View Full Version : Side Effects Compared to Methylphenidate?

01-11-08, 10:15 PM
I have heard that dexmethylphenidate is sometimes more efficacious than methylphenidate formulations as the d-isomer has less of a body load. I also believe I had read that some people are more sensitive to racemic methylphenidate and that this can be avoided by using only the dextro isomer. Unfortunately I can't remember where I found this information.

It would be nice if the latter statement was true, as all the documentation I could find contraindicated focalin for those sensitive to methylphenidate's effects or who got bad reactions to it. I feel terrible taking concerta (ritalin is even worse), and maybe get a few hours of focus before the side effects drown out any improvement. I have taken focalin a few times in the past and had great results, but those were isolated occurrences. I'd like to see if there is any basis for my theory that I would respond better to focalin with prescription use. I don't remember any of the same nasty effects that concerta gave me from focalin, but it was a long time ago I took it and perhaps my memory is misleading me or other variables played a role. Also I would want to have an idea if daily use would lead to return of concerta-like side effects, as opposed to singular occasional use.

Here are some relevant quotes from other forums.

From my buddy's experience, Dexmethylphenidate>Methylphenidate. Some people say the isolated D-isomer deal is no biggie and gives them the same effect as Methylphenidate, but then there are those like my good buddy. He discovered D-Methyl afterwards and realized a much smoother, cleaner, & less confusing rush.

From his experience: He snorted Ritalin for awhile and liked the high, except at high doses (80+mg). He would stare at a webpage and read paragraphs over and over, or try writing an email and just laugh 'cause he'd keep backspacing and forgetting where he was getting at. He hated the comedown ALOT. Sleeping/Eating 8-10 hours after a 40-60mg dose didn't come easy. The thought of food was too nauseating and even 50mg of diphenhydramine just makes for a night of toss-n-turn/30minsOfSleepHere'n'There.

Then he looked into D-Methyl and found it was supposedly more potent.

It is. It's also a more "focused"-type rush which has same effects as methyl like highly focused concentration BUT my buddy didn't get confused/sluggish/slow/grumpy on the comedown like methyl usually makes him. He just returns to baseline and all is well. If anything, he's in a somewhat better mood than usual.

-He has fun for a good 2-3 hours on a tweeked out high with one 40-60mg dose, walking around the apt doing random tasks.
-The comedown is more gentle.
-It fades away quicker and he is usually able to sleep/eat 6-7 hours after his last rail, albeit with the help of diphenhydramine.

He quite simply likes D-methyl much better. Screw Ritalin.Another one, though with no background information / history.

SWIM is now on 15mg of Focalin XR each day now (early morning) for ADD and uses 20-35mg as a supplemental amount for recreation (evening insufflation). SWIM enjoys very much, yes, definitely better than methylphenidate. (Thanks for the info, Hooda!) Sleep is possible after 4-5 hours. Food and water get skipped quite often unless SWIM remembers.This one is a bit more condensed and hard to read easily, but sounds promising.

ritalin makes swim sick, atleast after swims experience with focalin XR. that 1/2 potent and only being a d-isomer seems very misleading, and does it no justice. SWIM can't speak for regular focalin but focalin xr, when crushed is night and day compared to ritalin. Was it really the inactive isomers causing the harsh comedowns and zombie-depression ritalin gave? and the crap tolerence? Seems unlikely, but it got rid of the stomach aches. SWIM can sleep on focalin, and have a very gradual comedown. The high lasts what seems just as long as the XR taken normally. give or take an hour. SWIM likes to swallow 15mg and insuffulate 15 20 minutes later. Sometimes he doesn't even know he came down and can sleep, sometimes he'll take a klonopin. SWIM gets things done on focalin, without feeling depressed or like a zombie doing repetitive tasks. Ritalin made him depressed before and after. Focalin doesn't seem to create a negative sensation to external stimuli like ritalin did. He does what he wants, without feeling like a zombie. ISO, ritalin was just completely reformulated which happened to include making it more pure. SWIM didn't notice a static dosage change, 30mg of focalin SWIM would guess is like who knows, maybe 60, on a first dose. But the ridiculous tolerence of ritalin negates it all. SWIM can take 30 mg without raising a dosage, ritalin he had to up the dose constantly. Swim is only speaking from experience... his first doc gave him FocalinXR, he tried to take it regularly but it had to many ups and downs and didn't last nearly as long as advertised. So he had some fun with the beads. His next dr put him on Ritalin, and SWIM took his first dose, that lasted... an hour tops? then got depressed and had to take even more and couldn't focus on external stimuli he was just a zombie. SWIM took it back and even without insurance SWIM does not mind paying the ridiculous price of focalin XR. Swim does not know how fair it is to compare these two, but is just basing opinions on his experience. In the end swim enjoys his 4 or so hours of clarity. And pays the 140 instead of 40. SWIM may even be better off with AdderallXR, especially if it can be taken normally and last atleast 4-5 hours. without a harsh comedown. SWIM heard about adderall being better for adults.Not much else out there on people who got the 'zombie' side effects and/or headaches from methylphenidate yet found dexmethylphenidate to work well.

If anyone know of any studies on this topic or similar (I know the initial trials showed similar side effects profiles for Methylphenidate and Dexmethylphenidate, but would rather have more recent material) please let me know the titles so I can look for them.

Otherwise, if you have any experience with the two substances or can help in any way please post.

Edit: And I know all the above quotes seem to suggest recreational use (though it would appear that most had scripts), but I couldn't really find any other info on this specific topic.

Quotes from webmd and other drug rating sites... can't find much more than anecdotal information though, and even that was either without background info or ambiguous about side effects and/or reaction to other meds.

Adderall made her a complete zombie. Concerta & Metadate were only effective for a short period of time. Focalin XR has been the Godsend that finally actually worked, producing notificible positive results, without diminishing personality.After taking Focalin for the past year or so, I am just now realizing that it is to blame for my severe mood swings - msotly towards a very depressed, almsot sedated mood. I felt very anxious, sad, and self-concious while on it, and after reading teh allergic responses to it's main ingredient - Methyphenidate - I am clear now that my body does not react well with that chemical. I was even experiencing the other allergic reaction of small purple spots (like little bruises) whenever I was on Focalin. I highly, highly recommend Aderall XR - despite the minor insomnia, it is wonderful.Made me irritable. I've been taking Focalin for almost a year, and I cannot say enough good things about it. It's been a MIRACLE for me. Amphetamines and regular Ritalin were awful compared to this. I have my brain back! :) And I've never slept so well. I've had horrible sleep problems all my life and they've cleared up for the first time EVER with this drug. One thing I will tell y'all is that it works for what it works for... if you have co-existing disorders that the ADHD was masking, you will find that you REALLY need to deal with those, because PART of your problems have improved so much and you're no longer willing to live with the rest anymore. So get ready to change your life!:) This pill was the devil for me....By the second day taking it I was so ****ed off, anti-social and hated myself. It was the third day that I decided to give it back to my doc. It was horrible and did nothing for me.

Edit: Sorry if this post is getting a bit long or cluttered. Below is a snippet from the Drug Effectiveness Review Project report, which can be found here. ( There haven't been many studies on d-methylphenidate at all it seems, so anecdotal will be the best I can do.

"Rates of overall adverse events were comparable for d-MPH ER compared to placebo in both the 2-week (28.3% vs. 22.2%) and 7-week (75.5% vs. 57.4%) trials. The most frequently reported adverse events were typical of stimulant products and were generally comparable between d-MPH ER and placebo. These included decreased appetite, anorexia, upper abdominal pain, fatigue, insomnia, headache, and nausea. The only occasion for which rates of a specific adverse event were statistically significantly higher in patients taking d-MPH ER compared to placebo was for decreased appetite in the 7-week trial (30.2% vs. 8.5%; p<0.0068)."
(In comparison to methylphenidate SR)

01-12-08, 04:36 PM
The first several anecdotal reports you quoted do not represent therapeutic use.

My own experience with Concerta was a one week trial in which the body stimulation bothered me. I do not remember much more than this, other than that it was mildly helpful for concentration, but the dose was probably not right. I believe I was on the lowest dose of Concerta. I suggested that perhaps Focalin XR would be more right for me because it is supposed to be more gentle.

My doctor prescribed me Focalin XR at 10mg. I used it for almost two weeks and found it slightly helpful but the come-down made me rather depressed. I've since tried it again for another five days. It has been at times very helpful but way too short acting. Again, the come-down is weird, nervous and somewhat depressing. The heart palpitations and muscle activation are too much to handle and have caused bad insomnia. It is unfortunate because when it worked, it really worked well and showed me the potential of stimulant therapy.

01-12-08, 07:37 PM
I have heard that dexmethylphenidate is sometimes more efficacious than methylphenidate formulations as the d-isomer has less of a body load.
That's exactly how it was for me. I highly recommend it.

I found Focalin to be a much more therapeutic medication than any other form of methylphenidate that I had ever tried, and I have tried all of the other forms available (including generics) except for Daytrana.

The biggest problem with Focalin was the very high price. There is a pharmaceutical company named Teva which manufactures a generic, but since they are the only one making a generic for it they are able to charge almost the same price as the brand name Focalin. For example, I was quote a price of $250.00 for 200 of the Focalin IR 10mg tablets. The price I was quoted for an equal amount of the Teva generic was $230.00. Considering that I can get a months worth of generic Dexedrine for $64.00 made it a no brainer for me.

Fortunately for us, Teva will only be allowed a window of six months as the sole company allowed to make that generic. After that time is up (which it may be by now) the FDA will allow other companies to manufacture their own generic version of dexmethylphenidate, and when that happens the price should be much more reasonable.

One of these days I would like to find out how & why the first company to make a generic drug is actually chosen by the FDA, because I would be willing to bet that every company that manufactures generic drugs would love to be chosen for that initial six month window of manufacture without having any real competition for their product.

01-12-08, 08:45 PM
This would be the next stimulant I try if and when I'm ever given the chance. Right now my Ritalin continuance is based on my following my psych's orders to a T, which I have difficulty with as he prescribes **** off the top of his head.

01-13-08, 08:36 PM
Tried the XR this time at 5mg and it's remarkably free of side effects at this dose; no palpitations to speak of. It made me feel euphoric for the first few hours and then gently dropped me down. Relative to the euphoria the come down is kind of a downer, but this is acceptable at the 5mg and my mood is reactive to good things, and I'm feeling good right now so maybe it comes in waves as another thread claims.

I like what someone wrote about Desoxyn, and Lars supports this above, that you're not constantly in the zone like with Adderall or some others, but rather you have more control over what you focus in on and can shift it around fairly well. I found myself to be incredibly social and I had the best time with my little nephew and neice building paper airplanes and paper houses and paper air plane fights -- it was really incredibly social and my anxiety disappeared because I could keep up and entertain!

01-14-08, 01:38 AM
I don't mean to encourage recreational use of Focalin in the above post -- but matter of fact is that's what it does to me. Like I said, the low dose was fairly smooth on my body. I have no idea how it compares with focus because I didn't do any studying on it. Good luck.

01-14-08, 02:20 AM
It's perfectly OK to discuss euphoria here like you did. I knew that you were not talking about recreational use, or I would have likely mentioned it already.

As I'm sure you're aware, euphoria is a common side effect of many medications like narcotic pain pills, some sleeping medications, some anti-anxiety medications, prescription stimulants, etc.

I'm not trying to say that everyone experiences euphoria from these drugs, but it is a fairly common side effect.