Compare Focalin vs. Adderall

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

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
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
Upsides
  • 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.
  • 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.
Downsides
  • 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.
  • 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.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
141 reviews so far
55%
saidit'sworth it
35%
saiditworked well
21%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)?

Leave a review
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
Side effects
The Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • 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
  • 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