How Long Does Dexmethylphenidate Stay in Your System?

Dexmethylphenidate is a prescription drug, sold under the brand name drugs Focalin and Focalin XR. Focalin is an immediate-release version of dexmethylphenidate, while Focalin XR is extended-release version. Dexmethylphenidate is a central nervous system stimulant, primarily used for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This drug is also used off-label to treat the sleep disorder narcolepsy. Brand-name Focalin was first approved by the FDA in 2005. Dexmethylphenidate is believed to increase the level of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine and norepinephrine.

Dexmethylphenidate is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S. Since dexmethylphenidate is a controlled substance, it is exclusively available by prescription and it’s illegal to possess or use dexmethylphenidate without a prescription. Despite the legal and health consequences, dexmethylphenidate and other stimulant prescription drugs are often abused recreationally. This abuse is particularly prevalent among young people and college students. Brand-name Focalin also carries a black-box warning that indicates the risk of abuse and addiction that can come with the use of this drug.

Stimulants are a class of drugs that speed up certain processes in the body, such as breathing and the heart rate. These drugs can also create a sense of euphoria or well-being. Someone who abuses stimulants may have a false sense of confidence or sociability. Stimulants can help people stay awake for long periods of time and they can increase focus and concentration -which is often why they’re popular among college students. Along with dexmethylphenidate, other commonly abused stimulants include amphetamine and methamphetamine. Amphetamine is a generic prescription drug that is also used to treat ADHD. Amphetamine is in the well-known brand-name drug Adderall. Illicit drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine are also stimulants.

Dexmethylphenidate is believed to affect the dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters. When someone who has been diagnosed with ADHD takes this drug, it can help reduce hyperactivity and impulsiveness. If someone takes large, recreational doses, they might experience a euphoric high and an increase in energy. People who use dexmethylphenidate, particularly in high doses, may have insomnia, reduced appetite, increased heart rate and they may be able to work or focus for very long periods of time. Severe side effects of dexmethylphenidate can include raised body temperature and sudden cardiac events. Other serious dexmethylphenidate side effects can include shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, chest pain, aggression, hallucinations, changes in mood, depression, or seizures.

There are immediate and extended-release versions of dexmethylphenidate. The extended-release version of the drug stays in the system longer than the immediate-release drug. The half-life of immediate-release dexmethylphenidate is around 2.2 hours for most people. The average half-life range for immediate-release dexmethylphenidate can be anywhere from one to four hours, which is a relatively short half-life. The half-life for extended-release versions of dexmethylphenidate can range between 5 and 7 hours for most people. It usually takes several half-lives for the entire dose of a drug to be eliminated from the body.

While medical professionals can estimate how long dexmethylphenidate might stay in the body based on average numbers, individual factors play a big role. For example, a person’s metabolism is important. Someone with a faster metabolism will excrete drugs more quickly than someone with a slower metabolism. A younger, healthier person will also excrete drugs like dexmethylphenidate more quickly than older people or people with health issues. Someone with a higher body mass index will also eliminate dexmethylphenidate from their system more quickly than a smaller person.

Dexmethylphenidate has a relatively short half-life, even when the extended-release version of the drug is used. It doesn’t accumulate in fat cells like other drugs. People often wonder how long dexmethylphenidate will show up in a drug test. While every person may have different results, with a urine test the detection window ranges from one to three days for most people. Dexmethylphenidate might show up in a hair follicle test for up to 90 days, although these tests aren’t typically used. A blood test probably wouldn’t be used to screen for dexmethylphenidate since it leaves the system so quickly. Dexmethylphenidate might show up in a saliva drug screening for anywhere from one to three days after the last dose was used.

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