Focalin vs. Ritalin

Are Focalin and Ritalin the Same Thing?

Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) and Ritalin (methylphenidate hydrochloride) are central nervous system stimulants used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Ritalin is also used to treat narcolepsy.

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

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

Side effects of Ritalin that are different from Focalin include weight loss, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, irritability, nervousness, blurred vision or other vision problems, constipation, sweating, skin rash, numbness/tingling/cold feeling in your hands or feet, blue fingers or toes, increased blood pressure, or (rarely) drowsiness.

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

Ritalin may also interact with clonidine, dobutamine, epinephrine, isoproterenol, potassium citrate, sodium acetate, sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, potassium citrate, sodium citrate and citric acid, stimulant medications, or diet pills.

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

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 Ritalin?

Common side effects of Ritalin include:

  • nervousness,
  • agitation,
  • anxiety,
  • sleep problems (insomnia),
  • stomach pain,
  • loss of appetite,
  • weight loss,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • dizziness,
  • palpitations,
  • headache,
  • vision problems,
  • increased heart rate,
  • increased blood pressure,
  • sweating,
  • skin rash,
  • psychosis, and
  • numbness,
  • tingling, or
  • cold feeling in your hands or feet.

What Is Focalin?

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

What Is Ritalin?

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

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

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

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

Tell your doctor if you or your child have (or have 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 Ritalin?

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

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

Especially tell your doctor if you or your child takes:

  • anti-depression 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 Ritalin 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 Ritalin Be Used?

  • Take Ritalin exactly as prescribed. Your doctor may adjust the dose until it is right for you or your child.
  • Ritalin is usually taken 2 to 3 times a day.
  • Take Ritalin 30 to 45 minutes before a meal.
  • From time to time, your doctor may stop Ritalin treatment for a while to check ADHD symptoms.
  • Your doctor may do regular checks of the blood, heart, and blood pressure while taking Ritalin. Children should have their height and weight checked often while taking Ritalin. Ritalin treatment may be stopped if a problem is found during these check-ups.
  • If you or your child takes too much Ritalin or overdoses, call your doctor or poison control center right away, or get emergency treatment.

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Novartis. Focalin XR Drug Information.
Novartis. Ritalin Product Information.

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