Document and Entity Information
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2012
Oct. 26, 2012
Document and Entity Information    
Entity Registrant Name VIVUS INC  
Entity Central Index Key 0000881524  
Document Type 10-Q  
Document Period End Date Sep. 30, 2012  
Amendment Flag false  
Current Fiscal Year End Date --12-31  
Entity Current Reporting Status Yes  
Entity Filer Category Large Accelerated Filer  
Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding   100,588,350
Document Fiscal Year Focus 2012  
Document Fiscal Period Focus Q3