adult adhd focalin

By Tammy Preston, MS

Generic Name: Dexmethylphenidate

Brand Names: Focalin XR, Attenade, and generic versions available

Manufacturer: Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Celgene Corporation, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries

What is Focalin XR?
Dexmethylphenidate is a medication that is FDA approved for the treatment of ADHD in both adults and children. Its effects last about six hours, but in the XR (extended release) version, its effects last for about 12 hours after taking it.

How does Focalin XR work?
Like a lot of medications for adults attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Dexmethylphenidate is a stimulant.

Dexmethylphenidate increases the amount of dopamine, which can create a sense of euphoria.

How do I take Focalin XR?
Focalin XR comes in 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, and 40 mg capsules. Physicians usually start dosage at the 5 gm per day level and then adjust the dosage upward by 5 mg increments, depending on the patient’s initial reaction to the medication.

Is Focalin XR effective for Adult ADHD?
Many studies have shown that Focalin is successful in treating the symptoms of ADHD in both adults and children. Many patients have reported that Focalin is stronger and works better for them than Adderall or Ritalin.

Focalin XR Minor Side Effects
Dexmethylphenidate causes many of the same minor side effects that all stimulants used for adult ADHD do. However, most of the time these minor side effects go away after a few weeks of treatment. Minor side effects include:
· Upset Stomach
· Sleep difficulties
· Diarrhea or Constipation
· Irritability and Restlessness
· Loss of appetite
· Mouth dryness
· Weight loss

Focalin XR Precautions

Addiction and Abuse
Dexmethylphenidate can cause an euphoric feeling in some people when taken, and there is often also increased tolerance for the medication over time. The results of this are a strong potentila for addiction to, and abuse of, Focalin XR. As a result, the medication is a Schedule II controlled drug in the United States.

Cardiac Precautions
Don’t take Focalin XR if you have a history of heart health issues such as high blood pressure, angina, or heart attacks.

Other Precautions
Don’t take Focalin XR at the same time as any MAO inhibitors.

Focalin XR Withdrawal
Dexmethylphenidate is highly addictive and can cause strong withdrawal symptoms when dosage is ended. Common withdrawal symptoms include migraines, exhaustion, and hunger.

Spencer, et al. (2006) Efficacy and Safety of Dexmethylphenidate Extended-Release Capsules in Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Keating, et al. (2002) Dexmethylphenidate

Moen, et al. (2009) Dexmethylphenidate Extended Release: A Review of its Use in the Treatment of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


  1. Suzy Abbasi says

    I would like to know if this medication Focalin is good for me.

  2. Debra K Ehline. says

    I am glad to report that the Focalin XR is the only prescription that has been able to be right on with my mental medical diagnosis! I have tried over 5 other medications including the Generic that did work for me but for a short period of time. 6 months I am a 53 yrs old and I know what my body responds to and what it does not More than any Doctor can even measure. You must be honest and fight for what works for you or you will be spending the rest of you life in a fog or not really knowing how wonderful life can be for people like us!! I wish all of you the best of luck and be STRONG FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN! It pays off believe me. DKE

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