Compare Focalin vs. Kapvay

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.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.
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Coupons for Focalin
Best available price for 60 (10mg) tablets of focalin
Coupons for Kapvay
Best available price for 60 (0.1mg) tablets of clonidine
Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Focalin
of people (All ages) say Focalin is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
141 reviews
Have you used Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Kapvay (clonidine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects

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

FDA side effect reports for Focalin »
  • Sleepiness 34%
  • Headache 4%
  • Fatigue 15%
  • Upper abdominal pain 3%
  • Irritability 5%
  • Dizziness 2%
  • Sleep difficulty 4%
  • Emotional disorder 3%
  • Nightmare 4%
  • Nausea 1%
More Kapvay side effects »
How it works
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.Kapvay (clonidine) is an alpha-2 agonist. It's not entirely clear how it works for ADHD, but it lowers the activity of certain stress hormones in the brain.
Type of medication
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Extended release
Used for
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • 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
Detailed Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) risks & warnings »
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Stopping Kapvay (clonidine) suddenly
Detailed Kapvay (clonidine) risks & warnings »

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.

  • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
No alcohol related info.
No sleep related info.
  • People who take Kapvay (clonidine) can feel very sleepy during the day. It can be worse if you're taking other medicines that also make you sleepy, like pain medicines, or medicines for anxiety. Be very careful driving or doing anything that requires your full concentration until you know how your body reacts to it.
  • Can cause drowsiness, headache, dizziness, and dry mouth.
Upsides and benefits
  • 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.
Downsides and risks
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
  • 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.
  • Can cause drowsiness, headache, dizziness, and dry mouth.
  • You might have to take Kapvay (clonidine) for at least two weeks before you notice any changes.
  • Don't stop taking this medicine suddenly without talking to your doctor.
  • Swallow Kapvay (clonidine) whole. Don't chew, cut or crush the pill.
  • If you forget your daily dose of Kapvay (clonidine), skip it for that day. Don't double up the next day.
Learn more
More about FocalinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about KapvaySide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Kapvay (clonidine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it