Compare Focalin vs. Vyvanse

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

Focalin
(Dexmethylphenidate)

Vyvanse
(Lisdexamfetamine)

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 focus and stay alert. Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD and you only have to take it once a day. However, it's only available as brand name drug, so it can be expensive.
Find lowest prices
Powered by GoodRxSave on your next prescription. Be sure you’re getting the lowest price for your medication, even if you have insurance.
Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
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 Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine)
65%
+13% vs. Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)
46%
+15% vs. Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)
18%
+4% vs. Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)
Side effects
FocalinVyvanse

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

FDA side effect reports for Focalin »
  • Decreased appetite 35%
  • Dry mouth 23%
  • Sleep difficulty 19%
  • Any side effect 8%
  • Abdominal pain upper 6%
  • Vomiting 5%
  • Drowsiness 1%
  • Fever 1%
More Vyvanse side effects »
How it works
FocalinVyvanse
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.Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) is an amphetamine 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.
Type of medication
FocalinVyvanse
StimulantPrescription only
StimulantPrescription only
Available as
FocalinVyvanse
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
FocalinVyvanse
Risk factors for serious side effects
FocalinVyvanse
  • 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 »
        • 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
        • Children ages 6 to 12
          Detailed Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) risks & warnings »
          Pregnancy category
          FocalinVyvanse
          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.
          • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
          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.No specific sleep-related info.
          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 may occur. In clinical studies, long-term treatment with stimulants similar to Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) caused a temporary slowing of growth rate (both height and weight) in children ages six to twelve years. Doctors should monitor children's growth during treatment.
          Upsides and benefits
          FocalinVyvanse
          • 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.
          • Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) is used in combination with counseling or other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
          • Usually dosed once a day, so parents don't need to send the medication with their children to school.
          • The capsule can be taken whole, or opened into a glass of water or orange juice, or swallowed in a spoonful of yogurt.
          Downsides and risks
          FocalinVyvanse
          • 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.
          • Has to be taken in the morning, otherwise it can cause insomnia later that night.
          • Not available as a generic medication, so it can be expensive.
          • Not safe for people with a history of heart problems.
          • It's a controlled medication and should be locked up to prevent potential abuse.
          Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
          FocalinVyvanse
          • 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.
          • 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 raise your blood pressure and pulse, so it's not safe for people with heart problems.
          • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
          • Take Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) early in the morning to prevent insomnia later that night.
          • Avoid driving the first few days that you take Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) until you know how your body reacts to it.
          • Store it in a locked area to prevent abuse.
          • It can cause changes in your mood.
          • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
          • Can raise your blood pressure and pulse, so it's not safe for people with heart problems.
          Learn more
          More about FocalinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          More about VyvanseSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert