Compare Ritalin vs. Focalin

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

Concerta
(methylphenidate)

Focalin
(dexmethylphenidate)

Helps you focus and stay alert. Concerta (Methylphenidate) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD. It comes in many different forms and is also available as a generic. That said, the immediate-release form needs to be taken more frequently than other alternatives.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.
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Prices and coupon for 90 (10mg) tablets of methylphenidate
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Prices and coupon for 60 (10mg) tablets of dexmethylphenidate
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.79Ritalin
Reviews for Concerta (methylphenidate)
60%
of people (All ages) say Concerta (methylphenidate) is worth it
42%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle
526 reviews
Have you used Concerta (methylphenidate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)
55%
-5% worse vs. Concerta (methylphenidate)
35%
-7% worse vs. Concerta (methylphenidate)
21%
-2% worse vs. Concerta (methylphenidate)
141 reviews
Have you used Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
RitalinFocalin
  • Upper abdominal pain 5%
  • Decreased appetite 5%
  • Headache 5%
  • Dry mouth 5%
  • Nausea 5%
  • Sleep difficulty 5%
  • Anxiety 5%
  • Dizziness 5%
  • Weight loss 5%
  • Irritability 5%
More Ritalin side effects »

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

FDA side effect reports for Focalin »
How it works
RitalinFocalin
Concerta (Methylphenidate) 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.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.
Type of medication
RitalinFocalin
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
RitalinFocalin
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Oral solution
  • Liquid
  • Patch
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for
RitalinFocalin
Risk factors for serious side effects
RitalinFocalin
  • History of heart problems
  • History of psychotic episodes
  • History of Bipolar Disorder
  • Children ages 7 to 10
  • History of drug abuse
  • History of seizures
      Detailed Concerta (methylphenidate) 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
      • Ages 7 to 10
      • History of seizures
            Detailed Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) 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
            RitalinFocalin
            • Patients should avoid alcohol since it'll cause worse side effects from Concerta (Methylphenidate).
            • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
            • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
            Upsides and benefits
            RitalinFocalin
            • First-choice medication to treat ADHD.
            • Concerta (Methylphenidate) is used in combination with counseling or other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
            • Available as a generic medication.
            • Available in many different forms: extended-release and immediate-release oral tablets, chewable immediate-release tablets, liquid, suspension, and skin patches.
            • Capsules can be opened and sprinkled in water or applesauce for people who don't like swallowing pills.
            • 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.
            Downsides and risks
            RitalinFocalin
            • The immediate-release form needs to be taken two or three times a day.
            • After taking Concerta, the tablet shell can be seen in your stool, but don't be concerned since the medication was still absorbed by your body.
            • The second or third dose needs be taken by early afternoon, otherwise insomnia can affect you that night.
            • Patients should avoid alcohol since it'll cause worse side effects from Concerta (Methylphenidate).
            • It's a controlled medication and should be locked up to prevent potential abuse.
            • 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.
            Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
            RitalinFocalin
            • Since it comes in many different forms, there are different requirements for how to take or use each type. Make sure you know how to take the one you have.
            • Store Concerta (Methylphenidate) 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.
            • 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.
            • 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.
            Learn more
            More about RitalinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
            Have you used Concerta (methylphenidate)?
            Worth itNot sureNot worth it
            More about FocalinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
            Have you used Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)?
            Worth itNot sureNot worth it