View Full Version : Switching from Adderall to Focalin for the First Time Today!


MedStudent82
05-19-11, 06:24 PM
I was started on Adderall 10 mg, 2X day three weeks ago after I was professionally diagnosed with adult ADHD (I'm a 29 yo male). Adderall made me incredibly calm, normal, and focused, but my one side-effect was decreased cognitive function (processing/critical thinking was hard) as well as the inability to multitask. I saw my psychiatrist today for the first time today since three weeks ago and he said the 25% of Adderall which is L-amphetamine produces the focus effect and the other 75% of Adderall is D-amphetamine, which makes you alert. He switched me to Focalin (which is like Ritalin), and Focalin has 100% D-methylphenidate, which is comparable to the 100% D-amphetamine part of Adderall (which also is available, but is marketed as Dexedrine). We seemed pleased with Adderall sans the one big side-effect of mental slugishness. He prescribed me Focalin instead of Dexedrine anyway.

I just tried Focalin about an hour and a half ago. It has kicked in. I feel normal, remarkably calm, and great just as I was on Adderall, but NOW I CAN THINK 100%%%%!!!!!

I don't feel like I'm stuck in the "zoomed-in"/tunnel-vision effect Adderall gave me where I wasn't able to write emails/text fast. I used to just stare and be fixated on something forever and do it slower. Now I am fixated but can think broadly and not feel cornered-in. I feel a lot less impulsive than my normal self right now, so maybe I can re-gain my day-to-day focus based on that alone instead of the 25% L-amphetamine component of a stimulant. Excited! Experiment in progress!

BR549
05-19-11, 06:40 PM
Glad to hear it's working! I'm curious though, as to why your doc didn't just switch you to Dexedrine? Not that it matters, but I'm curious as to his reasoning.

I hope it's the "one" for you :)

tambourine-man
05-20-11, 01:30 AM
Here's why the doc didn't prescribe Dexedrine:

Public Response to Dexedrine: "Oh, isn't that a horse tranquilizer?" "No, it is a pep pill. I think my aunt got strung out on those and ended up in the hospital!" "It is pure meth! Evil!" "Dexedrine causes global warming!" "Jews didn't kill Jesus, that Dexedrine did!"

Public Response to Focalin: ... Crickets chirping... ...Pin drop... What's a Focalin? This is boring. Every time you pop a Dexedrine a puppy dies!

jennsation
05-20-11, 11:18 AM
Glad it's working for you! I am starting Focalin tomorrow (would've started today but had to get to work before the pharmacy opened this morning...) after two weeks of Vyvanse just wasn't the one for me.

Hope your success continues! :)

tambourine-man
05-20-11, 11:53 AM
Ooh, please update us jennsations. This is the one methylphenidate med I'd be interested in trying if my current regimen poops out. How's it going for you? I really have no idea how Focalin will effect creativity and personality but it seems I need levo-amphetamine to keep those intact. Give me an update. Describe your appointment. I've taken a vested interest in your progress.

MedStudent82
05-20-11, 02:15 PM
Tambourine-Man, too funny about the Dexedrine question BR549 brought up, yo. I realize now that I might have seemed like I was a drug chaser to my doctor yesterday, since I actually called his office and asked if he meant to prescribe dexedrine instead of focalin (ay). But whatever, honest mistake on my part. I'd rather have been thorough and not gone 2 weeks on the wrong med than not said anything at all (even though I didn't know dexedrine is such a touchy subject/med with psychiatrists. I'm not privy to the etch-a-sketch underworld of ADHD drug abuse.

In my session he said the mental slugishness I was getting with Adderall was very atypical. (And Tamb-man I fully understand that adderall slows your thought processes out, which I appreciated while I was on it to an extent, but my symptom was far beyond this -- it took me FOR-EVER to write emails/texts and my grammar was bad (usually I'm a grammar freak, homey don't play that). At work I was focused on lectures/powerpoint presentations in lab, but I couldn't follow them through their reasoning with charts/graphs/talk points very well. It was frustrating to say the least. I was also socially awkward (very blunt, the tact filters were gone) and I'd reach for words a lot (what's the word... oh yeah, "convenient"). I'd spend hours on reading material on Adderall and comb it slowly and thoughtfully instead of reading the same thing over & over again like my normal ADHD self, but by the end of the hours' period I'd have little overall accomplished.

So in my session, he went into the enantiomer ratio in Adderall and said he's like to focus on the Dextro enantiomer of Adderall since the L-amphetamine portion was probably giving me my "20 point drop in IQ" side-effect. As he said this I faintly remembered researching Adderall the past 3 weeks and that Dexedrine was the D-amphetamine enantiomer in Adderall. Yet he slid right into prescribing me focalin instead. An hour after I left I looked up Focalin and saw it wasn't D-amphetamine, but was D-methylphenidate. I re-read that Dexedrine was 100% D-amphetamine and I was like, "Did he mean to prescribe Dexedrine instead"? Ruh-roh. I went back and forth in my mind whether I should bring this up to him and call his office about that or not only b/c the past 3 weeks I had to wait to see him and the Adderall was my first ADHD medication I ever took and drove me crazy with the side-effect and I didn't want to go another 2 weeks on another derailment (We're trying to get to the best med/dosage before med school starts in the Fall). Now I read your posts about dexedrine and how the non-legit ADHD peeps abuse it and now I realize how I might have sounded. Oops.

Btw, I read your post about how Adderall makes you feel like the quality of thought is better and that your cognitive processing speed etc. wasn't compromised, and that's awesome. I was slower on it, like, past the usual "time-warp" relative effect Adderall has on people usually. I also lost all creativity on it, unlike you. So we have some pretty basic differences in responsiveness to Adderall. I'm curious, though: you said you measured your rate of thinking both on and off Adderall. What did you do to measure?

I do have to say though, that on Adderall I felt more of a "push" to do stuff compared to what I'm feeling today on Focalin. But I'm amazingly focused today anyway. I feel like I was on Adderall, but can think more clearly. It's weird and I can't really articulate it yet. Still sorting how I feel/think out today.

So far day 2 is great (sans nausea a little which is kinda fa-reakin' me out a lil'). Hopefully that goes away in a few days.

tambourine-man
05-20-11, 02:35 PM
Vyvanse may be a better fit for you as it is basically Dexedrine XR, minus the etch-a-sketch-ADHD-drug abuse-underworld stigma, lol, very creative, must be the Focalin, ;). But if Focalin works stick with it.
I just used timed automatic essay writing excercises on and off Adderall to measure cognitive speed. Being automatic writing, both sessions were rather informal, though I did stick to a specified subject. However, my handwriting on Adderall was much easier to make out and the content of my writing was more creative and focused. Off Adderall I used WAY more words to say way less.
Funny how different people have such drastically different reactions.

jennsation
05-20-11, 03:54 PM
I will be in trouble if the Focalin "numbs" my creativity...hoping that won't be the case. We shall see, I guess!

Shanonanon
05-20-11, 03:56 PM
I will be in trouble if the Focalin "numbs" my creativity...hoping that won't be the case. We shall see, I guess!

I think you'll be good, cause I took it before and my creativity was through the roof!!

tambourine-man
05-21-11, 11:54 AM
So how is the Focalin? Pros? Cons? You rarely hear much about this one.

jennsation
05-21-11, 10:55 PM
I had a 5 mg this morning...felt okay throughout the morning. Was very busy today and was able to get done what I needed to get done. EXHAUSTED this afternoon (which was one of my main issues with the Vyvanse...it crapped out on me by 2 pm and I literally had to fight off sleep for hours until I could actually go to bed.) but after a couple hours that went away, so I'd say "so far, so good". The real test will be Monday when I go back to work. **fingers crossed**

tambourine-man
05-22-11, 01:55 AM
Are you on Focalin XR? You will probably get an even shorter duration from it and if that is the case you should just go with IR meds. So much easier.

MedStudent82
05-22-11, 02:08 PM
My jury is still out. I'm going to comment pros/cons when I've had enough days under my belt on it. But I do know that starting ADHD meds for only 3 weeks now, sliding them around, and finding the right fit is DEFINITELY exhausting. I read Tambourine-Man's post about finding the right combination, to not give up, and that the journey to find the right one is well worth it. God I hope so. Yesterday I took a holiday from everything. And it was rough. Thank God for Preakness parties. And for this forum.

Pizz-eace 4 now!

BalanceisKey
05-29-11, 11:44 PM
i gave the best speech ive eve3r given on focalin........without any notes. I damn near would have panic attacks when doing a speech on adderall

MedStudent82
06-03-11, 11:04 AM
Just an update: I switched to Ritalin today. I'm on that forum now. Thanks to you all for sharing/posting on this thread for me!