ADHD Home > Focalin XR

Focalin XR is a prescription drug licensed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In previous clinical studies, children with ADHD who took the medication had significant behavior improvements, compared to children who did not take it. The medicine's capsule form allows it to be taken just once a day, instead of twice a day. Some common side effects of Focalin XR include upset stomach, dry mouth, and anxiety.

What Is Focalin XR?

Focalin XR® (dexmethylphenidate extended-release) is a prescription medication that is used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Focalin XR capsules are specially designed to release half of the medication immediately, and to release the second half of the medication after approximately four hours. As a result, the medication can be taken just once a day.
Because Focalin XR is a stimulant and is commonly abused, there are special rules for prescribing it (see Focalin XR: A Controlled Substance).
(Click Focalin XR Uses for more information on the uses of this medication, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Focalin XR?

It is manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

How Does It Work?

Focalin XR is a stimulant; but it has effects that are the opposite of what would be expected of a stimulant. While stimulants like caffeine can cause hyperactivity, Focalin XR has a calming effect. Although the exact way in which Focalin XR produces a calming effect is not known, it is known that it affects chemicals in the brain.
Focalin XR contains dexmethylphenidate, which is very 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.
Focalin XR capsules contain tiny beads that contain the medication. Half of these are immediate-release beads, and the other half are delayed-release beads, which do not dissolve until they reach the small intestine (about four hours later). This allows Focalin XR to be taken just once a day (instead of twice a day).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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