Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available



  • Pill
  • Extended release
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Helps you focus and stay alert.

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Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Our bottom line

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.


  • 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.
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  • 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.

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What to expect when you take Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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.
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Side effects for Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)

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These are side effects of Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.

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Risks and Warnings for Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) 14 days before starting

    Taking Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) when you've recently stopped taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors within the last two weeks can cause your blood pressure to rise very high. Go to the emergency room or talk to your doctor immediately if you feel dizzy or faint or have a very bad headache.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate)

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The FDA category for this medication is C. It is advised that you: Weigh risks vs. benefits
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • 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.
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • 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.