Compare Vyvanse vs. Focalin

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

Vyvanse
(Lisdexamfetamine)

Focalin
(Dexmethylphenidate)

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.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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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.924276169265033Vyvanse
Reviews for Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine)
65%
of people say Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine) is worth it
46%
say it works well
18%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)
52%
13% vs. Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine)
31%
15% vs. Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine)
22%
4% vs. Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine)
Side effects
VyvanseFocalin
  • 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 »

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

FDA side effect reports for Focalin »
How it works
VyvanseFocalin
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.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
VyvanseFocalin
StimulantPrescription only
StimulantPrescription only
Available as
VyvanseFocalin
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
VyvanseFocalin
Risk factors for serious side effects
VyvanseFocalin
  • 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 »
    • 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 category
          VyvanseFocalin
          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
          No specific sex-related info.
          • 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.
          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 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.
          • 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.
          Upsides and benefits
          VyvanseFocalin
          • 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.
          • 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
          VyvanseFocalin
          • 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.
          • 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
          VyvanseFocalin
          • 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.
          • 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.
          Learn more
          More about VyvanseSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          More about FocalinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert