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.
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Prices and coupon for 60 (10mg) tablets of dexmethylphenidate
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Prices and coupon for 30 (30mg) capsules of lisdexamfetamine
Reviews & ratings
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4.45Focalin
Reviews for Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)
55%
of people (All ages) say Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) is worth it
35%
say it works well
21%
say it's a big hassle
141 reviews
Have you used Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)
67%
+12% better vs. Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)
49%
+14% better vs. Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)
17%
+4% better vs. Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)
491 reviews
Have you used Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
FocalinVyvanse

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

FDA side effect reports for Focalin »
  • Decreased appetite 35%
  • Sleep difficulty 20%
  • Abdominal pain upper 6%
  • Irritability 10%
  • Any side effect 8%
  • Vomiting 5%
  • Weight loss 8%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Dry mouth 5%
  • Dizziness 5%
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
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
FocalinVyvanse
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
Used for
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

          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.

          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.

          Alcohol
          FocalinVyvanse
          • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
          • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
          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.
          • It's a controlled medication and should be locked up to prevent potential abuse.
          • Not safe for people with a history of heart problems.
          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.
          • 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 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.
          • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
          • Store it in a locked area to prevent abuse.
          • It can cause changes in your mood.
          • 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
          Have you used Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)?
          Worth itNot sureNot worth it
          More about VyvanseSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          Have you used Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)?
          Worth itNot sureNot worth it