Focalin Guide: Comparison, Side Effects, Dosage And More

focalin side effects

Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) is a stimulant mainly dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. As said disorders are of behavioral nature, it is interesting to understand the mechanism of how Focalin works.

Focalin inhibits the signals in synapses and makes neurotransmitters (norepinephrine and dopamine) stay in the synapses longer.

The effect of it is the following: neurons keep receiving signals to act when the other neuron has stopped sending a message.

For ADHD and related syndromes, it means that the signal for action which is received by neurons lasts longer than usual, and concentration, memory, accuracy, listening, learning skills are substantially boosted.

Focalin High Effect

Normally nootropics are not addictive and well-tolerated. Overall reviews, users’ comments, and reports confirm that it is required to strictly follow medical recommendations for taking Focalin safely.

From the legal perspective, Focalin is officially considered to be a highly addictive drug that leads to serious psychological or physical dependence (according to Control Substances Act, DEA).

Focalin may, in fact, cause drug dependence since it contains dexmethylphenidate which is similar to methylphenidate (cocaine compound)

The right dosage is directly related to the age of the person taking Focalin, weight, and medical condition.
In any case, if you have any doubts about the right dosage, or you didn’t have a chance to consult with your therapist in that respect, the best way to guess a proper dosage is to gradually increase the lower dose and monitor your condition.

Focalin Side Effects

Focalin is reported to have a great range of side effects which are different in severity and consequences.

Among unpleasant ones, you may find such side effects like (from the most frequent ones to rare) a headache, restlessness, anxiety, fever, insomnia, loss of appetite, weight loss, dry mouth, sore throat, nausea, nervousness, stomach pain, chest pain, extreme fatigue, slow or difficult speech, aggressive behaviors, rash, hives, itching, painful or frequent erections, upset stomach, feeling jittery, dizziness, and others. These are perceived to be less serious side effects.

Some people can say that weight loss may be a desired effect of Focalin, probably that one is the reason for this nootropic’s popularity in bodybuilders’ society.

Some researches are focused on guessing an accurate percentage of effect occurrence like headache frequency which is established at 25% to 39% range, insomnia at 5 to 17%, restlessness at 12%, anxiety at 5% to 11%, etc.

We’re not sure that it is worth calculating taking into account that different studies, clinic trials, and users’ reviews compete on numbers in an effort to determine the exact possibility of occurrence of each effect.

But in some cases you might need medical help if any of the listed below side effects have occurred: seizures, convulsions, rapid heart, hallucinations including blurred vision or other visual changes, high blood pressure, confusion (a severe headache, ringing in your ears, chest pain, numbness), twitching or tics.

In the situation of an appearance of any of the specified side effects immediately cancel Focalin and call your doctor in order to avoid more serious problems.

Taking Focalin in excessive dosage for years may cause psychosis and other mental problems.
And there is one important precaution regarding withdrawal symptoms that may occur if Focalin is abruptly stopped.

Focalin Dosage

focalin side effect

There should be no problems with dosage determination as long as you comply with the recommended and standard approach which is pretty simple: 10 mg/day for adults, and 5 mg/day for kids (pediatric dosage).

This recommended dose can be increased by a maximum of 5 mg (pediatric dosage) and 10 (adults) accordingly.

The dosage instructions on the official medical sources provide slightly different recommendations which are 20 mg per day and not more than 40 mg.

Users’ reviews show that doses of more than 60 mg are to reach euphoria effect, usually, it is between 60 mg and 90 mg depending on addictiveness and individual body chemistry.

Symptoms of overdose occur when CNS is overstimulated and bioavailability of Focalin is substantially exceeded: it’s typically vomiting, tremors, euphoria, confusion, twitching, hallucinations, tachycardia, heart palpitations, headache, hyperreflexia, and others.

More heavy symptoms of Focalin overdosage may include consequences that are worth reading about, but should never be experienced in real life: it may happen hyperpyrexia, paranoia, sympathomimetic toxidrome, stereotypy (a repetitive movement disorder), rapid muscle breakdown, circulatory collapse; and the fatal ones: coma, heart and blood-pressure problems which might be resulted in death, abscess and necrosis, which are a toxic reaction to a dosage which is in 2-3 times or more than recommended.

To allow your body to get through these negative effects some time it is required to clean it up from substances of Focalin and in some cases, this cannot be done by your body without the help of medicaments.
That’s why it is always important to stick to the instructions and control your condition with respect to any changes or side effects that may happen.

Focalin vs Adderall

You may find many reviews comparing these two drugs which are reasonably based on their similarity. Such comparison is definitely required in order to make an informed decision on which one is the best to take in your situation.

And for this purpose, it is required to understand all pros and cons of these two medicaments: which one is more effective, safer, cheaper, and of course which one is more addictive.

The mechanism of action of Focalin and Adderall is similar, as well as its’ side effects, withdrawal effects, and efficiency.

A primary difference of Focalin from Adderall is in its chemical compound: Adderall contains only 75% of Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) and includes an additional component – levoamphetamine (25%).

Based on a number of studies, researches, and users’ reviews, here is a simple comparison below answering only one question: which is better on each parameter? It clearly demonstrates the comparison of Focalin vs. Adderall.

The similarity of Focalin and Adderall

Focalin and Adderall are really similar as per the following description: the psychostimulants of both are included in Schedule II drugs (according to Control Substances Act) with a similar addictiveness, indication for ADHD treatment.
They also share the basic chemical component used in Focalin and Adderall formulas: Dexmethylphenidate

These medications also have the same efficacy proved by clinical trials, users’ reviews, and reports.
But in some cases, Focalin was reported to show actually better efficacy.

Differences between Focalin and Adderall

Here you may find a brief description of the differences between Focalin and Adderall, which probably will help you to make an informed decision on which one fits better for you.

  • Adderall’s method of action is to promote dopamine and norepinephrine release from synapses while Focalin simply inhibits the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine and increases its concentration;
  • Approved indication of Adderall is wider than of Focalin according to FDA. The additional official indication of Adderall besides ADHD is narcolepsy;
  • Side effects of both medications are the same, but Adderall has more serious cardiovascular side effects (e.g. neurotoxicity from long-term use, increased heart rate, hypertension, peripheral vasoconstriction);
  • A half-life of Focalin is shorter than for Adderall: it is 2-2,5 hr vs 11-13 hr accordingly, what makes Focalin safer for your body;
  • Contraindications list contains wider range for Adderall (moderate-to-severe hypertension, agitated states, cardiovascular disease, hyperthyroidism, patients with a history of drug abuse, arteriosclerosis, hypersensitivity to sympathomimetic, – are additional to contraindications of Focalin);
  • Warnings list contains a wider range of Focalin (hypersensitivity reactions, Reynaud’s syndrome, priapism, – are additional to warnings of Adderall);
  • The addictiveness of both pharmacons is medium and depending on the accuracy of taking these medications, but according to several reports, it is turned out that Adderall’s addictiveness is insignificantly higher than of Focalin which can be related directly to its greater “high” effect.

You may find some of the presented differences a bit formal but there are some which should definitely be taken into account when one considers the pros and cons of Focalin and Adderall.

What is better: Focalin or Adderall?

But some factors like the popularity of one medication over another (Adderall is deemed to be more popular as widely-known) or greater euphoria effect shall not be a conclusive factor in a decision to take Focalin or Adderall.

These factors have no value with respect to efficiency or side effects impact and therefore shall not be the reason for each of them to be considered as your best choice.

In order to understand which one to choose, it is recommended to carefully look at the most important aspects such as side effects, warnings and contraindication, and effectiveness.

As for the last characteristic (efficiency), it was estimated as equal for both Focalin and Adderall hence we have no winner here. But as for side effects, warnings and contraindications list and addictiveness, Focalin is leading here having fewer side effects, shorter contraindications list, and less addictiveness

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