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Focalin Side Effects


What is Focalin? If you’ve never struggled with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), then you may have never heard of this medication.

Focalin is a brand name for Dexmethylphenidate, a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant drug used to treat ADHD. As a stimulant, Focalin works by speeding up communication between neurons, speeding up processes like respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure. It comes in both immediate-release or extended-release, also known as Focalin XR. Our Christian rehab in Florida understands how CNS stimulants work and how they can impact the body when abused. Keep reading to learn more about Focalin’s side effects and mechanism of action.


How Focalin Works

Focalin works similarly to Adderall by blocking the reuptake of neurotransmitters called norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Norepinephrine increases heart rate and blood pumping from the heart. Together with adrenaline, it also increases blood pressure and blood sugar levels to increase energy. Dopamine plays a role in controlling movement and emotional responses and is vital for both physical and mental well-being. The main ingredient in Focalin, Dexmethylphenidate, belongs to a class of drugs called stimulants. This compound causes an increased ability to pay attention, stay focused, and control behavior. Focalin is also given to people with ADHD because it can help them organize their tasks and improve listening skills. Due to Focalin’s side effects on brain activity, it can also be used to treat certain sleep disorders like narcolepsy.


What Does Focalin Look Like?

The extended-release versions of Focalin, also known as Focalin XR, vary in color depending on the dosages. 5 mg Focalin XR comes in a blue capsule with “NVR” and “D5” imprinted on it. A 10 mg capsule of Focalin is brown and has “NVR D10” imprinted on it. A 15 mg capsule of Focalin XR comes in a green capsule that’s imprinted with “NVR D15”. Focalin XR in 20 mg comes in a white capsule that’s imprinted with “NVR D20”. Immediate-release capsules of Focalin are usually shaped like a “D” and are imprinted with the same letter. They’re also imprinted with their dosage amount and vary in color depending on the dosage. For instance, the 2.5 mg dosage of immediate-release Focalin is blue, the 5 mg dosage is yellow, and the 10 mg dosage is white.


Is Focalin Addictive?

Yes, Focalin is addictive. Norepinephrine’s and dopamine’s effects on mood and reward greatly contribute to drug addiction. Like most other CNS stimulant drugs, Focalin is addictive because it interacts with chemicals in the brain that affects mood, emotions, reward, feelings of well-being, and other functions. In high doses, the side effects of Focalin in adults include a euphoric high, a rush of energy, increased self-confidence, and increased focus and concentration. Whenever a drug can affect the reward pathways in the brain and a person’s mood, it can be addictive.


Focalin XR Side Effects

Both immediate-release Focalin and Focalin XR (Dexmethylphenidate) usually take 30 minutes to work. The side effects of the immediate-release version last for four hours, and Focalin XR’s side effects can last for up to 12 hours. Focalin is labeled a Schedule II substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration because of its high potential for abuse. Although it’s a prescription drug, it is possible to abuse Focalin. When taken in higher doses than prescribed or taken more frequently than directed, this drug can produce a variety of adverse problems.


Some common Focalin side effects in adults include:

  • Anxiety
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Feelings of sadness and emptiness
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Reduced appetite
  • Loss of interest or pleasure (anhedonia)
  • Mood swings
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Despite the physical problems this drug can cause, a person who’s addicted to it won’t be able to quit. Focalin’s long-term effects include heart problems, mental illness, insomnia, reduced sex drive, psychosis, nervous system disorders, and more. People addicted to prescription drugs like Focalin should undergo a medically monitored detox like the one offered at Faith in Recovery. Most drug users developed their addictions because they kept using drugs to avoid withdrawal symptoms. A medically assisted detox helps patients safely get through withdrawals, increasing their chances of long-term sobriety.

Even prescription drugs can be addictive, so it’s important to practice caution when taking medications. Individuals who misuse their prescription medications by taking higher doses than prescribed, taking them more frequently than directed, or mixing them with other substances like alcohol increase their risk of addiction and even overdose. When addiction is developed, the person should receive professional addiction treatment to get sober.



The long-term effects of Focalin XR can impact the individual and their loved ones for the rest of their lives. If you or someone you care for is battling addiction, get help today. Call our Christian drug rehab now at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our drug rehabilitation programs.