Focalin is a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Focalin belongs to a group of drugs called stimulants. It is believed to work by balancing certain chemicals in the brain.
This medication comes in oral (by mouth) tablet form and is typically taken 2 times a day, with or without food.
Common side effects of Focalin include headache, upset stomach, and trouble sleeping.
Focalin is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Keep Focalin in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. Selling or giving away Focalin may harm others, and is against the law. Tell your doctor if you or your child have (or have a family history of) ever abused or been dependent on alcohol, prescription medicines or street drugs.
WARNING: DRUG DEPENDENCE
Focalin should be given cautiously to patients with a history of drug dependence or alcoholism. Chronic abusive use can lead to marked tolerance and psychological dependence with varying degrees of abnormal behavior. Frank psychotic episodes can occur, especially with parenteral abuse. Careful supervision is required during withdrawal from abusive use, since severe depression may occur. Withdrawal following chronic therapeutic use may unmask symptoms of the underlying disorder that may require follow-up.
Focalin is a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
See "Drug Precautions" for serious side effects.
Other serious side effects of Focalin include:
- serious allergic reactions
- slowing of growth (height and weight) in children
- seizures, mainly in patients with a history of seizures
- eyesight changes or blurred vision
Common side effects of Focalin include:
- upset stomach
- trouble sleeping
- decreased appetite
- dry mouth
Talk to your doctor if you or your child has side effects that are bothersome or do not go away.
Tell your doctor about all of the medicines that you take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Focalin and some medicines may interact with each other and cause serious side effects. Sometimes the doses of other medicines will need to be adjusted while taking Focalin.
Your doctor will decide whether Focalin can be taken with other medicines.
Especially tell your doctor if you take:
- anti-depression medicines including MAOIs
- seizure medicines
- blood thinner medicines
- blood pressure medicines
- cold or allergy medicines that contain decongestants
Know the medicines that you take. Keep a list of your medicines with you to show your doctor and pharmacist.
The following have been reported with use of Focalin and other stimulant medicines.
1. Heart-related problems:
- sudden death in patients who have heart problems or heart defects
- stroke and heart attack in adults
- increased blood pressure and heart rate
Tell your doctor if you have any heart problems, heart defects, high blood pressure, or a family history of these problems.
Your doctor should check you carefully for heart problems before starting Focalin.
Your doctor should check your blood pressure and heart rate regularly during treatment with Focalin.
Call your doctor right away if you have any signs of heart problems such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Focalin.
2. Mental (psychiatric) problems:
- new or worse behavior and thought problems
- new or worse bipolar illness
- new or worse aggressive behavior or hostility
Children and Teenagers
- new psychotic symptoms (such as hearing voices, believing things that are not true, are suspicious) or new manic symptoms
Tell your doctor about any mental problems you have, or about a family history of suicide, bipolar illness, or depression.
Call your doctor right away if you have any new or worsening mental symptoms or problems while taking Focalin, especially seeing or hearing things that are not real, believing things that are not real, or are suspicious.
Focalin should not be taken if you:
- are very anxious, tense, or agitated
- have an eye problem called glaucoma
- have tics or Tourette’s syndrome, or a family history of Tourette’s syndrome. Tics are hard to control repeated movements or sounds.
- are taking or have taken within the past 14 days an anti-depression medicine called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor or MAOI
- are allergic to anything in Focalin
- are a child less than 6 years old because it has not been studied in this age group
Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Focalin there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving Focalin.
Before starting Focalin tell your doctor about all health conditions (or a family history of) including:
- heart problems, heart defects, high blood pressure
- mental problems including psychosis, mania, bipolar illness, or depression
- tics or Tourette’s syndrome
- seizures or have had an abnormal brain wave test (EEG)
- if you or your child have (or have a family history of) ever abused or been dependent on alcohol, prescription medicines or street drugs
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
Tell your doctor about all of the medicines that you take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
This medication falls into category C. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. It is not known if Focalin is excreted in human breast milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.
- Take Focalin exactly as prescribed. Your doctor may adjust the dose until it is right for you.
- Take Focalin tablets twice daily with or without food.
- From time to time, your doctor may stop Focalin treatment for a while to check ADHD symptoms.
- Your doctor may do regular checks of the blood, heart, and blood pressure while taking Focalin. Children should have their height and weight checked often while taking Focalin. Focalin treatment may be stopped if a problem is found during these check-ups.
Take Focalin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Your doctor will determine the best dose for you.
- Patients new to methylphenidate: The recommended starting dose of Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) for patients who are not currently taking racemic methylphenidate, or for patients who are on stimulants other than methylphenidate, is 5 mg/day (2.5 mg twice daily). Dosage may be adjusted in 2.5 to 5 mg increments to a maximum of 20 mg/day (10 mg twice daily). In general, dosage adjustments may proceed at approximately weekly intervals.
- For patients currently using methylphenidate: The recommended starting dose of Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) is half the dose of racemic methylphenidate. The maximum recommended dose is 20 mg/day (10 mg twice daily).
If you take too much Focalin call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.
- Store in a safe place at room temperature, 59 to 86° F (15 to 30° C).
- Keep and all medicines out of the reach of children.
- Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those descibed here. Do not use this medication for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give Focalin to other people, even if they have the same condition. It may harm them and it is against the law.