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Risks of Snorting Vyvanse: Dangers & Consequences

Snorting Vyvanse (or most other drugs) is dangerous. Most drugs aren’t designed to be snorted, and they can potentially damage the nose in a variety of ways if taken in this way. 

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Snorting can also intensify the effects of drugs, which can potentially cause serious harm, especially if snorting a stimulant like Vyvanse. These drugs can affect the heart and cause serious mental side effects if misused. 

Dangers to Understand With Snorting Vyvanse

The following are some dangers a person should understand before snorting Vyvanse or its generic form, lisdexamfetamine:[1]

Inherently Unintended Use

Vyvanse is a stimulant with legitimate medical uses, most notably helping to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s a prescription medication that should only ever be used as one is told to use it by a doctor. The medication is taken orally, meaning by mouth, and comes in the form of capsules that should be swallowed whole.

Very few drugs are intended to be snorted, and Vyvanse isn’t one of them. Taking the drug in this way has no approved medical purpose. It is only drug abuse. There also isn’t enough information on Vyvanse being abused recreationally to fully predict how such abuse might affect a user.[1]

Overdose Risk

Snorting drugs causes them to have a shorter-lasting and more intense effect than taking them orally (which is often why people abuse drugs in this way).[2] It should be noted that this intensifying effect isn’t without risk. 

Stimulants can already cause a person to become distressed or agitated. They may experience episodes of psychosis where they cannot think logically as well as hallucinations and delusions. Stimulants can have powerful physiological effects, increasing heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure.[2] 

Intensifying these effects in ways manufacturers didn’t intend, and that aren’t well-studied, isn’t safe. It increases the chance that a person has a severe break from reality where they might become dangerous to themselves or others. 

It also increases the risk that a person’s heart or some other bodily system is severely taxed, which could potentially lead to a serious health emergency, such as a heart attack. This is especially true for individuals who are already at risk of such problems.

Dependence & Addiction Risk

To what degree Vyvanse can cause dependence and addiction isn’t well-studied, but it has been theorized to have a logical mechanism that can cause dependence.[1] Anecdotally, it’s clear that many people struggle with the drug.

A body can adapt to the changes stimulants cause, essentially beginning to treat the state a body is in while under their effects as its “normal” state. When not under the effects of these drugs, a person can then go through withdrawal, where they will experience unpleasant symptoms for at least a few days as their body readjusts to the absence of the drug.[1]

Stimulants can also be addictive, where a person starts to feel psychologically compelled to misuse them even as that drug use begins to have negative effects on their physical and mental health. 

A person may feel they need to abuse a stimulant in order to function, which can lead to destructive patterns that can hurt a person’s relationships, ability to work, and educational prospects. Some people may even be driven to crime. They may engage in risky behaviors in order to acquire more drugs or while under the effects of those drugs, especially if addicted to Vyvanse which is only legally available via prescription.  

Snorting & Health Complications

Snorting drugs is associated with a variety of health risks. One of the most commonly discussed is that it increases the risk one catching or spreading transmissible diseases. Many people share or reuse equipment used to snort drugs, which should be considered dangerous as this equipment can carry germs. If the equipment is exposed to HIV or other serious transmissible diseases, anyone who uses that equipment is at risk of catching those diseases.[3] 

Snorting drugs can also damage the nose, causing bad nose bleeds and excessive mucus production. In severe cases, it can cause severe damage, even destroying a person’s septum.[4] As a person’s nose is damaged by snorting, they also are at greater risk of transmitting blood-borne viruses. 

While drugs shouldn’t be snorted if not designed to be, harm reduction techniques are recommended if you abuse drugs in this way. Only use the equipment for your own personal use, and don’t reuse either your own or other people’s straws. Rinse your nose after snorting drugs and, if possible, only snort drugs ground into the finest powder possible.[5] 

May Affect Pregnancy

Stimulant abuse can potentially affect pregnancy, although how Vyvanse specifically may affect pregnancy isn’t well understood. Cocaine and to a lesser degree methamphetamines have been shown in several studies to lead to serious birth complications potentially.[2] 

At the very least, it is generally considered best practice for people who are pregnant or intend to become pregnant to eliminate their use of stimulants or reduce them if elimination isn’t possible.[2]

Updated March 21, 2024
  1. Potential for dependence on lisdexamfetamine - in vivo and in vitro aspects. Yun J, Lee KW, Eom JH, Kim YH, Shin J, Han K, Park HK, Kim HS, Cha HJ. Biomolecules & Therapeutics. 2017 Nov 1;25(6):659-664.
  2. Stimulant use disorder treatment. BSAS. Accessed February 16, 2024.
  3. Swallowing & snorting. Ontario Harm Reduction Network. Accessed February 16, 2024.
  4. Nasal septum perforation due to methamphetamine abuse. Bakhshaee M, Khadivi E, Naseri Sadr M, Esmatinia F. Iranian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology. 2013;25(70):53-56. Published March 21, 2022.
  5. Intersecting substance use treatment and harm reduction services: Exploring the characteristics and service needs of a community-based sample of people who use drugs. Krawczyk N, Allen ST, Schneider KE, et al. Harm Reduction Journal. 2022;19(1).
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