Compare Focalin vs. Adderall

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

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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
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
Upsides
  • 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.
  • 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.
Downsides
  • 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.
  • 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.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
141 reviews so far
55%
saidit'sworth it
35%
saiditworked well
21%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)?

Leave a review
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
Side effects
The Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Adderall (dextroamphetamine / amphetamine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • 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
  • 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