ADHD Home > Focalin XR and Weight Loss

People may experience side effects while taking stimulants like Focalin XR, and weight loss is among the most common. In addition, Focalin XR can be used off-label for weight loss. However, weight loss can be a problem for some people, such as children who are still growing. Because weight loss is a potential side effect of Focalin XR, the medication is often abused for this use.

An Overview of Focalin XR and Weight Loss

Focalin XR® (dexmethylphenidate extended-release) is a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There are a number of possible side effects of stimulants like Focalin XR. Weight loss appears to be one of the most common. For some people, this may be a good thing. On occasion, healthcare providers will prescribe stimulants as a weight loss medicine. For many people, though, unintended weight loss can be a problem. For example, weight loss can be a problem in children who are still growing. Using Focalin XR for weight loss can also be a problem if the medicine is abused. In fact, losing weight may be one of the reasons why so many people abuse Focalin XR (see Focalin XR Abuse for more information).

Dealing With Weight Loss in Children and Teenagers

Weight loss is a common side effect of stimulants such as Focalin XR. Although weight loss was not reported in short-term clinical studies of Focalin XR, loss of appetite was reported in up to 30 percent of children taking Focalin XR. Weight loss or loss of appetite was not reported as a common side effect in adults. Although weight loss may be a desirable side effect for some children and teens, too much weight loss can be a problem for bodies that are still growing.
Some people find that waiting to take Focalin XR until after breakfast may help with a loss of appetite and/or weight loss. If your child or teenager seems to be losing too much weight while taking Focalin XR, talk with your healthcare provider. There are other ADHD medications that may not cause these problems for your child.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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