Focalin vs. Concerta

Are Focalin and Concerta the Same Thing?

Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) and Concerta (methylphenidate extended release tablets) are central nervous system stimulants used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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

Side effects of Focalin that are different from Concerta include restlessness, feeling jittery, or sore throat.

Side effects of Concerta that are different from Focalin include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weight loss, irritability, vision problems, skin rash, nervousness, numbness/tingling/cold feeling in the hands or feet, or sweating.

Both Focalin and Concerta may interact with antidepressants, blood pressure medications, blood thinners, cold or allergy medicines that contain a decongestant, or seizure medicines.

Concerta may also interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), blood thinners, clonidine, dobutamine, epinephrine, isoproterenol, potassium citrate, sodium acetate, sodium bicarbonate, citric acid and potassium citrate, sodium citrate and citric acid, stimulant medications, or diet pills.

Withdrawal symptoms may occur if you suddenly stop taking Focalin or Concerta.

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 Concerta?

Common side effects of Concerta include:

  • stomach pain,
  • loss of appetite,
  • headache,
  • dry mouth,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • sleep problems (insomnia),
  • anxiety,
  • dizziness,
  • weight loss,
  • irritability,
  • vision problems,
  • skin rash,
  • nervousness,
  • numbness/tingling/cold feeling in the hands or feet, and
  • sweating.

What Is Focalin?

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

What Is Concerta?

Concerta is a central nervous system stimulant prescription medicine. It is used for the treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Concerta may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in patients with ADHD.

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

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

Tell your doctor if you or your child has (or has a family history of) ever abused or been dependent on alcohol, prescription medicines, or street drugs.

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 Concerta?

Tell your doctor if you or your child is pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

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

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

Especially tell your doctor if you or your child takes:

  • antidepression medicines including MAOIs
  • seizure medicines
  • blood thinner medicines
  • blood pressure medicines
  • cold or allergy medicines that contain decongestants

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

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

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 Concerta Be Used?

Take Concerta exactly as prescribed. Your doctor may adjust the dose until it is right for you or your child.

Do not chew, crush, or divide the tablets.

Swallow Concerta tablets whole with water or other liquids. Tell your doctor if you or your child cannot swallow Concerta whole. A different medicine may need to be prescribed.

Concerta can be taken with or without food.

Take Concerta once each day in the morning. Concerta is an extended-release tablet. It releases medication into your or your child's body throughout the day.

The Concerta tablet does not dissolve completely in the body after all the medicine has been released. You or your child may sometimes notice the empty tablet in a bowel movement. This is normal.

From time to time, your doctor may stop Concerta treatment for a while to check ADHD symptoms.

Your doctor may do regular checks of the blood, heart, and blood pressure while taking Concerta. Children should have their height and weight checked often while taking Concerta. Concerta treatment may be topped if a problem is found during these check-ups.

If you or your child takes too much Concerta or verdoses, call your doctor or poison control center right away, or get emergency treatment.


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Novartis. Focalin XR Drug Information.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Concerta Product Information.

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