View Full Version : My Focalin XR experience so far

05-17-14, 12:53 PM
Recently, my psychiatrist prescribed 10 mg Focalin XR. I'm splitting it in half and taking one 5 mg in the morning around 6-7 a.m., and the other at noon. I'm currently on my fourth day.

I previously had tried Strattera (which worked wonderfully for me but with some nasty sexual side effects), and Wellbutrin (which just made my brain fog worse and sent me into mood swings).

So far, I can say that it *does* appear to be working, but the effects are somewhat subtle. It also appears to wear off fairly quickly for me. The first day, my doctor said I should skip the afternoon dose to see how long the effects of the morning one lasted. I'd say the effects on focus, motivation, and mental alertness (probably the three biggest ADHD issues for me, although I do have others) kicked in about an hour after taking it, and started wearing off shortly after noon, if not before.

The second day, when I took the second dose at noon I noticed a much more significant positive response, my guess because the doses were overlapping a bit. This started wearing off around 4:30 p.m. or so.

So far, I haven't had any issues with disruption in sleep or any other obvious adverse effects, which is great (well, perhaps a bit of restlessness as it starts to wear off)! Again, the only thing I don't like is that the positive effects seem to wear off too quickly (I'd really like to have the focus continue a bit longer into the evening!)

So, so far, so good, but I'm wondering if I could get a bit more consistent and longer duration of the effects with a higher dose. We'll see how it goes over the next 3 weeks before I run out and visit my psychiatrist again.

06-09-14, 07:44 PM
Just thought I'd follow up with a quick update and a correction.

I met with my psychiatrist today, and he bumped up my dose to 15 mg, with 10 mg to start the day, and another 5 around 2 p.m. If the 10 is too strong in the morning, I can split it into 3 doses of 5 mg per day.

Now for the correction: it turns out the form of the Focalin I was taking was the IR version, *not* the XR. I was confused when he said he was going to keep going with the short-acting version, upon which I said, "oh, I thought I was taking the extended release". He seemed puzzled and said that he was certain he prescribed the IR (I wouldn't have been able to split the XR version, which apparantly comes in capsules, not pills, and I had white pills). I figured the pharmacist must have mislabeled it. After filling my new prescription, and going home and checking the label on my old prescription, sure enough there wasn't an XR anywhere to be found. So, I have no idea why I thought it was XR; my leading theory is that I'm losing my mind!

At any rate, this explains why it seemed the medicine was wearing off too quickly: it's because it's supposed to!

06-24-14, 09:08 PM
Glad to see the forums are back up!

Another update. For the first few days after starting the 10 mg morning/5 mg afternoon schedule, everything was just peachy. I felt alert and full of energy and motivation. I suspect this was the euphoria period folks talk about when first starting a stimulant and/or changing the dose. Sure enough after a few days that feeling passed, though my focus was still improved over the 5/5 dosing.

Over the next week, however, I noticed some increasing issues with nervousness/anxiety that kicked in about 1 hour after the morning dose, lasting about 2 hours. Sometimes, it was enough to interfere with the positive effects, in that it made it more difficult to get started on a task, but once I did, I was able to focus much better on it, despite the nervousness. I didn't really experience the nervousness with the afternoon 5 mg, which leads me to believe that the 10 mg at once might just be a little too much.

However, I decided to stick with the 10/5 schedule for a bit longer to see if the nervousness would subside, and over the last few days, I can definitely say it has. Nevertheless, I still feel a little too stimulated with the 10 mg, so starting tomorrow I'm going to try the 5/5/5 schedule.

As for the positive benefits, I can honestly say that so far, I don't find them to be quite as good as Strattera, but they are still there. With Strattera, I had improved focus, mood, energy, and motivation (particularly for little, mundane chores that I would often neglect before). With the Focalin, at least so far, I have the increased alertness, removal of the "brain fog" that often plagued me before being diagnosed, and ability to stay focused on tasks Sometimes, though, I still want to get up and move around but I find an improved ability to check that impulse. With the Strattera it almost seemed as if that impulse was removed. Also, I don't get as much of the motivational boost as with the Strattera. In other words, it seems to be treating some of my ADD symptoms, but not all, or at least not as well.

Finally, Strattera was "always on", while with the Focalin I'm definitely experiencing more peaks and valleys (especially a crash of sorts right after lunch, which maybe is another sign that the 10 mg in the morning is too much).

I'm hoping that getting the right dosing schedule pinned down will help with some of these issues, but I'm considering asking my psychiatrist to let me try another stimulant from the amphetamine class. I don't want to make it sound like the Focalin isn't working; it is. I just can't help but wonder if something else might work better without some of the nervous side effects. On the plus side, I'm still not having trouble sleeping (well, at least from the medication; the recent nocturnal thunderstorms and my 11 month old have been keeping me up!), and I still haven't experienced any appetite suppression.

06-28-14, 05:12 PM
Well, it's been another 4 days, and I'm still trying to figure out if this is going to be the right medication for me. While the nervousness has decreased, I still have some of it (I found had to virtually eliminate caffeine from my diet to really bring this down). However, over the past few days I've felt like the positive benefits to my focus haven't been as strong, and I'm still having as much trouble as ever getting my thoughts organized and getting motivated. Yesterday I forgot a 2 p.m. meeting, even though I had a reminder set on my phone.

It just seems so inconsistent. On most days, I'll get maybe an hour or two where I'm feeling like everything is clicking (just enough to make me think it is still working!), followed immediately by another hour of nervousness/restlesness and occasionally lethargy. There doesn't seem to be any connection to whether I had a good night's sleep the night before or not. Some days, it seems to be working much better and more smoothly, despite no change in dosing schedule. It's frustrating, to say the least.

The good news is I see my psychiatrist on Monday, and I'm all but certain I'm going to ask him to switch me to something else if he doesn't offer to do so, after I report the above experience.

If anyone is reading this thread who has had experience with Focalin, what do you think? Does the above sound like a good reason to try something else?

07-16-14, 11:25 AM
I have been on Adderall XR, Vyvanse (3 weeks), and Adderall IR since diagnosed last May. I recently changed doctors and decided to give Focalin a try. He prescribed Focalin XR 20mg, which is the starting adult dose. My experience with it was horrible. It made me feel very drowsy, and lethargic. I stuck with it for 6 days to see if it was just my body getting used to a new medication. It's puzzling to me that a stimulant medication would make me drowsy.... :scratch:

07-16-14, 11:29 AM
Hi liquidlavalove,

I would recommend sticking with it for at least a couple weeks. I take it from your previous meds that they didn't work out so well?

I asked my psychiatrist 2 weeks ago if I could try something else from the amphetamine class, and he put me on Vyvanse. It's been much much better than the Focalin, and even the Strattera (which I started with).

If the stimulants aren't working out for you, perhaps you could try Strattera?

07-19-14, 12:55 PM
I have had really good results with Adderall XR. I'm actually back on it for the time being. Vyvanse seemed to work pretty good, I just didn't like how it took forever to kick in. The price was also a factor... $100 per month compared to $20.