My experience with stimulant meds including Acne..!


I'm a 37 year old female and began trying stimulants this year for my ADD...

Here are some of my experiences, anyone had any similar?

Wondering if anyone else has skin/breakout issues from stimulant medications and if so, did your skin eventually get used to the meds and even out?  How about appetite, did that re-establish?  Anyone have any luck with natural remedies instead of prescription medications?

I have tried Ritalin and vyvanse and concerta.  With Ritalin LA I felt great mentally but was noticing bruising on my thighs, and the hint of bruising on the tops of my hands, sometimes I had sharp stomach pain. (really hurt esp. in evening.  I hope parents believe their young children when they complain of Stomach pain with stimulants..its not just a belly ache, it Really hurts!) I also Realized that I no longer craved sugar...which I've strongly craved (addicted to) my whole life.  The bruising concerned me so I stopped.  My complexion looked great.  No desire to pick at non-existent acne (clogged pores) which I've also done my whole life. (hyper-focus, stress reliever)

I switched to Vyvanse and felt great mentally again...had a euphoric feeling for 1/2 hour after taking it, evened out, felt more chatty and able to talk without stumbling over words and thoughts, felt productive! Very thirsty sometimes dry mouth...drank lots of water all day. Then didn't feel such great gains so Raised dose from 30mg 1x daily to 50 mg 1x daily. I Began to notice cystic like acne on my previously clear skin....along jaw line, behind ears, sides of neck, some upper back, and scalp, and thighs.  Felt increased desire to pick at skin.  Not good.  Picked at the breakouts...twice so badly I didn't want to leave the house because of the marks. Found myself running hands through hair to feel bumps on my scalp.  Cyst like bumps behind my ears.  Maybe stimulants are speeding up skin cell turnover rate and pores are clogging? Discontinued med and realized I missed the positive effects (felt so mentally normal on it, (well other than up rise of OCD skin picking) that I realized how "off" I felt without it)  But My skin cleared right up, quickly.  I tried it again for a week at 30 flared.  Part of the skin problem may be due to the dehydration this med causes...I should also mention major decrease in my appetite, some weight loss and poor eating habits developed while on this med...meaning yes you can survive on a diet of mainly ben & jerrys....wanting/needing SWEETS!  Probably because I'm nearly starving myself with lack of appetite and by the time I need some fuel it needs to be a quick sugar.  Could that be the reason for major skin eruptions?  Yes I'm sure it doesn't help...but I noticed the skin eruptions immediately when returning to the med.   And I'm not sure if I can eat properly while on this med for some reason.  I almost feel like I can think clearly and get so much done, but couldn't take care of (nourish) myself for some reason- even though in the back of my mind I knew this was a major problem. I also think my body feels tricked into thinking it doesn't need food because it is feeling so energized/powered by the med.  Two pharmacists and 2 doctors have told me they know nothing about acne linked to vyvanse (not in the side effect list)

Then Concerta....just a few weeks, a low dose.  I feel like the acne is back but less severe.  I am less organized and leaving wakes of small disasters here and there.  Feeling absent minded a bit.  But still better than with no med...

I have not tried Adderall or Dexedrine.  

Yikes, its now 11:30 pm.  There should be a 9:30pm cut off for ADD'ers to post or read anything ADD!  ;)



What I've Seen

I don't have ADHD and I don't take stimulants, but I have had a similar experience. I've taken SSRI medications (anti-depressants) for years and have experimented with different brands. A couple of brands definitely affected my skin (pimples/breakouts). Acne was not listed as a side-effect for either one. However, my doctor told me that the medication affects the metabolism (chemical reactions in the body) and so he wasn't surprised by the unusual side-effect. The skin issues didn't recede with time, but stayed for as long as I was on that certain medication. I think something similar is happening with your skin & meds. There's obviously a direct link.

The males in my family all have ADHD and take different medications for them. The food/appetite/cravings has been a side effect for all of them. My youngest boy, especially, has a distinct loss of appetite. We try to shove food in him first thing in the morning and late evening when the meds are not in his system. I think his nightly bowl of ice cream is the only thing keeping him alive. :)

My husband takes Vyvanse. It gives him dry mouth. He also developed a tic (flexing foot). He's actually given himself a bunion from all the flexing.

Unfortunately, all medicines will have side-effects. Each medication is a little different and will affect your body differently. You will have to decide what side-effects are tolerable or not.

Good luck. 

Rosber's picture

I take 40Mg Vyvanse every

I take 40Mg Vyvanse every morning at 7am along with a GNC Mega Men Multivitamin. The only negative side effect for me was the dry mouth and becoming more chatty and an increase in my voice volume. I drink water all day and night long now, and the dry mouth isn't an issue for me anymore.  On the plus side it helps me focus and I get work done each day. I complete my daily tasks. I am in a better mood now that I take. I am able to go to sleep at a decent hour and don't have any negative reactions to my medicine wearing off before bed.

(I was a person who was prone to acne when I was younger and I grew out of it. I am not having any acne flair ups from the Vyvanse. I do not get hungry though, so I make sure to eat a lite breakfast, fruit before lunch, a lite lunch, fruit before dinner, and then I eat a lite dinner. I do have cravings for sweets now and then but I eat a piece of fruit if I get a craving for a snack.) ( I am not sure what eating habits are? Maybe change the food you are eating? Maybe the Vyvanse is reacting to that? )

Along with my Vyvanse though I:

1. I Walk/Run 2miles 4 days a week with my wife and on the other 3 days a week I get up at 4:45 am and do an exercise bootcamp for an hour. We do floor exercising and we run up to a 5k, but not always that far.

2. I eat healthy and I eat smaller portions.

3. I go to bed every night around 9:00 PM/10:00PM.

( I don't know anyone personally on Vyvanse other than myself. I am going in for a Doctors recheck on the 18th. I will ask my Doctor about acne as a side effect. She put me on Vyvanse because she feels it is the safest medication. Its what she gives to her ADHD son. There are lots of medications for ADHD, I hope you find one that works as well as the Vyvanse for you without the acne. )



Med Reactions and Alternatives

Greetings Fellow ADHDer and Fellow New Englander :)!

I have been on Wellbutrin, Adderall, Vyvanse, Concerta, Focalin, and Ritalin.  I think that's it ;)...  Oops, forgot about Strattera.  Each one has had its' side effects, and being a teacher, I have also seen different people react very differently to the same medication.  Vyvanse put me to sleep like Benadryl, and so did Adderall to a lesser extent.  Wellbutrin gave me serious hand tremors and shortness of breath.  Concerta has a steep drop off when it wore off, and it was fast and furious, like my reaction to coming off of it.  It worked as well as it could, though.  Focalin worked as well as it could, but without the drop off.  I did have a student who developed OCD behaviors (picking) with Concerta.  I had him for two years, and saw him on different meds, but each time he went back to Concerta, he started picking his skin and his hair :(.  He knew that was the cause, too.  It worked better for focus than the other meds, at least for him, but then the OCD behaviors started dominating his concentration.

As far as acne is concerned, sugar and dairy are key dietary culprits.  My nutritionist told me this when I told her my skin cleared up on an elimination diet to test myself for ADHD food sensitivities.  She is right.  If I eat too much cheese, I break out.  It's not so much the meds I suspect as it how your eating habits change with different stimulants. 

I have been completely off medication for over 6 months, thanks to my nutritionist and Naturopathic Doctor, and my concentration is SIGNIFICANTLY better than it was before.  I have a lot of ADHD food sensitivities which worsened my symptoms.  As you can see, I tried A LOT of different meds, because I simply wasn't getting better, and NO MATTER WHAT I DID, I felt like I was taking 2 steps forward and 40 back.  I now know that my food allergies were cause stomach inflammation, this was causing leaking gut, that caused food and medication to go EVERYWHERE and gave all kinds of shitty inflammatory reactions to everything, which is why my meds never worked as they should have.  What's more, I also don't process my B vitamins well, so I have to take a broken down form (methylated form) of them.  I have to take 8,000% of the daily allowance of B12, but as a result, I just don't need my meds anymore.  Don't get me wrong, I am still, and forever ADHD :).  However, in spite of my internal laughter at my Naturopath's suggestion that this complex would get me "off medication," I found myself dialing down my dosage over the course of the first week because once I started processing toxins (which apparently I wasn't doing before my B12's), I COULD NOT take medication; it was simply too powerful.

So yeah, there aren't a lot of us, but success; great success; can be found alternatively.  Most people just don't know about all this.  And if I didn't take my B12's, I would be right back where I was before.  I need it like others need medication, because I have ADHD pretty severely, and it requires treatment.  I've tried to stop taking it, because my Naturopath said she wasn't sure if I would need it for the rest of my life, and though it took a week to wear off, I couldn't get through the day functionally, and that was when I went down from 3 to 1 pill a day.  

O.K. Time to go make my kids lunches!


vyvanse acne

Hello I have been on vyvanse for about 2 years, I have cyst and bump all along my jaw line by my ears and on my forehead.  Yesterday I mentioned it to my doctor and she switched me to adderral. vyvanse is great for me mentally but the acne and cyst on my face is awful.  I have not had acne since I was 13 I am 37 years old. They should list the acne/cyst as a side affect for vyvanse.  After reading other post I see that this is a side affect.