BrainReference is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
We aim to provide consumers with helpful, in-depth information about brain health products. Whether we make money or not on a certain page does not influence the core mission of our writers and medical reviewers, which is to publish content that is accurate and informative.
All product names, logos, and brands are the property of their respective owners.
For more information, see our full Advertising Disclosure
Focalin Review – 14 Things You Didn’t Know
Focalin (generic: Dexmethylphenidate HCL) is a central nervous system stimulant primarily prescribed to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children ages 6-12, adolescents, and adults. The drug may also be prescribed off-label to help patients who suffer from narcolepsy (a sleep disorder).
1) Quick Overview
Focalin may decrease hyperactive behavior and impulsivity, and improve focus, hallmark ADD/ADHD symptoms in some patients with the condition. The formula contains the same active ingredient (Dexmethylphenidate) as medications like Daytrana and Ritalin.
FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has classified Focalin as a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can lead to dependence or be easily abused. The formula has not been studied or tested in children under the age of 6.
We strongly recommend not taking Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate HCL) unless prescribed to you by a medical doctor.
2) How Did Focalin Start?
Dexmethylphenidate was approved for medical use in the United States in 2001. It is suggested that stimulants such as Dexmethylphenidate help improve the symptoms of ADD/ADHD by making it easier for the patient to control his behavior, avoid distraction, and concentrate on tasks. Furthermore, according to a 2009 placebo-controlled trial, once-daily Dexmethylphenidate X.R. may be effective at improving ADD/ADHD symptoms and generally well tolerated.
Improvements in ADHD symptoms in children were significantly more significant dexmethylphenidate X.R. versus placebo. It also showed greater efficacy than osmotic controlled-release oral delivery system (OROS) methylphenidate over the first half of the laboratory classroom day. Still, assessments late in the day favored OROS methylphenidate.
Focalin is produced by Novartis Corporation, a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland. It is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies by both market capitalization and sales.
Besides Focalin, Novartis also makes Voltaren (diclofenac), Clozaril (clozapine), Tegretol (carbamazepine), Ritalin (methylphenidate), Neoral/Sandimmun (ciclosporin), Diovan (valsartan), Gleevec/Glivec (imatinib mesylate), Femara (letrozole), Lamisil (terbinafine), and others.
Novartis Corporation contact information:
- Phone: +1 862 778 21 00 / +41 61 324 11 11
- Address: Lichtstrasse 35 Basel, 4056 Switzerland
- Website: novartis.com
3) Details on Focalin Ingredients and Uses
Focalin contains the following active ingredients: Dexmethylphenidate Hydrochloride.
Inert (inactive) ingredients include: Ammonio Methacrylate Copolymer, FD&C Blue #2 (5mg strength), FDA/E172 Yellow Iron Oxide (10mg strength), gelatin, ink Tan SW-8010, Methacrylic Acid Copolymer, Polyethylene Glycol, sugar spheres, talc, titanium dioxide, and Triethyl Citrate.
Dexmethylphenidate has a 4 to 6-hour duration of effect (a long-acting formulation, Focalin X.R., which spans 12 hours, is also available.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends treatment with behavioral therapy for ADHD before medication for children under the age of 6. For children, ages 6 to 11, the American Academy of Pediatrics says, “The primary care clinician should prescribe U.S. Food and Drug Administration–approved medications for ADHD and/or evidence-based parent- and/or teacher-administered behavior therapy as a treatment for ADHD, preferably both.” 
Likewise, the National Institute of Mental Health finds the most impactful treatment plans use a combination of behavioral therapies and ADD/ADHD medication, like Focalin.
4) Does Focalin Work?
Focalin is available in two forms: I.R. (Immediate-Release) that has a duration of effect of four (4) to six (6) hours and X.R. (Extended-Release) that provides a sustained psychostimulant impact for up to twelve (12) hours.
5) Focalin Health Benefits
Focalin claimed benefits include:
- Improves ADD/ADHD symptoms within the first 30 minutes;
- Convenience – Focalin X.R. is an extended-release capsule that is taken once daily and remains active for up to 12 hours;
- Powerful stimulant medication;
- It is used in the treatment of ADHD in children ages 6-12, adolescents, and adults.
6) Potential Focalin Adverse Effects
- Stomach pain, vomiting, or heartburn
- Nervousness or jitteriness
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Dry mouth
Serious side effects of Focalin may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Being unusually suspicious of others
- Chest pain
- Extreme fatigue
- Dizziness or fainting
- Purple blotches under the skin
- Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
- Changes in vision
- Aggressive behaviors
- Swelling of the tongue, lips, face, throat, or eyes
- Slow or difficult speech
- Numbness or weakness of an arm or leg
- Joint pain
- Hallucinations or believing things that aren’t true
- Mood changes or depression
- Rash, hives, or itching
- Skin color changes in the fingers or toes
- Blistering or peeling skin
- Pain, sensitivity, or numbness to temperature in the fingers or toes
- Unexplained wounds on the fingers or toes
7) Precautions of Focalin Use
Before taking Focalin, tell your physician or pharmacist if you have any known allergies. This prescription drug contains Dexmethylphenidate (active ingredient) and several inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems.
- Blood thinners (anticoagulants) such as warfarin (Jantoven, Coumadin);
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs);
- Antidepressants such as nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine, clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), protriptyline (Vivactil), doxepin (Silenor), imipramine (Tofranil), and trimipramine (Surmontil);
- Decongestants (cough and cold medications);
- Medicines for seizures such as phenobarbital, primidone (Mysoline), and phenytoin (Dilantin);
- Medicines for high blood pressure;
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluvoxamine (Luvox), citalopram (Celexa), sertraline (Zoloft), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), and paroxetine (Paxil);
- Other prescription drugs such as Venlafaxine (Effexor), Methyldopa (Aldomet), Guanabenz, and Guanfacine (Intuniv).
8) Where to Buy Focalin?
Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) is a prescription medication. That means it can’t, and it shouldn’t be purchased from unauthorized stores. It is available, however, at most pharmacies.
9) Focalin Price
The cost for Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) oral tablet 2.5 mg is about $75 for a supply of 100 tablets, depending on the pharmacy you visit. Prices are for cash paying customers only and are not valid with insurance plans.
10) Alternatives to Focalin
Because Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) is a prescription medication, we can only review prescription medicines as potential alternatives. We don’t advocate substituting a treatment directed by your medical doctor with an over-the-counter dietary supplement.
Adderall (Dextroamphetamine) also treats ADHD in patients age six (6) years and older. However, it also treats narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder where a person has trouble staying awake throughout the day.
Similar to Focalin, Ritalin (Methylphenidate) is a potent central nervous system stimulant and a controlled substance, which means your doctor will have to monitor its use carefully. It is usually prescribed in the treatment of attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and narcolepsy.
11) Directions For Taking Focalin
As with all prescription drugs, follow your physician instructions exactly. Focalin is taken orally, with or without food, once daily. The medication is typically taken first thing in the morning. For best results, take medicine at the exact same time every day.
12) Variations of Focalin
Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) is available in several variations:
- 5 mg extended-release capsules
- 10 mg extended-release capsules
- 15 mg extended-release capsules
- 20 mg extended-release capsules
- 25 mg extended-release capsules
- 30 mg extended-release capsules
- 35 mg extended-release capsules
- 40 mg extended-release capsules
13) What Customers Say About Focalin
"I was on Focalin X.R. when I was age 5. I think it is a good medication learning wise. Still, at the same time, it drains you. It takes your happiness and joy away. It's like you are entirely numb to joy when I'm off it I can't focus. " [Read full review]
"I've had ADHD for a very long time and didn't start taking Focalin until (11th grade) I tried other stimulants in middle school but gave up because disliked the way they made me feel." [Read full review]
"Focalin does the trick in getting you less scatter-brained, and it helps with focus, but be sure you only have ADHD and aren't also autistic and/or have motor tics/nervous tics because it is an amphetamine stimulant drug." [Read full review]
"Long story short, I was previously on Vyvanse 40mg a day, and I decided I wanted to try Focalin X.R. Before that, I was on Concerta. I absolutely hated it when I was a kid." [Read full review]
"My 14 yr old son took Focalin for 2 yrs. He ended his own life while on this med. We were never told that suicidal ideation is a possible side effect." [Read full review]
14) Bottom Line – Does It Really Work?
Stimulant prescription medication such as Focalin is the treatment most frequently used for ADD/ADHD in children, adolescents, and adults. They can help you manage symptoms, such as hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and short attention span. While not always useful, the treatment with these stimulant drugs eases ADHD symptoms in about 70% of adults and 70% to 80% of children.
Although there is some dispute about whether performance at school or social skills improves, there are people who benefit from taking this type of stimulant prescription medication.Focalin has proven beneficial for many, we also suggest taking a look at other supplements designed for your specific ailments.
But how about our readers' pick for this year? There are lots of excellent brain supplements out there - right? When it comes down to high-quality and effectiveness, it's no surprise that our preferred product is HCF® Happy, Calm & Focused. We love that HCF uses only high-quality nutraceutical-grade amino acids and associated neuro-nutrients to ensure purity and standardized for maximum effectiveness.
|Focalin Customers Also Bought:||
10+ Yrs Proven
|HCF Happy, Calm & Focused Featured
Focalin - Frequently Asked Questions
Focalin contains the following active ingredients: Dexmethylphenidate Hydrochloride.
Focalin is a central nervous system stimulant ADHD medication primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children ages 6-12, adolescents, and adults.
Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) can cause mild, moderate, and severe side effects, including dizziness, stomach pain, vomiting, heartburn, nervousness, jitteriness, loss of appetite, weight loss, difficulty falling asleep, dry mouth, drowsiness, headache, shortness of breath, being unusually suspicious of others, chest pain, extreme fatigue, fainting, purple blotches under the skin, irregular heartbeat, changes in vision, aggressive behaviors, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, slow or difficult speech, fever, joint pain, seizures, mood changes, depression, skin color changes, blistering or peeling skin, and unexplained wounds on the fingers or toes.
As a prescription medication, Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) is available for purchase at most pharmacies.
The cost for Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) oral tablet 2.5 mg is around $76 for a supply of 100 tablets, depending on the pharmacy you visit.
Focalin claimed benefits include: improves ADD/ADHD symptoms within the first 30 minutes, remains active for up to 12 hours, available as an extended-release capsule that is taken once daily, and it can be used in the treatment of ADHD in adults and children over the age of six.
Focalin is advertised as a powerful treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD). This prescription drug is not meant to improve cognitive function, and it should not be taken as a dietary supplement.
As with all prescription medication, we advise caution when taking Focalin with other prescription medication or over-the-counter dietary supplements. Drugs that may interact with Focalin include monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), anticoagulants (blood thinners), antidepressants, decongestants (cough and cold medications), Guanabenz, Guanfacine (Intuniv), drugs for high blood pressure, medicines for seizures, Methyldopa (Aldomet), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and Venlafaxine (Effexor).
Many other prescription medications may affect the way Focalin works. The drug could also affect other medicines. It's imperative to let your physician know about everything you are taking, including any over-the-counter (OTC) medications, herbs, dietary supplements, or illegal drugs.
Yes, Focalin can be used by children ages 6-12, adolescents, and adults.
Focalin only contains one active ingredient in the form of Dexmethylphenidate. This chemical compound was studied across multiple clinical trials, and it was shown to cause mild, moderate, and even severe side effects in some patients. We recommend reading the full list of potential side effects available on our website.
You should not be taking Focalin unless it was prescribed to you by a physician.
All prescription drugs used to treat ADD/ADHD - including Focalin - are in the FDA's Class C, which means they are not definitely safe during pregnancy, and they are not definitely harmful.
Take Focalin orally, with or without food, once daily. The medication is typically taken first thing in the morning. For best results, take medicine at the exact same time every day.
You can contact the Novartis Corporation customer support department by phone at +1 862 778 21 00 (United States), or +41 61 324 11 11 (internationally), by mail at Lichtstrasse 35 Basel, 4056 Switzerland, or by using the Contact Us form available on their official website novartis.com.
As Focalin is a prescription medication, please discuss any possible returns or refunds with the doctor who prescribed it.
Most user complaints gravitate around Focalin's many adverse effects, the many drug negative interactions, and its habit-forming properties. Some users have also complained about a lack of results.
Focalin's reviews are generally positive. On drugs.com (the leading authority for prescription drugs information), Focalin has an average rating of 7.4 out of 10.
Focalin is produced and marketed by Swiss-based company Novartis Corporation.
- webmd.com. Focalin. Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Feng Liu, Haruka Minami, and Raul R Silva - Dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Published in December 2006.
- rxlist.com Focalin X.R. Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- clinicaltrials.gov. Safety and Efficacy Study of Dexmethylphenidate in Children With ADHD. Published on September 1, 2005.
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Silva R, Tilker HA, Cecil JT, Kowalik S, Khetani V, Faleck H, and Patin J. - Open-label study of dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride in children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Published in 2004.
- dailymed.nlm.nih.gov. Dexmethylphenidate HCL. Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Moen MD and Keam SJ. - Dexmethylphenidate extended-release: a review of its use in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Published in December 2009.
- link.springer.com. Marit D. Moen and Susan J. Keam - Dexmethylphenidate Extended-Release. A Review of its Use in the Treatment of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Published on August 29, 2012.
- novartis.com. Novartis Corporation official website. Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- accessdata.fda.gov. Focalin X.R. Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- aappublications.org. Mark L. Wolraich and Joseph F. Hagan Jr. - Updated ADHD guideline addresses evaluation, diagnosis, treatment from ages 4-18. Published on September 30, 2019.
- pediatrics.aappublications.org. American Academy of Pediatrics. Clinical Practice Guideline: Treatment of the School-Aged Child With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Published in October 2011.
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Anna C. Shier, Thomas Reichenbacher, Harinder S. Ghuman, and Jaswinder K. Ghuman - Pharmacological Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents: Clinical Strategies. Published on December 20, 2012.
- drugs.com. Focalin. Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- accessdata.fda.gov. Focalin. Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- sciencedirect.com. Dexmethylphenidate. Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- centerwatch.com. Focalin (dexmethylphenidate HCl). Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- Sharon Wigal, James M. Swanson, Josephine Elia, Charles D. Casat, Jerome B. Zeldis, and Keith Conners - A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Dexmethylphenidate Hydrochloride and d,l-threo-Methylphenidate Hydrochloride in Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Published in November 2004.
- dailymed.nlm.nih.gov. Adderall X.R.- dextroamphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine sulfate and amphetamine aspartate capsule, extended-release. Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- Leslie Briars and Timothy Todd - A Review of Pharmacological Management of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Published in June 2016.
- rxlist.com. Adderall. Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- everydayhealth.com. What is Ritalin? Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- psycom.net. Kathleen Smith, Ph.D., LPC - Ritalin (methylphenidate). Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- nhs.uk. Experts call for more research into ADHD drug Ritalin. Published online on November 27, 2015. Retrieved on February 22, 2020.
- webmd.com. Stimulant Medications for ADHD. Retrieved on February 22, 2020.