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Focalin vs. Adderall

Are Focalin and Adderall the Same Thing?

Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) and Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine salts) central nervous system stimulants used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Adderall is also used to treat narcolepsy.

Side effects of Focalin and Adderall that are similar include restlessness, anxiety, stomach upset or pain, loss of appetite, dry mouth, headache, or sleep problems (insomnia).

Side effects of Focalin that are different from Adderall include feeling jittery or sore throat.

Side effects of Adderall that are different from Focalin include nervousness, excitability, irritability, agitation, dizziness, fear, tremor, weakness, blurred vision, unpleasant taste in mouth, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fever, hair loss, weight loss, loss of interest in sex, impotence, difficulty having an orgasm, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, or heart palpitations.

Both Focalin and Adderall may interact with antidepressants, blood pressure medications, or seizure medicines.

Focalin may also interact with blood thinners or cold or allergy medicines that contain a decongestant.

Adderall may also interact with heart medications, diuretics (water pills), cold or allergy medicines that contain antihistamines, acetazolamide, chlorpromazine, haloperidol, lithium, meperidine, methenamine, phenobarbital, reserpine, ammonium chloride, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), potassium phosphate, antacids, sodium bicarbonate (Alka-Seltzer), potassium citrate, sodium citrate and citric acid, sodium citrate and potassium, or stomach acid reducers.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Focalin?

Common side effects of Focalin include:

  • restlessness,
  • anxiousness,
  • feeling jittery,
  • stomach upset,
  • loss of appetite,
  • dry mouth,
  • sore throat,
  • headache, or
  • sleep problems (insomnia)

What Are Possible Side Effects of Adderall?

Common side effects of Adderall include:

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeats;
  • pain or burning when you urinate;
  • talking more than usual, feelings of extreme happiness or sadness;
  • tremors, hallucinations, unusual behavior, or motor tics (muscle twitches); or
  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • headache, weakness, dizziness, blurred vision;
  • feeling restless, irritable, or agitated,
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • dry mouth or an unpleasant taste in your mouth;
  • diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting;
  • fever;
  • hair loss, loss of appetite, weight loss; or
  • loss of interest in sex, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

SLIDESHOW

ADHD Symptoms in Children See Slideshow

What Is Focalin?

Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) is a mild stimulant to the central nervous system used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant prescription medicine. It is used for the treatment of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Adderall may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in patients with ADHD.

Adderall should be used as a part of a total treatment program for ADHD that may include counseling or other therapies.

Adderall is also used in the treatment of a sleep disorder called narcolepsy.

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

What Drugs Interact With Focalin?

Focalin XR may interact with MAO inhibitors, antacids, blood pressure medications, blood thinners, clonidine, seizure medications, or antidepressants. Tell your doctor all medications you use. Focalin XR should be used only when prescribed during pregnancy. It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

What Drugs Interact With Adderall?

Tell your doctor about all of the medicines that you or your child take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Adderall and some medicines may interact with each other and cause serious side effects. Sometimes the doses of other medicines will need to be adjusted while taking Adderall.

Your doctor will decide whether Adderall can be taken with other medicines.

Especially tell your doctor if you or your child take:

  • anti-depression medicines including MAOIs
  • blood pressure medicines
  • seizure medicines
  • blood thinner medicines
  • cold or allergy medicines that contain decongestants
  • stomach acid medicines

Know the medicines that you or your child take. Keep a list of your medicines with you to show your doctor and pharmacist.

Do not start any new medicine while taking Adderall without talking to your doctor first.

QUESTION

Who is at greater risk for developing ADHD? See Answer

How Should Focalin Be Taken?

The recommended starting dose of Focalin XR is 5 mg/day for pediatric patients and 10 mg/day for adult patients. Dosage may be adjusted in 5 mg increments for pediatric patients and in 10 mg increments for adult patients.

How Should Adderall Be Used?

  • Take Adderall exactly as prescribed. Your doctor may adjust the dose until it is right for you or your child.
  • Adderall tablets are usually taken two to three times a day. The first dose is usually taken when you first wake in the morning. One or two more doses may be taken during the day, 4 to 6 hours apart.
  • Adderall can be taken with or without food.
  • From time to time, your doctor may stop Adderall treatment for a while to check ADHD symptoms.
  • Your doctor may do regular checks of the blood, heart, and blood pressure while taking Adderall. Children should have their height and weight checked often while taking Adderall. Adderall treatment may be stopped if a problem is found during these check-ups.
  • If you or your child take too much Adderall or overdoses, call your doctor or poison control center right away, or get emergency treatment.
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Drug information found in the drug comparisons published on RxList.com is primarily sourced from the FDA drug information. The drug comparison information found in this article does not contain any data from clinical trials with human participants or animals performed by any of the drug manufacturers comparing the drugs.

The drug comparisons information provided does not cover every potential use, warning, drug interaction, side effect, or adverse or allergic reaction. RxList.com assumes no responsibility for any healthcare administered to a person based on the information found on this site.

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If you have specific questions regarding a drug’s safety, side effects, usage, warnings, etc., you should contact your doctor or pharmacist, or refer to the individual drug monograph details found on the FDA.gov or RxList.com websites for more information.

You may also report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA by visiting the FDA MedWatch website or calling 1-800-FDA-1088.

References

Novartis. Focalin XR Drug Information.
https://www.focalinxr.com
FDA. Adderall Product Information.
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2013/021303s026lbl.pdf
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