ADHD Home > Focalin and Depression

Although depression was not reported as a common side effect of Focalin in short-term studies, depression was a reported side effect in people who took methylphenidate (a drug that is very similar to Focalin). Interestingly, one off-label use of Focalin is the treatment of depression. Although it is not approved for this use, Focalin has been shown to rapidly improve the symptoms of depression. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about Focalin and depression if you notice any possible symptoms of depression while taking the drug.

Overview of Focalin for Depression

There are several possible side effects of Focalin® (dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride). Depression is one of the side effects reported in clinical studies of methylphenidate (a medication that is very similar to Focalin). Interestingly, medications like Focalin are also sometimes used to help treat depression.

Is Depression a Focalin Side Effect?

Before medicines are approved, they must go through several clinical studies in which thousands of people are given a particular medicine and are then compared to a group of people not given the medicine. In these studies, the side effects are always documented. As a result, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine. Side effects are then usually separated into those that occur in more than 1 percent of people and those that occur in less than 1 percent of people.
For people taking methylphenidate (which is very similar to Focalin), depression was a reported side effect (although the specific frequency was not reported). For Focalin specifically, depression was not reported as a common side effect in short-term studies. Based on this data, it is difficult to say how common it is for people taking Focalin to experience depression.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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