Focalin vs Adderall: A 2023 Thorough Guide

Focalin vs Adderall

Focalin and Adderall are great choice medications for ADHD. Despite being used for the same purposes, the basic chemical composition is very different for both drugs. That makes it the main reason for Focalin vs Adderall comparison.

Dexmethylphenidate is the main active salt present in Focalin, whereas Adderall is a combination of Amphetamine Salts (MAS). They both have a high potential for abuse and can cause dependency. Adderall IR has more dosage options than Focalin IR whereas Focalin IR is usually cheaper. So in short, it is not very easy to choose the best between the two.

In this blog, we will be providing a detailed comparison of Focalin vs Adderall and will be covering all the aspects of these medications.

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What is Focalin and Adderall?

Focalin is a man-made tonic and basically comes from methylphenidate. Dexmethylphenidate is the most active component of methylphenidate, which explains why, mg for mg, Focalin is thought to be twice as potent as medications like Ritalin and Concerta.  Focalin was first approved in 2001.

The mixed amphetamine salts present in Adderall include dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate. The approval of Adderall first began in 1996. Both Focalin and Adderall are approved for ADHD, but in addition to that, the latter is also approved to treat narcolepsy.

Dosages of Adderall and Focalin:

Adderall should be taken according to the prescription of a doctor or a pharmacist to avoid situations of overdosing or underdosing. Adderall medication is taken in the form of tablets. The successive doses can be taken after 4-6 hours. This dosage should not exceed a total of 40mg per day.

Focalin is a stimulant and has milder effectiveness than Adderall. And hence it does not last in the system long. Focalin works for 4-6 hours after consumption. The amount of the dosages may vary for different patients but there is a set maximum amount that must not be exceeded and that is 40mg per day. 

Side-effects: Focalin vs Adderall

Few side effects of Focalin:

  • Abdominal pain 
  • Fever 
  • Nausea 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach

Serious side effects of Focalin are:

  • Sign of blood flow problems in the fingers or toes 
  • Irregular wounds 
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Behavior changes 
  • Uncontrolled muscle movements 
  • Sudden verbal outbursts vision changes 

Some side effects of Adderall:

  • Upset stomach 
  • Lower appetite
  • Weight loss’
  • Nervousness
  • Changes in mood 
  • Trouble sleeping 

Serious Side Effects of Adderall are:

  • Signs of blood flow problems 
  • Behavior changes 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Seizures
  • Trouble speaking

Warnings of Focalin and Adderall:

Warning of Focalin:

  • Abuse and dependence 
  • Serious or life-threatening heart problems 
  • Aggressive behavior and psychiatric problems 
  • Long-term growth suppression 
  • Circulation problems in the hands and feet

Warning of Adderall:

  • Misuse and dependence 
  • Serious heart problems
  • Aggressive behavior and psychosis 
  • Slowed growth in children 
  • Seizures 
  • Blood circulation problems 
  • Serotonin syndrome 
  • Drug interactions

Who should avoid Focalin and Adderall?

Focalin and Adderall are not good for everyone. People who should not take the focalin or Adderall  can include:

  • Anyone who is allergic to the medication or its active components
  • People who have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor in the past 14 days 
  • People with severe agitation or anxiety 
  • Those who have tics, Tourette’s syndrome, or a history of the disorder
  • People with heart disease or heart problems

Difference between Focalin and Adderall: 

  • The generic name of the focalin is dexmethylphenidate whereas the generic name of Adderall is amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.
  • Focalin medication uses for adults and children who are 6 years and older. And the Adderall medication is used for 3year children and adults. 
  • Both are long-term medications.


Focalin and Adderall are active options for treating ADHD. They both have a long-standing record of efficiency in managing ADHD symptoms, backed by numerous clinical trials proving they surpass placebo treatments. Sometimes these drugs are combined or switched depending on the patient’s response to treatment. The reaction of your body can be very different for both drugs and hence always concern a doctor before switching medications.

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