Lisdexamfetamine mesylate (Vyvanse(®)) is a novel prodrug approved for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is metabolised to d-amfetamine and l-lysine. In drug-experienced humans, lisdexamfetamine evoked lower “Drug liking” scores on Drug Rating Questionnaire (DRQ) scales than immediate-release (IR) d-amfetamine. This study investigated why lisdexamfetamine may have lower abuse potential and a better therapeutic window than d-amfetamine. We compared the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic relationships of lisdexamfetamine and IR d-amfetamine in freely-moving rats by measuring simultaneously extracellular concentrations of striatal dopamine, plasma concentrations of d-amfetamine and lisdexamfetamine, and locomotor activity. At equivalent doses (1.5 mg/kg d-amfetamine base), lisdexamfetamine produced smaller, but more sustained, increases in striatal dopamine efflux than d-amfetamine and substantially less locomotor activation. Consistent with it being a prodrug, increased striatal dopamine and locomotion correlated with plasma concentration of its metabolite, d-amfetamine, but not the parent compound. Compared with IR d-amfetamine, lisdexamfetamine produced an identical AUC for plasma d-amfetamine, but a 50% lower C(max) and significantly delayed t(max). Where a hysteresis relationship did exist between plasma concentrations of d-amfetamine and striatal dopamine or locomotor activity, they were anticlockwise in direction for lisdexamfetamine and IR d-amfetamine. For extracellular striatal dopamine (neurochemical mediator) and locomotor activity (functional outcome), it was anticlockwise for lisdexamfetamine, but clockwise for IR d-amfetamine. This shows that lisdexamfetamine produced less pronounced behavioural activation as dopamine concentrations increased, but activity was maintained for longer when they declined. These findings help explain why the unusual pharmacokinetics of lisdexamfetamine evoked lower “Drug liking” scores than IR d-amfetamine and also suggest therapeutic window between efficacy and stimulant side-effects will be larger.
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