Focalin (Dexmethylphenidate) Prescription Facts

Focalin is a central nervous system stimulant drug. The generic name is dexmethylphenidate. Focalin is available as an immediate-release drug and there is an extended-release variation called Focalin XR. Focalin was approved by the FDA in 2005 for the treatment of ADHD. Focalin, when taken as directed, can treat symptoms of ADHD, such as impulsivity and lack of focus. Side effects of Focalin can include insomnia, restlessness, agitation, increased heart rate and blood pressure, headache and dry mouth. If someone takes Focalin as prescribed, adverse side effects are usually minimal; however, there is a potential for Focalin abuse. Focalin has a black box warning that highlights this potential. When Focalin is abused, especially in high doses, it can result in a sense of euphoria or a rush of energy. Recreational abuse of Focalin can lead to addiction and dependence.

Focalin Regulations

Focalin is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration. In the U.S., a Schedule II substance has a high potential for abuse and dependence. Despite the high potential for abuse and psychological and physical dependence, Schedule II drugs do have currently accepted medical uses in the U.S. If someone uses or possesses a Schedule II drug without a valid prescription, however, there can be serious legal penalties. Despite the regulations for the use of Focalin, the drug is often recreationally abused.

Most Commonly Abused Stimulants

Prescription stimulants are often used for the treatment of ADHD and, in some cases, narcolepsy. These drugs boost energy, attention, and alertness. Commonly abused stimulants include Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin. Taking someone else’s medicine, taking medicine in a way other than what’s prescribed, or taking the medicine just to get high are all indicative of abuse. It’s also common for people to crush tablets or open capsules in order to snort or inject the drugs.

How Focalin Affects the Brain and Body

Focalin affects the brain and body like other prescription stimulants. When someone uses the drug to treat ADHD as prescribed, they aren’t likely to feel any effects other than increased concentration and less hyperactivity. When someone abuses Focalin, however, there are many noticeable effects. Someone using Focalin might outwardly appear to be very sociable, talkative and energetic. Focalin can cause a euphoric rush as well, and also speed up breathing and the heart rate, and increase blood sugar levels. Focalin causes insomnia and loss of appetite as well. Additionally, Focalin abuse can result in high body temperatures, changes in heartbeat, seizures and heart failure.

Half-Life of Focalin

There are two versions of Focalin: immediate-release and extended-release. Immediate-release Focalin has a half-life of around 2.2 hours. For extended-release Focalin, the half-life is around three hours and can vary between 4.5 hours to 7 hours. It usually takes five to six half-lives for a drug to be fully eliminated from the system.

Factors That Influence How Long Focalin Stays in Your System

While it’s possible to compare average half-life numbers and estimates, there are quite a few individual factors that play a role in how long Focalin stays in your system. For example, metabolism is one factor. Someone with a faster metabolism is going to excrete a dose of Focalin more quickly than someone with a slower metabolism. Age is also relevant. Younger, healthier people tend to eliminate drugs and medications more quickly than older people, or people with health issues. The liver metabolizes dexmethylphenidate, so impaired liver function can change how quickly or slowly it’s eliminated from the body. The higher the dose, the longer it will take someone to eliminate a dose of Focalin as well. If someone mixes Focalin with another substance, it can impact how long it takes the drug to leave the system. Alcohol is one example. Alcohol, mixed with Focalin, can release more of the drug into the bloodstream and it can take longer for the drug to be eliminated.

How Long Does Focalin Stay in Your Urine, Hair, and Blood

Different drug screenings might be done to test for Focalin. However, a standard drug screening panel isn’t likely going to show the presence of a drug like Focalin. Instead, the drug would have to be specifically tested for. Regardless, Focalin has a relatively short half-life and doesn’t stay in the system for all that long. In a urine test, Focalin might show up for anywhere from one to three days. In a hair follicle analysis, Focalin could be present for up to 90 days. Because of how quickly Focalin leaves the system, it would probably only show up in a blood test for a few hours after it was used.

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.