View Full Version : Ritalin to Focalin


APSJ
04-11-13, 02:45 PM
So, after close to twenty years off and on taking immediate release methylphenidate, I've decided to try dexmethylphenidate (Focalin) on the chance that it will have fewer side effects or provide better symptom control.

I've been taking 15 mg of ritalin four times a day, at two hour intervals (60 mg total), and will now be taking 5 mg of focalin four times a day (total 20 mg).

Can anyone provide any insight into what I should expect, and in particular, how the duration of action/timing may differ from ritalin? Should I space them farther apart? closer together?

Abi
04-11-13, 03:01 PM
good luck with this.

APSJ
05-07-13, 07:44 PM
Since there aren't that many threads in this section, I thought I'd give an update on my experience with Focalin (actually, generic dexmethylphenidate, but I'll keep saying Focalin because it's easier to type) in case it proves helpful to others.

While it's only been about a month, and thus it's too early to make any definite decision on this, I think it's been long enough to give some initial impressions.

The most significant is that 5 mg of Focalin seems to be about as effective as 15 mg of Ritalin was, despite being equivalent, as I understand it, to only 10 mg of Ritalin. I tried relatively recently reducing my Ritalin dose to 10 mg, and it was not effective enough, so I was concerned the 5 mg of Focalin wouldn't be either.

The first week I started, I had to sit through a painful boring meeting, and actually seemed to be able to deal with it better than I usually am. I've had one more such meeting, which also was easier, but I'm not yet convinced it's not the novelty of considering how I'm handling the new medication that's making it seem easier.

I've also experienced less severe side effects compared to Ritalin. In some respects, it seems comparable to what I've experienced when I've tried lowering my Ritalin doses to 10 mg, which makes sense. In particular, it suppresses my appetite much like Ritalin, but a little less than I experienced on 15 mg doses of Ritalin.

I also feel like I tend not to be so prone to negative hyperfocus/perseveration with the Focalin. When someone asks me a question while I'm writing a report, I'm able to turn my attention away and answer much more readily.

I also feel like some of the physical/subjective stimulation I experienced with Ritalin isn't there. While I didn't get feelings of euphoria from Ritalin on any dose, I could always feel it take effect from this discernible 'lift', and tell when it was wearing off from an unpleasant 'crash'. I don't notice any such lift with Focalin. I used to have significant issues with depression, which included major issues with motivating myself to do things like actually go to school/work. It occurs to me that if I were still experiencing such issues, I might find Focalin significantly less effective than Ritalin due to the absence of this lift.

On the other hand, and really most significantly for me at this time, while I don't experience any feeling of 'lift' from it, I also have not as of yet experienced any crash when it wears off, which I very frequently did with Ritalin.

Ultimately, the appetite suppression and the crash were the reasons I opted to try Focalin, and so far it's one for two. Barring significant changes, I'm planning to stay on it.

ana futura
05-07-13, 09:13 PM
Your experience aligns closely with mine. I also find focalin 3x as potent- yet it's also less noticeable than other meds.

I also experience no lift and no crash. I would get HORRIBLY depressed when ritalin wore off.

The thing I like best about focalin is that it truly lets me feel like myself. I can pay attention to conversations and listen to people if I want to, but I don't feel like something is preventing me from speaking or controlling my behavior, which happens on all other ADHD meds.

How is your dosing?

APSJ
05-08-13, 07:50 AM
How is your dosing?

I've stuck with the 5 mg four times a day (every two hours) for a total of 20 mg a day. My psychiatrist basically started me on the top recommended dose since that's what I took for Ritalin, and it seems to work fine. I haven't noticed any difference from Ritalin in duration of effect, which is a relief as experimenting to find the timing where I didn't end up with doses overlapping or wearing off would have been awful.

coolata
05-09-13, 04:00 PM
I am a late 20's male FWIW.
Was on 10mg MPH for half a year.. 10mg x 3
Then was on 5mg Focalin for a year 5mg x 4
Then was on vyvanse / dex for half a year
Now I am switching back to good ol Focalin (dMPH) because I really am sick of the horrible side effects that amphetamine brings.

Focalin is great. It is like all of the pros of Ritalin without any of the cons. Ritalin might be a LITTLE bit more motivating... but that being said not nearly enough to warrent ever taking it over Focalin.

I too find that 5mg focalin is similar to say... 12-13mg Ritalin. Probably has to do with first pass metabolism of the compound and absorption rates. This is not accounted for when physicians do the drug conversion.

I am currently on the IR Focalin tablets (left over from a previous RX) and am waiting for my doc to mail me a RX of Focalin XR 15mg. I find for me personally, 7.5mg of Focalin works the best so in theory a Focalin XR 15mg should do the trick. Will report back when I get it.

Sorry for the rant.

TL;DR
Focalin > Ritalin. Good Choice switching. I will let you know what I think of the XR version when I finally try it.

known_guy
05-12-13, 05:11 PM
Thank you for this thread, I've been considering a switch from Ritalin SR to some Focalin preparation for some time now. What, if any, companies manufacture a generic form? I'm generally picky about that... if memory serves me right, this may be why I never (in the past) followed up on this possible medication change.

ana futura
05-12-13, 05:34 PM
My IR is made by Teva and I'm happy with it.

I think the XR is still under patent, so no generics available.

APSJ
05-12-13, 06:42 PM
MY IR is Teva as well, and I think they may be the only ones making the generic at this time...

coolata
05-13-13, 07:35 PM
For me, I find the 10mg pills (white) to be higher quality than the 5mg pills (yellow). I feel like when I split at 10mg in half, it feels stronger, and lasts around 30minutes longer than if I just take a normally 5mg tablet. Weird? Not really sure why this is.

I suppose it could be placebo but I am usually pretty good about things like this.

Does anyone else feel this way?

G252013
05-13-13, 07:42 PM
For me, I find the 10mg pills (white) to be higher quality than the 5mg pills (yellow). I feel like when I split at 10mg in half, it feels stronger, and lasts around 30minutes longer than if I just take a normally 5mg tablet. Weird? Not really sure why this is.

I suppose it could be placebo but I am usually pretty good about things like this.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Yeah its always better to go with the 10MG (white). Elimination of the dye thats in the 5MG (yellow) and 2.5MG (blue) is one less variable to contribute to issues

known_guy
05-14-13, 09:43 PM
Unfortunately in the past, I've had a negative experience from every Teva/Barr generic I've tried... and trust me, I've tried over 30 different (yikes) psychotropic medications in my lifetime, and several of these got filled with the Teva/Barr generic. I'm never willing to take a chance again. :P My doctor wrote me a new script for Dexedrine SR (since I tried Barr last time - getting CorePharma this time around to see if this actually helps).

ana futura
05-15-13, 01:00 AM
Focalin XR usually has awesome coupons. Sometimes you can get your first year free. It's worth a shot, just to see if you like it. I think everyone should try focalin for a little bit- it's a really unique med.

wills11
05-15-13, 03:21 PM
Focalin XR usually has awesome coupons. Sometimes you can get your first year free.

Where do you get these? My psych usually gives me coupons or samplers that cover at least the first month, but I got nothing for this one. I just started it today.

It was like $55 USD

G252013
05-15-13, 03:57 PM
$55 is a good price for XR

ana futura
05-15-13, 04:57 PM
Where do you get these? My psych usually gives me coupons or samplers that cover at least the first month, but I got nothing for this one. I just started it today.

It was like $55 USD


Go to focalin's website (just google focalin XR) and click on "savings"

coolata
05-16-13, 09:35 AM
Very weird. Just got the XR script filled (free thanks to the coupon!). Anyways it is a XR 15 which according to my doc should in theory be the equivalent of taking a IR 7.5 and anyone a few hours later a second 7.5.

I barely feel anything. Can't focus, have a very week threshold effect. Feels like I took 2.5mg ir if not weaker? Wtf?

Just took 2.5 ir and now it feels like I took 5mg instant release (if you can follow that lol). What gives? Maybe tomorrow I'll try taking two capsules and see how 30mg goes. anyone have any dosing advice?

livewire
05-16-13, 10:24 AM
I take 30 mg. XR twice a day. I experienced the same thing you are when I switched from IR to XR. 30 mg. lasts me from 6:00 am to around 1-2 p.m. so that's why I take it 2x/day. I started on 15 mg. when I switched to the XR and 7.5 mg delivered in two increments wasn't cuttin' it for me.

coolata
05-17-13, 09:10 AM
Talked to my doc via email yesterday. He told me to try 1.5 of the 15mg XRs and if that doesnt work try two of them. Took 1.5 today (or what seems to be 1.5? I could have taken anywhere from 20-25mg cant really tell) and it works MUCH better than the 15mg XR does. Will do this again tomorrow before trying 2 capsules to see what works best.

Overall this is much 'smoother' than the IR focalins I am so used to. Pretty sure I like it better. No rush at all like you get during the first 20 minutes after ingesting a IR tablet either. Just straight focus and drive. Very good stuff.

Really prefer d-MPH to dl-MPH. No side effects, significantly less anxiety on this than I do on Concerta.

coolata
05-19-13, 05:17 PM
Talked to my doc via email yesterday. He told me to try 1.5 of the 15mg XRs and if that doesnt work try two of them. Took 1.5 today (or what seems to be 1.5? I could have taken anywhere from 20-25mg cant really tell) and it works MUCH better than the 15mg XR does. Will do this again tomorrow before trying 2 capsules to see what works best.

Overall this is much 'smoother' than the IR focalins I am so used to. Pretty sure I like it better. No rush at all like you get during the first 20 minutes after ingesting a IR tablet either. Just straight focus and drive. Very good stuff.

Really prefer d-MPH to dl-MPH. No side effects, significantly less anxiety on this than I do on Concerta.

EDIT:

Rather than just writing new posts ill update this one.

30mg XR works fine for me. Only problem is it doesnt last long enough at all. Maybe 4 hours? 5 hours tops?

I will update in a couple of days.. If this continues I dont really see myself staying on this med. Cant believe my system devours a XR tablet in 4 hours? I guess I will either switch back to the IR tablets or do a mix of concerta and the IR tablets. Will report back at the end of this week.

livewire
05-19-13, 11:40 PM
I mentioned this in an earlier post on this thread but I take two 30 mg. a day. One in the a.m. and another at 1:00 or so. It works like a charm - I metabolize the stuff like a cat on crack. Lasts 6 hours for me. Luckily my p-doc understands this and has no qualms whatsoever prescribing two 30mg. Focalin XR for me a day.

Be prepared to get comments like "OMG!!! You take 60 mg. of this a day?!" like you are some kind of meth addict for cryin' out loud. :eyebrow:

Good luck and hang tough!!!

coolata
05-20-13, 10:24 AM
The only problem with taking 60mg / day is that my insurance does not cover over 30 pills / month, which means that I would have to pay out of pocket for 30 pills , which I do not have the $$ to do.

My choices for next month will most likely be (I have a real good relationship with my doc.. he knows I dont abuse meds so within reason I get to pick what I get):

30x Focalin XR 30mg and 60x 5mg IR tablets
120x 5mg Focalin IR tablets (4x / day)
30x Concerta 54mg 30x 5mg Focalin IR

Honestly I will most probably pick the Concerta. While it does have more side effects than IR focalin, one tablet lasts me from 8am-4:30pm most days. I hate taking multiple pills at work (I am a late 20's male btw) because I feel sketchy doing it infront of my peers. Usually I can counteract the side effects of concerta (essentially it gives me a bad crash) with either taking a 5mg focalin or having a strong cofee.

I cannot believe that Novartis would release a XR medicine that lasts only 4 hours. While I get good focus for those 4 hours, I crash hard and am really not capable of doing anything unless I take more.... I just dont see the XR form of this med being sustainable for me.

What is so odd is that I LOVE IR Focalin. It is the best IR med I have tried for me (have tried them all... ritalin, dexedrine, adderall). It would have been so much better if Novartis put it in the same osmotic pump format that Concerta has, so the drug can actually last the entire day.