Compare Adderall vs. Focalin

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Helps you focus and stay alert.

Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD that's available as a generic, but it's a stimulant that can cause difficulty sleeping and other side effects.

3.9/ 5 average rating with 1309 reviewsforAdderall
Helps you focus and stay alert.

Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD that's available as a generic, but it's a stimulant, so it can cause insomnia and other side effects.

3.3/ 5 average rating with 141 reviewsforFocalin
Upsides
  • First-choice medication to treat ADHD.
  • Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) is used together with counseling or other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
  • Available as an affordable generic medication.
  • Available in both immediate and extended release forms.
  • For the extended release capsule, if you can't swallow the whole capsule, the capsule can be opened, mixed in a spoonful of applesauce, and swallowed.
  • Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) is used in combination with counseling or other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
  • Available as a generic medication.
  • Available in both an immediate-release form, which is given twice a day, and an extended-release form, which is given once a day.
  • Capsules can be opened and sprinkled in water or applesauce for people who don't like swallowing pills.
Downsides
  • Must take in the morning and early afternoon, otherwise it can cause difficulty sleeping.
  • It's a controlled medication and should be locked up to prevent potential abuse.
  • Not safe for people with a history of heart problems.
  • For school-aged children, a second dose will likely need to be given at school.
  • Needs to be taken in the morning and early afternoon, or else it can cause insomnia later that night.
  • It's a controlled medication and should be locked up to prevent potential abuse.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Price
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Reviews
1309 reviews so far
74%
saidit'sworth it
53%
saiditworked well
16%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine)?

Leave a review
141 reviews so far
55%
saidit'sworth it
35%
saiditworked well
21%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Serious or life-threatening cardiovascular events
    • History of heart problems
    • Misuse of Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine)
  • Dependence and abuse
    • History of drug abuse
    • Misuse of Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine)
  • Serotonin syndrome
    • Taking other medicines that affect serotonin levels
  • Aggressive behavior and psychosis
    • History of psychotic episodes
    • History of bipolar disorder
  • Driving impairment
    • Taking Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that cause dizziness and/or drowsiness
  • Long-term growth suppression
    • Children ages 7 to 10
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • High blood pressure
    • Taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) 14 days before starting
  • Abuse and dependence
    • History of drug abuse
  • Serious or life-threatening cardiovascular events
    • History of heart problems
  • Aggressive behavior and psychosis
    • History of psychotic episodes
    • History of Bipolar Disorder
  • Long-term growth suppression
    • Ages 7 to 10
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
  • Prolonged erection
  • Circulation problems in the hands and feet
  • Vision changes
See more detailed risks and warnings
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Disclaimer: We don't provide medical advice. If you think you might have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.