What is the potential for abuse of lisdexamfetamine in adults? A preclinical and clinical literature review and expert opinion

Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2022 Aug;15(8):921-925. doi: 10.1080/17512433.2022.2112950. Epub 2022 Aug 18.


Introduction: Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (LDX) is a prodrug approved for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and for moderate-to-severe binge eating disorder in adults in some countries.

Area covered: We aimed to specify the abuse potential of LDX in adults, using a review of pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD), animal, clinical, and pharmaco-epidemiological studies, through a PubMed search since inception until May 2021 using the following keywords: "lisdexamfetamine AND ('misuse' OR 'abuse' OR 'diversion' OR 'addiction')".

Expert opinion: Most of the studies highlighted a longer Tmax than dexamphetamine leading to a delayed onset of effects and a decreased Cmax. These PK parameters were often associated with a diminished feeling of euphoria, in comparison to immediate-release dexamphetamine. The potential for abuse was also limited by the prodrug property of LDX, thus reducing the risk of misuse. Nevertheless, all the data were not convergent, as some authors reported similar Cmax for LDX and dexamphetamine and reinforcing properties with a dose-dependent effect. Epidemiological studies found that abuse rates of LDX were substantially lower than those of immediate-release dexamphetamine. Overall, although LDX abuse seems possible, we did not find evidence concerning current safety signal. However, more long-term pharmaco-epidemiological studies are still needed to confirm this finding.

Keywords: Abuse; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; lisdexamfetamine; misuse; safety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / drug therapy
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants* / adverse effects
  • Expert Testimony
  • Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate / adverse effects
  • Prodrugs* / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Prodrugs
  • Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate