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The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient's unique health circumstances and needs.

Focalin, also known as dexmethylphenidate, is mainly prescribed for ADHD treatment, but it may also help with narcolepsy. It works by stimulating the central nervous system to reduce impulsivity and enhance focus in patients with ADHD. Despite its effectiveness, Focalin shows both common and severe side effects, particularly since a large population could be abusing it.

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Read on to discover all you need to know about the various Focalin side effects.

What Is Dexmethylphenidate?

Dexmethylphenidate is the generic name of Focalin, and it is a Novartis Pharmaceuticals product. It is a close relative or an isomer of methylphenidate, the primary active ingredient found in Concerta, Ritalin, Daytrana, and Metadate. Since it is an isomer, Focalin is expected to offer more potent effects than other similar drugs that contain methylphenidate.

Focalin stimulates a patient’s brain by enhancing the levels of various neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine and dopamine. You can either take it as an instant-release or extended-release tablet. The extended-release version is called Focalin XR and typically produces longer-acting effects.

Dexmethylphenidate is only available with a prescription. Furthermore, long-term usage of this drug will typically require regular evaluations over time due to the multiple Focalin side effects.

Doctors will recommend Focalin prescription to adults and children above six years.

This medicine helps treat the following ADHD symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Impulsivity
  • Multitasking
  • Organization
  • Time management 

Common Focalin Side Effects

Here are the common side effects of Focalin or Focalin XR use:

  • Indigestion and stomach upset
  • Appetite loss
  • Heartburn
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
focalin side effects

Side Effects of Focalin on Adults

The severe Focalin side effects include:

  • Psychological dependence
  • Drug tolerance
  • Psychosis
  • Growth suspension
  • Heart complications like angina
  • Abnormal behavior

How Long Do Focalin Side Effects Last?

Some of the Focalin side effects don’t require medical attention as they may gradually subside as you adjust to the treatment.

Your physician can even advise you on strategies or ways to reduce or prevent most of the side effects. Nevertheless, consult your healthcare provider if the side effects don’t wear off in a few hours or are significantly bothersome to your quality of life.

Proper planning is also essential before you take your Focalin dose.

For instance, one of the Focalin XR [1*] side effects is that it can impair your ability to operate machinery, drive or perform various other possibly risky tasks. However, this is one of the side effects that will wear off after a short time. 

Focalin Side Effects in Children

Several key factors contribute to Focalin’s side effects on a child.

For instance, it is vital to get the right Focalin dosage to minimize any arising side effects. Therefore, once a child starts experiencing unfavorable or uncomfortable side effects, the doctor will often recommend a change in the dosage or release formula to achieve the most benefits with minimum adverse effects.

Here are the critical Focalin side effects on a child:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Sleep issues
  • Delayed growth
  • Stomach upset
  • Headaches
  • Irritability 
  • Tics

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Can Focalin Cause Anger Issues?

Some of Focalin and Focalin XR’s psychological side effects include aggressive behavior, hostility, and anger issues in kids and teenagers. That is the reason sufficient monitoring is necessary for kids taking Focalin to avoid the appearance and worsening of such aggressive behaviors.

Rebound Effect

Besides anger issues, one of the common Focalin side effects related to anger is increased irritability. Patients will start experiencing unexpected mood changes once their Focalin dosage wears off their bodies. This effect is also called rebound.

What Are the Long-term Effects of Taking Focalin?

Long-term use of Focalin and related central nervous stimulants can result in severe physical and mental problems.

Changes in brain structure and cardiovascular issues are expected with long-term Focalin use. People who also abuse Focalin over long periods may experience brain damage and organ damage.

Furthermore, there is an increased likelihood of hallucinations or seizures along with other psychological effects like anxiety and depression. Long-term Focalin use is also associated with increased vulnerability to suicidal thoughts.

The long-term Focalin side effects may also be attributed to the habit-forming nature of this drug. It means that extended use may result in drug dependence.

This drug has a significant mind-altering effect, which results in addiction. The brain will become so accustomed to the artificial increase of specific neurotransmitters that it will stop producing healthy amounts of those chemicals by itself.

Without Focalin, patients that have been using it for a long time will likely feel anxious, depressed, and have difficulty getting any positive emotions.

Some patients have even experienced symptoms like schizophrenia [2*] after extended use of prescription stimulants like Focalin XR.

Chronic Focalin use is also neurotoxic and may result in permanent damage to a patient’s dopamine system.

Dopamine is vital for memory, thinking and movement. Thus, high doses over the long term will adversely affect coordination, cognitive functions, and coordination.

Subsequently, heavy and long-term CNS stimulant usage may result in the development of Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. 

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Is Depression a Side Effect of Focalin?

Certain prescription medications are linked to the development and further worsening of the symptoms of depression, even in patients that may not be susceptible to depression.

Since Focalin causes neurotransmitters to remain elevated for an extended period, it may worsen the patient’s mood, which will probably lead to depression.

That is why Focalin’s prescription information advises that patients disclose if they have any history of depression, bipolar, or suicide before taking the medication. Focalin’s side effects could exacerbate existing depression issues or cause you to have depression if you didn’t have it before.

It may even cause manic or psychotic symptoms, particularly in teenagers and kids. 

Focalin Side Effects Heart

Focalin side effects also extend to your cardiovascular system.

Here are the main Focalin side effects on the heart:

  • Irregular or fast heartbeat
  • Heart attack concerns
  • Blood circulation issues lead to numbness, unexplained wounds, and a pale appearance in the toes or fingers
  • Sudden death, particularly in patients with existing heart defects or heart disease

Can Focalin Cause Chest Pain?

Focalin can cause chest pain where you may experience difficulty in breathing and feel like fainting.

Chest pain can be an indication of heart disease. The pain can be a symptom of angina, which occurs when your heart can’t get sufficient oxygen.

Besides chest pain, patients may also experience tightness or pain in:

  • Jaw
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Back
  • Arms

Focalin Withdrawal

Focalin is being abused by a large population today and shows significant withdrawal effects.

The symptoms of Focalin abuse include: 

  • Elevated heart rate and respiratory rate
  • Hyperactivity and restlessness
  • Increased sweating and blood pressure
  • Lack of appetite
  • Loss of simple coordination
  • Dilated pupils
  • Abdominal pain and vomiting
  • Psychosis and suicidal ideation
  • Aggression
  • Use of unapproved administration routes like injecting, snorting, or chewing, which may lead to overdose or death

If the patient abruptly stops after taking a high dosage of Focalin for a long time, then they will experience the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia and hypersomnia
  • Dysphoric mood
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased agitation 
  • Psychomotor retardation
focalin side effects

How to Manage Focalin Withdrawal Symptoms?

Focalin Drug Interaction

Drug interactions occur when certain medications are used together, resulting in either risky contraindications or minor interactions. If you are currently taking Focalin, it is incredibly vital that your doctor knows whether you are also taking any medicine listed below so that they can make the necessary moderations to your prescription.

This list contains the potentially significant Focalin drug interactions to be aware of before starting your treatment.

Avoid using Focalin alongside these drugs:

  • Selegiline
  • Safinamide
  • Tranylcypromine
  • Phenelzine
  • Pargyline
  • Procarbazine
  • Moclobemide
  • Linezolid
  • Iproniazid
  • Methylene Blue
  • Isocarboxazid
  • Furazolidone
  • Nialamide
  • Rasagiline

Using Focalin alongside the following prescription drugs is often not recommended by doctors, but it may be necessary for some instances. If both medicines are prescribed simultaneously, your healthcare provider may need to vary the dosage or the duration you will use both medications.

  • Iobenguane I 131
  • Desflurane
  • Halothane
  • Isoflurane
  • Enflurane
  • Sevoflurane

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Learning the most common Focalin side effects is essential to prepare how to manage and respond to any arising issues.

Side effects are among the key reasons many patients stop their treatment. However, your current condition requires proper treatment, and thus, it is essential to understand those side effects as mentioned above to maintain good health.

Focalin side effects may be significantly minimized with the ideal dosage and release formula.

Consult us today at EZCare Clinic to get the most suitable ADHD treatment for adults. We will evaluate you and identify the treatment that offers the most benefits with minimal side effects.

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+2 sources
  1. Focalin XR - Uses, Side Effects, and More
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  2. Schizophrenia
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This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.