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Focalin Side Effects




Focalin (generic name, dexmethylphenidate) is an oral medication used to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. Focalin is available in an immediate-acting form and an extended release form. It is indicated for the treatment of adults and children six years of age or older. Dexmethylphenidate is a stimulant that works somewhat paradoxically to help people with ADHD focus and reduce their impulsiveness.


Serious Side Effects of Focalin


The most serious Focalin adverse effects arise in people who are allergic to the drug. These include anaphylaxis, angioedema, and hypersensitivity reactions to the drug. Anaphylaxis is a rapid and severe allergic reaction in which the heart rate increases, blood pressure decreases, and lung passageways tighten, leading to severe shortness of breath and dizziness. Angioedema is also a severe allergic reaction in which the lips, tongue, and throat swell. This swelling can block air from passing and cause choking and death, if left untreated.


Dexmethylphenidate may provoke or worsen symptoms in people with existing cardiovascular diseases such as structural heart problems, serious heart arrhythmias, and coronary artery disease.


One of the less discussed but certainly serious Focalin adverse effects is priapism, which is a painful erection lasting for several hours. Fortunately, priapism is a rare side effect of Focalin.


Some people report blurry vision or being unable to see things up close. These dexmethylphenidate adverse effects almost always occur in adults.


Common Side Effects of Focalin


The most common Focalin side effects, that is, the side effects that occur in more than 10% of people taking the drug include:


  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia (children)
  • Restlessness (adults)
  • Decreased appetite (children)
  • Dry mouth (adults)
  • Abdominal pain (children)


Less Common Side Effects of Focalin

Other Focalin side effects are less common, occurring in 1 to 10% of people taking the medication include:


  • Dizziness (adults)
  • Fever (children)
  • Irritability (children)
  • Depression (children)
  • Mood swings (children)


  • Itchiness (children)
  • Nasal congestion (children)
  • Nausea (children)
  • Vomiting (children)
  • Decreased food intake to the point of weight loss (children)
  • Throat pain (adults)
  • Upset stomach or heartburn (children or adults)


Potential for Abuse of Focalin


While dependence and addiction are not technically dexmethylphenidate side effects, the drug is a stimulant, and therefore can be abused. Physicians may be reluctant to prescribe Focalin to people who have a history of drug dependence or alcoholism. People who chronically use Focalin may become dependent on the medication, need higher doses of the medicine to achieve the desired effect, and experience withdrawal symptoms is the medication is stopped. When used inappropriately, dexmethylphenidate can cause euphoria, so it is considered a potential drug of abuse. On the other hand, people who improperly use dexmethylphenidate are more likely to experience serious and perhaps life-threatening events such as psychosis (i.e. hallucinations, delusions, paranoia) and severe cardiac conditions.








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