ADHD Home > Focalin Warnings and Precautions

Some Focalin Warnings and Precautions

Some Focalin warnings and precautions to be aware of include:
  • Stimulants (including Focalin) are often abused. Taking high doses of Focalin for long periods of time can lead to dependence on Focalin (see Dexmethylphenidate Abuse). Because Focalin is so commonly abused, there are special rules for prescribing Focalin (see Focalin: A Controlled Substance for more information).
  • In people with psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder), Focalin can worsen psychotic symptoms, including thought disorders and behavior problems. Also, Focalin may make bipolar symptoms -- especially manic symptoms -- worse.
  • Sudden death has been reported in children and adolescents with heart problems who took normal doses of Focalin. If your child has heart problems, talk with your healthcare provider about whether it is appropriate for him or her to take Focalin. Also, let your healthcare provider know if your child develops any chest tightness, chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Focalin.
  • Sudden death, stroke, and heart attacks have also been reported in adults taking normal doses of medications similar to Focalin. These events seem to occur more often in adults with heart problems. If you have heart problems, talk with your healthcare provider about whether Focalin is appropriate in your situation. Also, let your healthcare provider know if you develop any chest tightness, chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while on Focalin.
  • Focalin can cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. In most cases, the increase is small and does not cause problems. However, there is an increased risk for people who already have high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, certain irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias), or a recent history of a heart attack.
  • Stimulants used to treat ADHD have been associated with problems in blood vessels in the fingers and toes, sometimes causing problems such as Raynaud's disease. Alert your healthcare provider to any signs of this problem, such as cold or numb toes or fingers.
  • Focalin can cause a temporary slowing of growth in children. This slowing of growth is usually small (less that one inch and less than two pounds); and, in time, children usually catch up to within normal limits.
  • There have been reports of priapism in people taking ADHD medications, including this one. This side effect is an abnormally long-lasting, painful erection and can cause serious, permanent damage to the penis. It can occur in males of any age. Young boys might not recognize this side effect, and males of any age might be hesitant to seek parental or medical attention, due to embarrassment. Prompt treatment is necessary to avoid damage.
Be especially on the lookout for this side effect whenever the dosage is increased or during a drug "holiday" or any other time when the drug is stopped.
  • Focalin may cause an increase in aggressive behavior in people with ADHD. Let your healthcare provider know of you have any increase in aggressive behavior while on Focalin.
  • Focalin can increase the risk of seizures, especially in people who have had seizures before. If you have a history of seizures, you should talk with your healthcare provider before taking Focalin.
  • Focalin can cause blurred vision and other vision problems.
  • Focalin can interact with certain medications (see Focalin Drug Interactions).
  • Focalin is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that Focalin may not be safe to use during pregnancy. Talk with your healthcare provider before using Focalin during pregnancy (see Focalin and Pregnancy for more information).
  • It is not known if Focalin passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about this.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
Other Articles in This eMedTV Presentation

Topics & Medications


Related Channels

eMedTV Links
Copyright © 2006-2020 Clinaero, Inc.

eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.