Certain drugs are quicker acting and longer-lasting than others. Focalin is the brand name for a central nervous system stimulant called dexmethylphenidate that’s used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There’s an immediate-release formulation of Focalin and an extended-release variation called Focalin XR. When taken as prescribed, Focalin is effective in treating ADHD symptoms like impulsivity and lack of focus, but it also has a potential for abuse and addiction. Today, we’ll be looking into how long Focalin stays in your system and its detection in drug tests.
Like Adderall, which is another ADHD medication, Focalin works by blocking the reuptake of neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is known as a feel-good chemical because of its role in pleasure and reward, and norepinephrine is involved in functions like heart rate, blood pressure, and sugar levels.
In people with ADHD, Focalin can reduce impulsivity and improve concentration and focus. However, as with any medication, this drug can also produce some unwanted symptoms.
Common side effects of Focalin include:
Both Focalin and Focalin XR begin working within 30 minutes of taking them. How long effects last depends on the variation of Focalin taken.
Extended-release medications last hours longer than immediate-release medications, which is why they’re normally taken just once daily. The same goes for dexmethylphenidate.
Focalin side effects last approximately four hours, and Focalin XR side effects can last up to 12 hours. The maximum concentration of the drug is reached two times: the first time is 1.5 hours after ingestion and the second time is 6.5 hours after ingestion.
People may also abuse Focalin because of its effects on dopamine. Elevated dopamine levels lead to euphoria and pleasure, producing a rewarding high that activates a desire for further drug-taking behavior.
If abused for long periods, Focalin can lead to addiction and other adverse health problems, so it’s crucial to never take medication that isn’t prescribed to you and to always take your medication as directed by the prescribing physician.
So, how long does Focalin stay in your system? This number depends greatly on the drug’s half-life.
Focalin’s half-life refers to how long it takes for half of it to be eliminated from the body. Both variations of Focalin have different half-lives and therefore differ in how long they remain in a person’s system.
Immediate-release Focalin has a half-life of around 2.2 hours, while extended-release Focalin has a half-life of about 3 hours, which may vary from 4.5 to 7 hours. Since it usually takes about five to six half-lives for a drug to be completely eliminated from the body, generally speaking, Focalin stays in your system for about 3 to 4 days.
Keep in mind that how long Focalin stays in your system depends on the variation you take. While the immediate-release version of this drug may stay in the body for 2 or 3 days, Focalin XR can stay in the body for up to 4 days.
Additionally, various factors can influence how long Focalin stays in your body. For instance, someone with a faster metabolism is going to process and excrete a dose of Focalin much faster than someone with a slower metabolism.
Age is also relevant, as younger people tend to eliminate drugs and medications from their systems quickly compared to older people or those with health issues like liver or kidney disease. The liver metabolizes dexmethylphenidate and any other drug that someone consumes, so someone with impaired liver function will take longer to eliminate Focalin than someone with a healthy liver.
There’s also the matter of mixing Focalin with other drugs. Stimulants are some of the most commonly abused substances on the market, and a common form of abuse is mixing drugs like Focalin with alcohol or other similar drugs. This can also impact how long Focalin stays in your system and can even impair the drug’s ability to take effect and alleviate ADHD symptoms.
Many employers may require possible new hires to undergo a drug screening. If you’re taking Focalin or any other medications, be sure to tell whoever is administering the drug test so that they’re aware.
Even so, while different drug screenings may be done to test for specific drugs, Focalin does not usually show up on standardized drug tests. Instead, you’d have to undergo a specific drug test that targets this medication.
Regardless, Focalin has a relatively short half-life and doesn’t stay in the system that long. Below are drug test detection windows for Focalin based on the area of the body tested:
Keep in mind that false-positive drug test results may occur because ADHD medications like dexmethylphenidate and methylphenidate are prescription variations of amphetamines, which usually do come up in standardized drug tests. It’s important to tell whoever is administering this drug test about the medications you’re taking to avoid any misunderstandings.
Stimulant abuse is common among young adults and professionals seeking to improve their performance at work or school. However, the misuse of drugs like Focalin can lead to physical dependence and addiction.
At this point, removing Focalin from your system is crucial for physical and psychological recovery. If you or someone you care about has begun misusing their prescription medication and wants to quit, medically monitored detox should be your first step.
At our faith-based inpatient rehab, we usually start our patients off with a medically assisted detox, during which they’re slowly weaned off of drugs under 24-hour medical supervision and care. Withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and even life-threatening when it comes to certain drugs, which is why we offer medical care to patients who are in the earlier stages of their recovery.
Following detox, patients can then move on to one of our faith-based recovery programs. When it comes to recovering from an addiction to medication, our prescription drug addiction treatment is specialized to help patients who are addicted to opioids, benzos, stimulants, and more.