Focalin – Information, Uses, Side Effects and Dosage


Drug Trade Name: Focalin

Category: CNS Stimulant

Generic Name: dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride

Introduction and Quick Information:


Focalin is a drug that mildly stimulates the central nervous system and is found to be effective in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Short attention span, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, distractibility and emotional changeability are some of the symptoms of ADHD treated with the use of Focalin. 

It is a catecholamine reuptake inhibitor which increases the transmission of catecholamines- dopamine and norepinephrine- in the brain. These neurotransmitters increase your attention span by making you more alert.

Is It Approved By U.S. FDA?     

Focalin was approved by the U.S. FDA on November 13, 2001.

Usage and Benefits of Focalin:

As Focalin is a central nervous system stimulant, thus it can be used for the treatment of following mental disorders:

  • ADHD
  • Tic disorder
  • Major depression
  • Narcolepsy

Focalin Side Effects:

Side-effects associated with Focalin are listed below-

  • Nausea
  • Fainting
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Twitching
  • High fever
  • Trouble breathing
  • Blurred vision
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • High fever
  • Weight loss

Medical attention and doctor’s supervision is necessary in case you experience any side-effect.

General Recommended Dosages of Focalin:

The dosage of any drug should be strictly according to doctor’s prescription.

In Case I Miss the Dose?


Missing a dose can be harmful in case of Focalin because it is not advised to take this medicine in the evening as it may cause insomnia. The correct time for Focalin dosage is in the morning prior to breakfast or with breakfast. So, skipping the missed dose altogether is the better option.

In Case I Take Overdose?

Overdose might result in results in a headache, nausea, insomnia, twitching and blurred vision. Kindly seek medical attention as soon as possible in case of overdose. 

Drug Interactions of Focalin:

Following are some of the drugs that show interaction with Focalin:

  • lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse)
  • sertraline hydrochloride (Zoloft)
  • aripiprazole (Abilify)
  • clonazepam (Clonazepam)
  • trazodone (Desyrel)
  • modafinil (Provigil)
  • methylphenidate hydrochloride (Concerta)
  • escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro)
  • atomoxetine hydrochloride (Strattera)
  • lamotrigine (Lamictal)
  • clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • quetiapine fumarate (Seroquel)
  • topiramate (Topamax)

Kindly consult your doctor before taking any medication.

Lifestyle and Food Habits You Must Follow When on Focalin:

When on Focalin, keep the following things in mind for best results-

  • Take this medication as prescribed by your doctor
  • Visit your doctor for occasional changes in your dose
  • Best time for taking this medication is in the morning prior to breakfast
  • Don’t use it in the evening as it may cause insomnia
  • Store it at room temperature
  • Keep it away from heat and moisture
  • Keep it out of the reach of children.
  • Avoiding drinking and smoking

How Safe Is Focalin for Pregnant Women or Nursing Mothers?

The U.S. FDA categorizes Focalin under its pregnancy category C, which means it should only be prescribed if the benefits outweigh risks. 

Focalin is secreted in the breastmilk and hence, nursing mothers should not take it.

Complications and Conditions Possible Due to Prolonged Use of Focalin:

Long-term use of Focalin can result in habit formation and make you drug dependent. Abrupt cessation of Focalin consumption can result in withdrawal symptoms. Physicians who prescribe Focalin for more than 6 weeks should periodically evaluate the usefulness of the drug for the patient.

Availability of Focalin:

Capsules of Focalin are available at various medical centers approved by the U.S. FDA and also at government healthcare centers. You can buy them from any of these centers on prescription only.