Focalin XR

Generic Name: Dexmethylphenidate

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

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

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

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

    Focalin XR is an extended-release medicine (a type of capsule that releases medicine into your body throughout the day). Focalin XR 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 XR is an important part of a total treatment program for people with ADHD that may include counseling or other therapies. Focalin XR may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in people with ADHD.

    When: Focalin XR has been shown to start working 30 minutes after you take it.

    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 XR is a federally controlled substance because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Keep Focalin XR in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. Selling or giving away Focalin XR may harm others, and is against the law.


    More common side effects may include: dry mouth, upset stomach, headache, anxiety.

    Children and adolescents

    More common side effects may include: upset stomach, loss of appetite, headache, anxiety.

    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 XR if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

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

    Do not take Focalin XR 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 a family history of Tourette's syndrome.

    Do not use Focalin XR 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 XR. 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 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 XR exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

    Take Focalin XR in the morning, with or without food. Swallow Focalin XR capsules whole. Do not crush, chew, or divide the capsules or the beads in the capsule.

    If you cannot swallow capsules, you can open Focalin XR capsules and carefully sprinkle the contents over a spoonful of applesauce. Swallow the medicine and applesauce mixture right away and without chewing. Do not store it for future use.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

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

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

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

    If Focalin XR 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 XR with the following: antacids, blood pressure medicines, blood thinners (such as warfarin), certain antidepressants known as tricyclic antidepressants (such as imipramine, clomipramine, or desipramine), or seizure medications (such as phenobarbital, phenytoin, or primidone).

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

    The effects of Focalin XR 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 XR, 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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