Vyvanse is one of the next generation drugs for treating ADHD. The chemical structure of Vyvanse is:

If you want to know why people call drugs by short names like “Vyvanse”, it’s mostly marketing. Well, marketing plus the fact that the official name for the above compound is (2S)-2,6-diamino-N-[(1S)-1-methyl-2-phenylethyl]hexanamide dimethanesulfonate.

Ignore the bracketed structure on the right. That’s the dimethanesulfonate part, and it’s only there to act as a charge-balancing counterion.

The main structure is a protected form of the drug Adderall, which has previously been used to treat ADHD. It’s been protected by attaching the free amino group on the Adderall to a lysine molecule. Vyvanse is a “pro-drug”, which means that it’s taken in an inactive form, but is activated in the body by some metabolic process. In this case, the amide bond between the Adderall and the lysine molecule is cleaved (see the dashed line below):

The result is one molecule of active stimulant, and one molecule of L-lysine, an essential amino acid:

We will be trying Vyvanse with the Girl. Because it is released in the system slowly, it delivers a smooth dosage for up to 12 hours. That includes “homework time”, which has always been an epic struggle for us. Many patients report that Vyvanse helps them remain clear-headed and functional all day.

The Girl’s new psychiatrist doesn’t believe the tics are related to a Ritalin overdose, just a developing sensitivity to the drug. Will they come back? We don’t know. All we can do is try it, and wait and see. But we have hope.

And this latest hope couldn’t come soon enough. Yesterday the wife put a block on the Girl’s meal account at middle school, so she couldn’t keep buying cookies, jerky, and other ala carte items at lunchtime. We’ve also had to put a note in her file that she is not permitted to have breakfast at school. Yes, she’s started eating double breakfasts again.

Just this morning, we discovered that she hasn’t handed in a single math homework assignment all trimester. This is despite the fact that we make sure she gets the daily homework from the school website. I even sat down and worked through her homework on decimals one night, and the Wife has been working with her on fractions. I guess we will have to personally check every problem on her assignment. Yet another thing to check up on, every single day.

She had her first band concert last night. We and all the other parents hunkered down on the wooden bleachers and listened to the sixth graders labor their way through a couple of tunes. Then a surprisingly good jazz band did a few songs, and the concert band finished out the show. As always, there were some squeaky clarinets, missed notes, and solos that seemed to go faster and faster-until-the-damn-thing-was-finally-over. Whew! And, as always, there were a few kids that seemed to shine from the crowd, kids with real musical ability that couldn’t be hidden by mere inexperience.

The Girl played a solo on her trombone, and we were very proud. She messed up a teensy bit, but we tried to assure her that for her first concert, on a brand-new instrument, she did quite well. She was clearly taking it seriously, and seems to really enjoy band.

She had told us that it was tradition for parents to take the sixth-graders out for ice cream after the first concert. The band director also announced this tradition at the end of the performance. It’s a good thing, too. Up until that point I had just assumed the Girl had made it up. That she was taking advantage of an opportunity to scam some ice cream from her stupid parents. Finding that she was telling the truth was a relief, but a bittersweet one. I’d like to be able to believe what she tells me, without constantly looking for independent confirmation, without automatically assuming she has an angle.

Maybe this new drug will help.