dexmethylphenidate (Focalin, Focalin XR)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

ADHD Symptoms in Children

GENERIC NAME: dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride

BRAND NAME: Focalin, Focalin XR

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Dexmethylphenidate is a medication used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is chemically similar to methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta). It stimulates the central nervous system (CNS or brain) in a manner that is similar to amphetamines; however, its actions are milder than amphetamines. It stimulates the brain by increasing the level of neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine, in the brain neurotransmitters are chemicals produced by nerves that are released and attach to other nearby nerves as a means of communication among nerves). The exact mechanism of action of the drug in people with ADHD is unknown. FDA approved dexmethylphenidate extended-release capsules in May 2005.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Tablet: 2.5, 5, 10 mg. Capsules (extended-release) dexmethylphenidate: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 mg

STORAGE: Store dexmethylphenidate between temperatures of 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Dexmethylphenidate is used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in patients 6 years and older.

DOSING:

Adults:

  • The dose of immediate release tablets is 2.5 mg twice daily and increase by 2.5 or 5 mg weekly if needed. The maximum dose is 20 mg daily.
  • Methylphenidate-naive patients: Start with 10 mg extended release capsules by mouth once daily in the morning and adjust the dose weekly in 10 mg increments. The maximum dose is 40 mg daily.
  • Patients currently using methylphenidate: The starting dose of extended release capsules is one-half the total daily dose of methylphenidate. Patients currently taking immediate-release dexmethylphenidate tablets may be switched to same daily dose of extended-release capsules.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/24/2014

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