Compare Focalin vs. Kapvay

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

Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)

Prescription only

Kapvay (clonidine)

Prescription only
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.

4.5/ 7 average rating with 141 reviewsforFocalin
Treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Kapvay (clonidine) is one of the few medicines for ADHD that isn't a stimulant and not addictive, but it can lower your blood pressure.

  • 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.
  • Can be used alone or together with a stimulant-type medicine to treat ADHD.
  • Also treats blood pressure and some nervous system and psychiatric conditions.
  • Kapvay (clonidine) is available in generic.
  • 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.
  • Kapvay (clonidine) is not a first choice medicine to treat ADHD.
  • Kapvay (clonidine) can make you feel very dizzy or cause low blood pressure.
  • Stopping Kapvay (clonidine) suddenly can cause your blood pressure to jump and your heart to beat very fast.
  • It can take up to two weeks of taking Kapvay (clonidine) to notice any changes in behavior.
  • Kapvay (clonidine) has to be swallowed whole, which can be hard for some children to do.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Extended release
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Side effects
The Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
10possible side effects
  • Sleepiness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Aggression
  • Mood changes
  • Emotional disorders
See more detailed side effects
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

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Long-term growth suppression

    Ages 7 to 10

  • Seizures

    History of seizures

See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Sleepiness

    Taking with alcohol

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • High blood pressure

    Stopping Kapvay (clonidine) suddenly

See more detailed risks and warnings