Compare Focalin vs. Provigil

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

Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)

Prescription only

Provigil (Modafinil)

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
Improves alertness.

Provigil (Modafinil) is effective in improving alertness, but it can interact with other medicines and shouldn't be used long-term.

5.8/ 7 average rating with 28 reviewsforProvigil
  • 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.
  • It's a non-amphetamine medicine that helps improve alertness.
  • Available in a generic version.
  • Effective in reducing excessive sleepiness in Shift-work Sleep Disorder.
  • Doesn't negatively affect daytime sleep.
  • 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.
  • Provigil (Modafinil) can be habit-forming, so it's typically not used for long-term treatment.
  • Interacts with many other medications.
  • Taking Provigil (Modafinil) will make hormonal birth control less effective. You should definitely use additional forms of non-hormonal contraception.
  • Not a good choice if you have liver or kidney problems.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
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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
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Any side effect
  • Nervousness
  • Rhinitis
  • Back Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Dyspepsia
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
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
  • Driving impairment

    Taking with alcohol

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Increased side effects

    Current kidney problems

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Heart problems

    History of heart problems

  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior | Mania

    History of psychiatric disorder

    ...and 1 more risk factors

See more detailed risks and warnings