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Focalin Side Effects: a Complete Review

Focalin side effects long-term
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


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The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs. Read more

Dexmethylphenidate, marketed as Focalin, is used to treat ADHD. Focalin XR is a stimulant that is taken orally and has an extended-release. It has been approved for ADHD treatment in children aged 6 to 12, adolescents, and adults. However, despite Focalin’s efficacy in treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, its usage has been associated with side effects. This article will get a complete review of Focalin’s side effects. So, let’s dive in!

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How Does Focalin Make You Feel?

Focalin works by changing the number of certain substances in the brain. It is a Central nervous system(CNS) stimulant. It works by improving focus and alertness in ADHD patients. Because it is a CNS stimulant, it may cause alertness or wakefulness in the patients taking it. Although the precise mechanism of action is unknown, Focalin is thought to promote the effects of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Low norepinephrine and dopamine levels may contribute to ADHD symptoms.

Is Focalin the Strongest ADHD Medication?

Dexmethylphenidate is the active component of methylphenidate, which is why Focalin is considered twice as strong as drugs like Ritalin and Concerta on an mg for mg basis. The concept underneath Focalin is that the dexmethylphenidate HCl isomer is more effective than the methylphenidate in medicine such as Ritalin while producing fewer side effects. Because of this distinction, Focalin is frequently prescribed at half the dose of Ritalin while providing equivalent therapeutic benefits.

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Most Common Side Effects of Focalin

Focalin’s most common side effects are upset stomach (pain abdomen), elevated heart rate (tachycardia), raised blood pressure, dry mouth, and nausea. Stimulants can also cause appetite loss, which can lead to weight loss. Listed below are the most common side effects of Focalin;

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraine
  • Dry mouth
  • Disturb taste
  • Headache

Focalin may also cause some psychological or emotional side effects. Focalin’s emotional side effects may include mood swings, aggression, suicidal thoughts, and agitation. Focalin’s side effects in adults and children may be the same. However, your child may experience minor headaches, tummy aches, or even nausea when starting a new medication. So, seek professional assistance from your doctor.

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Focalin drug interactions

Long-term Side Effects of Focalin

Focalin is also habit-forming, which means that chronic use can cause physical drug dependence. Stimulant drugs interact with the brain’s chemical makeup and have a mind-altering impact. Therefore, the longer and more of the medication taken, the more significant dependence will be. The prescribing information for Focalin XR warns that the drug has a high risk of dependence. The following long-term side effects of Focalin can be observed when the drug wears off;

  • Mood swings and depression
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Night terrors as well as vivid dreams
  • Increased appetite
  • Problems with coordination and motor control

Focalin Drug Interactions

Focalin has some drug interactions as well. For example, MAOIs, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors, can enhance the effects of CNS stimulants like Focalin. However, when MAOIs are combined with CNS stimulants, they can cause high blood pressure, also called hypertensive crisis, heart attack, and stroke. Therefore, Focalin should not be used in conjunction with MAOIs or within 14 days of discontinuing an MAOI. Focalin should be used with caution in people taking serotonergic medications such as antidepressants, lithium, fentanyl, and St. John’s wort when Focalin is combined with serotonergic drugs, the risk of serotonin syndrome, a potentially fatal condition, increases.

Because stimulants can cause an increase in blood pressure, the effects of blood pressure medications may be reduced. Therefore, if you are taking a stimulant and blood pressure medication, you may need to adjust your dosage. PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) may interfere with the absorption of Focalin. This may result in an increase or decrease in effects.

Wrap Up

Despite Focalin’s efficacy, patients should be aware that there is a risk of abuse with Focalin. This is particularly true if the individual has a history of substance abuse. Before using, discuss Focalin’s side effects and interactions with your doctor. Still, have any questions? Get in touch with certified professionals at MEDvidi to get the best telemedicine services.

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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


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