Compare Adderall vs. Focalin

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

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Helps you focus and stay alert.

Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD that's available as a generic, but it's a stimulant that can cause difficulty sleeping and other side effects.

3.9/ 5 average rating with 1309 reviewsforAdderall
Treats attention deficit disorder.

Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) effectively treats ADHD, and is usually recommended if first-line ADHD medications don't work for you.

3.3/ 5 average rating with 141 reviewsforFocalin
Upsides
  • First-choice medication to treat ADHD.
  • Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) is used together with counseling or other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
  • Available as an affordable generic medication.
  • Available in both immediate and extended release forms.
  • For the extended release capsule, if you can't swallow the whole capsule, the capsule can be opened, mixed in a spoonful of applesauce, and swallowed.
  • Effectively treats ADHD in children and adults.
  • Extended release capsules can be opened and sprinkled in applesauce for people who don't like swallowing pills.
  • The extended release pill is available in many strengths and allows for personalized dosing.
  • Available as a generic, so it should be reasonably priced.
Downsides
  • Must take in the morning and early afternoon, otherwise it can cause difficulty sleeping.
  • It's a controlled medication and should be locked up to prevent potential abuse.
  • Not safe for people with a history of heart problems.
  • For school-aged children, a second dose will likely need to be given at school.
  • Not carried by all pharmacies and may need to be special ordered for you.
  • Decreased appetite in children may affect their growth.
  • Requires a new prescription from your doctor every month so it may be a hassle for some people.
  • Has the potential for abuse, misuse, and dependence.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Price
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Reviews
1309 reviews so far
74%
saidit'sworth it
53%
saiditworked well
16%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine)?

Leave a review
141 reviews so far
55%
saidit'sworth it
35%
saiditworked well
21%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Serious or life-threatening cardiovascular events
    • History of heart problems
    • Misuse of Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine)
  • Dependence and abuse
    • History of drug abuse
    • Misuse of Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine)
  • Serotonin syndrome
    • Taking other medicines that affect serotonin levels
  • Aggressive behavior and psychosis
    • History of psychotic episodes
    • History of bipolar disorder
  • Driving impairment
    • Taking Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that cause dizziness and/or drowsiness
  • Long-term growth suppression
    • Children ages 7 to 10
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Abuse and dependence
    • History of substance abuse
  • Serious or life-threatening cardiovascular events
    • History of heart problems
  • Aggressive behavior and psychosis
    • History of psychotic episodes
    • History of bipolar Disorder
  • Long-term growth suppression
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
  • Blood circulation problems
See more detailed risks and warnings