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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) FDA- approved 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.

How should FOCALIN XR be taken?

FOCALIN XR can be taken with or without food. It is recommended not to chew, crush, or divide the capsules or the beads within the capsule. In cases where swallowing the capsule whole is challenging, opening it and sprinkling the small beads of medicine over a spoonful of applesauce is suggested. Swallow the mixture right away without chewing.

In FDA-approved treatments, the dosage recommendations for Focalin are customized based on individual needs and reactions. Typically, immediate-release tablets have a dosage range of 2.5 mg to 10 mg, while extended-release capsules range from 5 mg to 40 mg. The prescribed dosage takes into account factors such as age, individual tolerance, and specific response to the medication. Focalin is intended for use in individuals aged 6 years and older, including both children and adults.

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

Several other serious side effects may occur when using Focalin. These can include chest pain or palpitations, shortness of breath, unexplained muscle pain or weakness, signs of circulation problems such as numbness, feeling cold, or changes in skin color. Moreover, individuals using Focalin may also experience possible induction of a mixed or manic episode, along with aggressive behavior or hostility, particularly in children and adolescents. These serious side effects require immediate medical attention if experienced.

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.

What should be done if there are signs of unexplained wounds on fingers or toes while taking FOCALIN XR?

If signs of unexplained wounds on fingers or toes appear while taking FOCALIN XR, it is crucial to contact your doctor immediately for further evaluation and guidance. Taking prompt action and notifying your healthcare provider will help ensure proper assessment and appropriate management of the situation.

What should be done if priapism or circulation problems in fingers and toes occur while taking FOCALIN XR?

If priapism or circulation problems in fingers and toes occur while taking FOCALIN XR, it is crucial to seek medical help immediately. Priapism, a prolonged and painful erection, should be evaluated by a doctor without delay due to the potential for lasting damage. Inform your doctor if you or your child experience numbness, pain, skin color changes, or temperature sensitivity in the fingers or toes. If you notice any unexplained wounds appearing on the fingers or toes during FOCALIN XR treatment, contact your doctor promptly.

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.

Questions to Ask your Healthcare Provider About Focalin

When discussing Focalin with your healthcare provider, it's important to inquire about various aspects of the medication. Some questions you may consider asking are:

1. What are the potential side effects of Focalin, and how can they be managed if they occur?

2. Are there any interactions between Focalin and other medications I am currently taking?

3. Is Focalin considered safe and effective for children, and are there specific considerations for pediatric use?

4. How does Focalin compare to other medications in the treatment of adult ADHD, and what factors should be taken into account when prescribing it for adults?

5. Are there any lifestyle changes or precautions that should be followed while taking Focalin?

6. Can Focalin be used in conjunction with other therapies or treatments for my condition?

7. How long should Focalin be taken before evaluating its effectiveness in managing symptoms?

8. What signs or symptoms should I monitor that may indicate the need for adjusting the dosage or treatment plan?

9. In what ways does Focalin differ from other medications like Concerta in terms of effectiveness and side effects?

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.