Comment from: happymom, 35-44 on Treatment for 1-2 years Published: April 02

We tried many things to help my daughter with her inability to focus, her impulsiveness, and her learning disabilities. Special Education, good diet and exercise, and A LOT of homework help at home helped, but she still required a lot of redirection and one-on-one time at school from her teachers. We finally agreed with her doctor to try a medication. We tried Concerta and it was terrible. Too strong for her! She was tearful and suffered insomnia and nightmares. We asked the doctor what else we could try. He prescribed the lowest dose of Focalin... 10mg. It worked!!! The difference in her behavior was like night and day and it didn't affect her sweet personality at all. I didn't tell her teachers so I could really see if they noticed a difference, and they immediately saw a change in her school performance. She was less impulsive, she stayed on task, and she actually finished assignments! At home she was able to do more things like getting dressed on her own, cleaning her room, doing most her own homework without me prompting her every five minutes. We found that giving her half a pill in the morning and half at lunch (the school helps us with that) worked best for her (it seems to last 5 hours). After school homework time was a challenge since the Rx had worn off, but her Dr. prescribed a 2mg dose as needed for these days, and it works really well. She is still able to sleep by 8PM. She still has a good appetite too (which worried me). It is available in generic form so it's easily affordable. The only problem with this Rx is that it isn't long-acting so you need to give a booster dose mid day. But we haven't found this to be difficult for now. I hope this helps someone out there! It has been a life-saver for our sweet daughter!

Related Reading: learning disabilities | concerta | insomnia

Comment from: cistre60, 25-34 on Treatment for 6 months - 1 year (Patient) Published: May 03

My 7 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD in October 2009. I was constantley getting phone calls from his 1st grade teacher about how he was behaving in class and how he was just down right refusing to be still. I decided to have him tested basically to rule out this condition. His dr placed him on this medicine and it was remarkable. He is not a "zombie" while on this. He is still able to play with his friends and be a normal child without the impluse to do what he wants in class. His conduct grade went from a very low D to 100% A. I have recomended that other parents that I know of who are having the same issues with their children in school to talk to their drs about this medicine. Every morning my son makes sure that his medicine is next to his breakfast plate so he will not get in trouble in school.

Comment from: lbaezl, 25-34 on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: October 23

My 6 year old son had been having trouble is school since preschool, and at home since he was born with hyperactivity...he was overbearing with his friends and even lost some...I dreaded picking him up from school b/c of the teachers report...I've even had to pick him up early due to disruptive behavoir...he is also gifted with compounded the issue of being bord in school...We started medication for the first time 3 weeks ago and I absolutly love it...we have not had a negitive report since...he has not had any side effects and I medicate on weekends as well so I can see how it affects him and it is wonderful to see him interacting with others appropriately...the other day he said "thank you mom for my brain medicine.. now I feel like a superhero because it helps me think more clearly" I almost's been a God-send!

Comment from: WeepingWillow, 13-18 on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: January 16

I'm 16 years old and was diagnosed with ADHD around age 7. I started taking Focalin around the time I was diagnosed and immediately noticed a difference. I became withdrawn, depressed, unable to carry a conversation with others, it became hard for me to sleep well, eat well, stay asleep, and so on. When I was younger I hated Focalin so much that I would spit it out before I left to catch me bus. Also, because it would ware off by the time I got home my parents never believed I was like a zombie. One day I decided to prove it and take it on a weekend so they could see. They were so concerned for me that they held a little intervention at the end of the day. At that intervention I told them that I took my Focalin and they didn't make me take it anymore. Around age 14 I decided I wanted to take it again. I hated Focalin more than anything else, however, my grades had slipped immensely and I needed help paying attention. After taking the Focalin for a month I was able to pass the classes I had been failing before. Now I'm getting straight A's. Still, after all of this, I find Focalin to be torture. An extremely effective form of torture. And now, I feel as though I NEED Focalin to function properly in society and be a better version of myself. Please, if your child is having any similar symptoms, find a new drug, or a new tactic. Don't let them end up like me.

Related Reading: focalin

Comment from: Bryan, 13-18 Female on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: April 29

I'm a 15 year old who took this drug for about a month.Focalin XR was effective in getting me to pay attention but I noticed that i was very fidgety.My teacher confronted me about my fidgetiness and it was a big problem.Also my parents notice I was very moody and very aggressive.I decided to stop taking Focalin XR after I got into a very aggressive argument with my father.I have a border line intermidiate level of anger problems without any drugs, Focalin XR just made them worse.Fidgetiness also did not improve,it almost seemed worse with Focalin XR.Focalin XR in my opinion should only be for Predominantly Inattentive Type ADHD.I have Combined Type ADHD and it is at an intermiditate level.I hope this review will help parents and patients decide whether Focalin XR is the right medication for them or their children.

Related Reading: focalin xr

Comment from: that one girl, 13-18 on Treatment for 6 months - 1 year (Patient) Published: March 06

I am 19 years old and I suffer from anxiety and depression and ADHD. For my family this was a huge burden. They did not like how hyperactive I could be, but being energetic and creative is who I was. They had me take Focalin, for ADHD when I was 16, even though if you have anxiety you shouldn't take it. I told them I didn't like how it made me feel but they kept me on it anyways. They were desperate to calm me down and improve my grades. My grades improved but my mood plummeted. I had panic attacks every other day, became suicidal, cried in the hallways and was mean to my friends. When I tried to tell my parents this they said that I was behaving fine at home. I was a zombie at home! I sat around in bed and I slept, I lost fifteen pounds (to weigh a whopping 95 lbs at 5'5)They told me that my friends liked how hyper I was and that's why my friends agreed that this drug changed me. I told my doctor I no longer wanted to take it, and when he said that was okay my parents became very angry and suddenly decided he didn't know what he was talking about. I finally stopped taking it after six months. I have a lot of problems but I try to handle it as it comes. Talking to my doctor helps. But this medication was not for me. I had all the emotional side effects, but my parents were more concerned about what they considered my "behavioral problems". They wanted a zombie kid but I didn't want to be one, it made me want to die. I now live away from home and though I still have panic attacks now and again, and I still obviously get easily distracted, I understand myself and what I need better than they do. I do not recommend this drug for kids who are overly creative along with hyper, because it kills your creative abilities and turns you into someone else. I'm sure it works for some people and that is fantastic, but listen to your kid too. If they don't like it, try something else.

Related Reading: anxiety | depression | focalin

Comment from: lovingauntie, 19-24 on Treatment for 1-6 months Published: June 30

My 5 year old nephew is taking this medication, and I hate it. This pill does exactly what it's supposed to do, but he's a completely different child. He used to love to play and was always happy and smiling. Now, my husband and I only see him this way in the morning when he wakes up, and if we keep him up past his bedtime since the medication has worn off. He's a zombie. He doesn't smile much anymore, he can pay attention to you, but he looks empty. It's so heartbreaking. The only difference with him than the things I've read is that he doesn't have trouble sleeping, there are days he sleeps for 12 hours at night, and takes a 2 hour or more nap. I think if it were my choice, he wouldn't be on this. I miss the little boy that's locked up inside of him after he takes this.

Comment from: Bert, 35-44 Female on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: April 23

I am 39 years old and was recently diagnosed with Adult ADD. After trying Stratera for a few days, my doctor changed me to Focalin 5 mg twice daily. The Stratera did not work for me, made me very drowsey, wicked cotton mouth, upset stomach and the ever onmious "sexual side effects" but alarmingly it gave me very gruesome nightmares. I've never had that happen before, so the doctor changed me to Focalin after only 4 days. Wow what a lifesaver. I'm currently in school fulltime because of a career change. With the ADD I was unable to work and go to school at the same time, to the point where my parents offered to support me while in school. The ADD was just too much for me to do both. After only a few weeks, I can say that this drug has saved me. Finally I can concentrate fully and not get distracted. This has allowed me to start working again while in school, so I am extremely happy. As for side effects, I've been pretty happy with the dose I'm on. The only real side effect for me is loss of weight, which at my age isn't something I'm going to complain about too much! lol I do have to remind myself to eat, and it's a weird sensation to go a whole day without eating and not be hungry. It's amazing in that respect. Other than that I have no complaints. One last comment is regarding sleep problems. I have suffered through many many sleepness nights because of the ADD. It is not unusual for me to be up until 3 or 4 am everynight because I couldn't quiet my mind enough. I take this drug twice daily, six hours apart. In a roundabout way, Focalin has relieved the sleep problems, because by the end of the day I seem pretty well spent. I workout 3 times weekly and I seem to have more energy now due to the Focalin. The workouts and the Focalin ensure that I am dead tired by 10 pm. This is a fast acting drug and I feel it within 5 minutes of taking it on an empty stomach. It doesn't make me feel ramped up, I do have a lot of energy when taking it.

Related Reading: nightmares

Comment from: 35-44 on Treatment for 1-2 years Published: November 19

My son has had adhd since 1st grade and now he is 13 years old. He has tried every medicine but they either made him a zombie, severly depressed, angry, etc. but focalin has been a miracle in his behavior and his grades are up. He has been on focalin for over one year and it is the best adhd medicine.

Related Reading: focalin

Comment from: 45-54 on Treatment for 1-2 years Published: September 19

Its important to note that you should watch the child on focalin, don't medicate so that the child is a zombie. All children need room to act out and learn from experience. Eating was much easier on Focalin than other stimulants, while they'll say they aren't hungry I can at least get them to eat something, ie fruit, cookies, cheese.


ADHD Symptoms in Children See Slideshow
Comment from: Dylan, 13-18 Female on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: March 28

I started taking focalin when i was 14, im now 16. Before i say anything bad about this drug, it does help with focusing..but almost helps too much. My grades improved dramatically when i started taking this, but my social life plummeted. I started feeling anxious, depressed and I couldn't really hold a conversation until the end of the day on the bus when it was wearing off. My parents didn't really see much difference in me because it wears off within the hour i get home, but yes, there is a huge difference (at least for me.) I don't recommend this drug to anyone who is creative and has a hyper lifestyle (Me.) It makes you a different person, almost zombie like because its hard to hold on just one social conversation. I think that was the main reason i didnt like it, all my friends were asking if i was sick or sad etc. and i would just say im not having a good day because its too hard to explain to them because i just dont have the motivation. luckily i only take this medicine on the weekdays and not on the weekends so im normal all weekend. Overall it just makes my life a little bit more hard to deal with because of my hyper, happy lifestyle....but it also helps with school. So its your choice. Do you want a more happy lifestyle and be social? or get better grades, but not be social whatsoever. I had to choose the not social way because of my grades, but because of so many conversations i have missed out on with my friends i wish i had taken another medicine.

Related Reading: focalin

Comment from: Lydia, 7-12 Female on Treatment for 6 months - 1 year (Patient) Published: May 08

My son is 8 y/o has been taking Focalin 5mg for about a year. It makes him like a zombie he sits and stares out the door all day long until it wears off. The medication last 10-12 hours. I gave him the medication at 7am and it started wearing off at around 5 oclock pm. He would not eat or drink anything. He often complains of his stomach hurting and nausea. I feel like this is abuse to our children. That's all this country knows how to do is push and use drugs. This country should spend more money on research for curing diseases and behaviors without doping everybody up with drugs, especially our children, it's sad and pitiful.

Related Reading: focalin

Comment from: Catherinebert, 7-12 on Treatment for 6 months - 1 year Published: February 13

My 7yo daughter could have used this in 1st grade, but we did not start until 2nd. Her focus in class, grades and homework have all skyrocketed. We even give her a 2nd dose in the afternoon to help with evening time activities (chores, playing nicely, getting ready for bed). She is taking 20mg, but we started at 5mg.

Comment from: zacheysmom, 3-6 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: November 26

My son was diagnosied with ADHD this summer. The Doctor told us about focalin, he just told us about the eating and sleeping part. My son does fine while on the medication, but when hes is coming down off medication, he has aggression and realy high anxiety. Then when the medication is completly gone hes hungry. We are suppose to be switching him to something that does not cause this reaction

Related Reading: anxiety

Comment from: 13-18 on Treatment for less than 1 month Published: October 31

My 13 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with inattentive ADHD. So far she has been on it for 2 weeks and have already seen dramatic improvements. I am sorry that it took this long to be diagnosed, had she been on it long before, I think there would have been alot of less heartache. Her comment was " It feels great to be able to think"

Comment from: 25-34 on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: April 14

I started taking Focalin for my ADD almost a month ago in place of Vyvanse, and prior to these I took Adderall. I am aware that our bodies’ can react differently to certain medications; luckily, being an adult allows us to better vocalize our reactions to these medications. With that said, of the three ADD medications, Adderall (hands-down!) worked best for me. However, my doctor has stopped prescribing Adderall due to its "street value". Therefore, I started taking Vyvanse instead and though it served its purpose, it simply wasn’t the same. Each day I had to take half of a capsule in the morning and the other around noon because taking all of it at once presented anxiety (which I was not accustom to) and when that would finally pass, I was left feeling exhausted. Although I was able to accommodate to Vyvanse, I felt as if my body (and wallet!) needed a change, so I did some research and talked to my doctor about Focalin. My doc didn't know much about Focalin, but was intrigued by its description and prescribed it to me. I thought it would be OK at first, but I have come to realize that it is not. Much like my initial Vyvanse experience, I receive more jitters/anxiety side effects than I do actual concentration. Not to mention the intense urge to “break in” the nearest toilet... I honestly feel this medication is doing more harm than help. Like I previously said, I know certain people react differently to medications than others; however, I can't help but feel concerned for those children taking Focalin and are experiencing similar side effects, but are unable to express them properly. With this, I would simply like for parents to be aware.

Related Reading: vyvanse | adderall

Comment from: 7-12 Female on Treatment for 1-2 years Published: January 23

my son is 8 and has been on this medication for about a year. His grades have been steadily improving and they discussing removing him from special ed. He started out on 10mg but he would come home a little zoned out but when the doctor lowered his dose to 5mg we immediately seen improvements at home as well as at school

Comment from: cookie, 7-12 Female on Treatment for 1-2 years Published: October 25

My son has been taking this medication for 1 1/5 yrs. now. And it's helped with his ADHD a great deal. The only side effect I have noticed are the tics and occassional body jerks. He is able to eat and sleeps great.

Comment from: twh356ss, 7-12 Female on Treatment for 2-5 years Published: May 04

My 8 year old daughter is on 20mg of Focalin XR and it is working quite well for her. We also have her on Abilify 5mg, Vistaril 35mg 3x day, and Trazadone 35mg at night. Bipolar, ADHD, and Opposition and Defiance Disorder. Parents and caregivers need to watch as the child grows and make sure that the meds are keeping up. We have found this out the hard way. Please heed this advice.

Related Reading: focalin xr | abilify | vistaril

Comment from: Mother of one, 3-6 on Treatment for less than 1 month Published: September 26

My daughter started this rx three weeks ago. I am very blessed because this is her first med and it has worked wonders. She is more focused and is able to complete school work independently. She takes 5mg 2times a day. I do have concerns because when she doesn't take it she is much more hyper than she was before she stared it.

Comment from: Tiffany , 7-12 Female on Treatment for 1-2 years Published: June 09

my son is 9 and is doing very well on the medication.he had been on adderall did not like this medcine at all,he lost 15 pounds first month.

Related Reading: adderall

Comment from: redheadok, 35-44 on Treatment for 1-6 months Published: November 02

My 6 y/o son was having many behavioral problems at his daycare. Basically he had daily incidents that led to phone calls for me to pick him up because they couldn't calm him down. I took him to a behavior therapist and after a month of visits and questionnaires completed by parents and teachers, he was diagnosed with ADHD + ODD. Although I strongly believe a large part of the problem was the adult's mishandling of the situation, when the ODD kicked in he was physical with anyone near and hurt (not seriously) people. At the recommendation of our pediatrician (who has known my 6 y/o son since birth) and the therapist, we started him on Vayarin and 5 mg of Focalin XR. We did notice a slight improvement with the 5 mg; however, over the course of the next 2 months we walked him up to 10 mg and then 15 mg. We always started a new dose on the weekend so we could monitor him closely. For the first 1-2 days he would have a headache, but it was nothing that prevented him from his normal daily activities. I do notice some excessive sweating and he often sleeps without his shirt because he's too warm. However, the benefits in his case have FAR outweighed those two cons. My child is NOT a zombie, which was a fear of ours before starting the medication. I notice immediately when the medicine takes effect and leaves his system. Multiple teachers at his school have raved about what a wonderful child he is. Now he can focus, complete tasks, and sit still for longer periods of time. I know his teacher has a great amount of experience with ADHD, so she has been incredible during this process. We also recently started behavior therapy at the CDC. My ultimate goal is to wean him off the Focalin XR; however, it has made a tremendous difference in our lives for the last few months. I have zero regrets for using it as a (hopefully) temporary crutch to help as we further develop his coping skills and work to decrease his impulsivity.

Related Reading: vayarin | headache | excessive sweating

Comment from: cocoberg, 35-44 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: May 02

My son has been having a hard time focusing in school, he had been on another medication for past few years and we switched to Focalin, noted an immediate difference, then when we were prescribed to double it, thing got even better, his grades started coming up, and he is such a more pleasant child, also decreased fighting with his brothers.

Related Reading: focalin

Comment from: 13-18 Female on Treatment for 1-2 years (Patient) Published: May 31

It has worked for me very well. I am 15 years old, and i have been taking it since I was 13. There is another side effect that is not listed that I believe should be. Muscle spasms. I have them daily, but other than that it has worked for me very well. I believe that it is much less addicting than they say it is. I would advise this for people having trouble with ADHD.

Related Reading: muscle spasms


The abbreviated term ADHD denotes the condition commonly known as: See Answer
Comment from: tjlvv, 25-34 on Treatment for 1-6 months Published: March 01

This medication seems to not last lomg enough to get through dinner and homework. makes child seem like emotional roller coaster never know how child will act from one minute to the nexts. cries very easily.


Pharmacy Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

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