Compare Focalin vs. Dexedrine

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

Focalin
(Dexmethylphenidate)

Dexedrine
(Dextroamphetamine)

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.Helps you stay awake and focus. Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) is an effective and cheap medication used to treat ADHD, but it can be habit-forming and is not used for long-term treatment.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
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4.290076335877862Focalin
Reviews for Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)
52%
of people say Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) is worth it
31%
say it works well
22%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine)
90%
+38% vs. Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)
76%
+45% vs. Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)
24%
2% vs. Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)
Side effects
FocalinDexedrine

We haven’t found good data for Focalin side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Focalin »

We haven’t found good data for Dexedrine side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Dexedrine »
How it works
FocalinDexedrine
Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) is a stimulant. Researchers don't know exactly how it works for ADHD, but it increases norepinephrine and dopamine activity in the brain, which affects attention and behavior.Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) is a stimulant. It treats narcolepsy and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by increasing norepinephrine and dopamine activity in the brain.
Type of medication
FocalinDexedrine
StimulantPrescription only
StimulantPrescription only
Available as
FocalinDexedrine
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
FocalinDexedrine
Risk factors for serious side effects
FocalinDexedrine
  • Taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) 14 days before starting
  • History of drug abuse
  • History of heart problems
  • History of psychotic episodes
  • History of Bipolar Disorder
  • Ages 7 to 10
  • History of seizures
        Detailed Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) risks & warnings »
        • History of heart problems
        • History of drug abuse
        • History of psychotic episodes
        • History of bipolar disorder
        • Children
        • History of seizures
        • Women of childbearing age
        • Breastfeeding
        • Use of MAO inhibitors
        Detailed Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy category
        FocalinDexedrine
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        Alcohol
        • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
        No specific alcohol-related info.
        Food
        No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
        Kidneys and liver
        No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
        Sex
        • There have been reports of men having an erection lasting more than 4 hours while on Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate). This has been rare. If not treated in time, this can cause permanent damage to your penis, including impotence. Talk to your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if this happens.
        No specific sex-related info.
        Sleep
        No specific sleep-related info.
        • Take your last dose before early afternoon, otherwise you won't be able to sleep.
        Weight
        • Appetite suppression may occur. In clinical studies, long-term treatment with stimulants similar to Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) caused a temporary slowing of growth rate (both height and weight) in children who started the medication between ages 7 and 10. Doctors should monitor children's growth during treatment.
        • Appetite suppression can occur. In clinical studies, long-term treatment with stimulants similar to Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) caused a temporary slowing of growth rate (both height and weight) in children who started the medication before they started puberty. Doctors should monitor children's growth during treatment.
        Upsides and benefits
        FocalinDexedrine
        • 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.
        • Recommended as a first-choice medication to treat ADHD in both adults and children.
        • Available as a generic, so it is cheaper than other medications used to treat ADHD.
        • Available in an immediate release and extended release form, which allows for once or twice a day dosing.
        Downsides and risks
        FocalinDexedrine
        • 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.
        • Fruit juice lowers the amount of Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) that gets into your body.
        • If you want to stop taking Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine), you have to talk to your doctor since stopping cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms.
        • Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) is usually not used long-term since it can be habit-forming.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        FocalinDexedrine
        • Store Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) in a locked area to prevent abuse.
        • Take it early in the morning to prevent insomnia later that night.
        • It can cause changes in your mood and vision.
        • Can raise your blood pressure and pulse, so it's not safe for people with heart problems.
        • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
        • The extended-release capsules can be opened and sprinkled on a small amount of applesauce.
        • Common side effects include a decreased appetite, nausea, and insomnia.
        • Take your last dose before early afternoon, otherwise you won't be able to sleep.
        • Don't take with fruit juice or vitamin C, because they'll lower the amount of Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) that gets into your body.
        • Can affect your concentration, so don't drive or do anything that requires concentration until you know how your body reacts to it.
        • If you've been taking Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) for a while and decide to stop it, you'll experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop it too fast.
        • Can cause reduced appetite, insomnia, and restlessness.
        Learn more
        More about FocalinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about DexedrineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert