an increase in appetite. When you’ve achieved your target weight and come off the drug, it will be even more difficult to control your appetite than it was before. This is because amphetamines increase the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine – they’re “dopamine releasing agents.” Catecholamines like dopamine and norepinephrine tend to suppress appetite. But when you discontinue amphetamines like Vyvanse or Addearall, during withdrawal dopamine concentrations around connections in your brain (synapses).