Focalin

Generic Name: Dexmethylphenidate

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Focalin is a medicine used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

    Focalin is a federally controlled substance because it has abuse potential.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Focalin works by changing the amount of certain chemicals in your brain, thereby improving symptoms of ADHD.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: Focalin is an important part of a total treatment program for people with ADHD that may include counseling or other therapies. Focalin may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in people with ADHD.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Focalin exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

    How do I know it is working?

    You may start to notice an improvement in your symptoms. This is a good indicator that your medication is working. Your healthcare provider may ask you questions from time to time to assess how well your medicine is working and to check for improvement of your condition.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Focalin is a federally controlled substance 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.

    More common side effects may include: stomach pain, nausea, loss of appetite, fever.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Sudden death in patients who have heart problems or heart defects; stroke and heart attack in adults; increased blood pressure and heart rate with symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting.

    Mental problems with symptoms such as new or worsening behavior and thought problems, bipolar illness, aggressive behavior, or hostility. Children and teenagers may also begin to hear voices, believe in things that are not true, or become suspicious.

    Slowing of growth (height and weight) in children.

    Seizures, mainly in people with a history of seizures.

    Eyesight changes or blurred vision.

    Circulation problems in your fingers and toes with symptoms such as feeling numb, cool, or painful, or changing color (such as from pale to blue to red).

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Focalin if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    Do not take Focalin if you are very anxious, tense, or agitated.

    Do not take Focalin if you have glaucoma (high pressure in the eye), tics (repeated movements or sounds that cannot be controlled), Tourette's syndrome (a brain disorder characterized by tics), or have a family history of Tourette's syndrome.

    Do not take Focalin if you are taking an antidepressant medication called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (such as phenelzine or selegiline) or have taken any within the past 14 days.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Focalin. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, including heart problems, heart defects, high blood pressure, mental problems (such as psychosis, mania, bipolar disorder, or depression), or a family history of these problems; tics or Tourette's syndrome; seizures or an abnormal electroencephalogram (brain wave test); or circulation problems in your fingers or toes; or have ever abused or been dependent on alcohol, prescription medicines, or street drugs.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Adults and children ≥6 years: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dosage for you based on your previous ADHD medication.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Focalin exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

    Take Focalin with or without food. If you take it more than once a day, separate each dose by at least 4 hours.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not start any new medicine while taking Focalin without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Do not change your dose or stop taking Focalin without first talking to your healthcare provider.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Focalin is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Focalin with the following: blood pressure medicines, blood thinners (such as warfarin), certain antidepressants known as tricyclic antidepressants (such as amitriptyline or imipramine) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (such as fluoxetine or sertraline), or seizure medicines (such as phenobarbital, phenytoin, or primidone).

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Focalin during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Focalin, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Shereen A. Gharbia, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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