The prescription drug Focalin, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is a stimulant that has a calming effect. In clinical studies, children and teenagers with ADHD who took the drug had significant improvement in their symptoms, compared to those with ADHD who did not take it. Focalin comes in a tablet form that should be taken by mouth twice a day.
What Is Focalin?
Focalin® (dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride) is a prescription medication that is used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Because the drug is a stimulant and is commonly abused, there are special rules for prescribing it (see Focalin: A Controlled Substance).
Focalin is manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
How Does Focalin Work?
Although Focalin is a stimulant, it has effects that are the opposite of what would be expected of a stimulant. Stimulants like caffeine can cause hyperactivity, but Focalin has a calming effect. The exact way in which the drug produces a calming effect is not known. However, it is known to affect chemicals in the brain.
Focalin contains dexmethylphenidate, which is similar to methylphenidate (the active component of Concerta®, Daytrana®, Ritalin®, Metadate®, and Methylin®). In fact, methylphenidate is actually a mixture of dexmethylphenidate and levomethylphenidate. Of these two components, dexmethylphenidate is the more active one.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Focalin [package insert]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation;2013 June.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed November 16, 2007.
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