View Full Version : First Work Week with Focalin


Jibber
02-14-08, 09:00 PM
So, I started Focalin last Friday (for the second time - long story and it was only 3 days the first time). I had Friday off, so I took it to see how I felt. Calm would describe it with a WHOLE lot of energy (house is very, very clean).

Monday morning I took my Focalin and drank a big cup of coffee (don't drink coffee on the weekends). BAD, BAD, BAD idea. I was so sped up that I was flying all over the office doing things until about noon when the coffee wore off. Had an interview in the early afternoon and was very afraid I was going to talk them do death. I stayed on topic for a change, but I''m quite sure they could not write down all that I was saying (it was a phone interview).

So, here's what I've notice so far. First, jaw clenching. Can't make it stop and it leads to headaches. Dry mouth - drink tons of water/soda. Soda doesn't help at ALL. Need to stop that. More focus and more drive, but for the first couple of days it felt very 'dirty'. I don't know how else to explain it.

Next, it seems to wear off about 6PM and I feel like I've run a freakin' marathon. I am so exhausted by the time I get home (I get off of work at 6) that I am almost a zombie.

Two questions come to mind here:
1. Will I get more used to the meds in time? ie the dirty feeling and the jaw clenching?
2. What can I do when I crash in the afternoon (drink a cup of coffee - heh)? It makes me worthless when I get home.

This is the first ADD med I've taken, and it is very strange. Calm but very, very energetic and focused. The pdoc wasn't sure of the ADD (definately BP), but since it calms me it would lead me to believe that I need to continue to take it.

Any input here?

thanks!
-Jibber

The D
02-15-08, 09:32 PM
I too am on my second day of Focalin and can relate to the feeling of being calm, but VERY energetic. And I too seem to crash at about 6. Today I noticed when the XR is wearing off, I became REALLY irritable. It passed, but man for a second there I wanted to punch a hole in the wall, which is not like me at all. Not sure what to expect, but I am only on the 10mg right now. Will be stepping up in a day or two. Good luck and keep us posted on how you are doing. I'm not sure if I feel better or not?

Jibber
02-16-08, 01:40 AM
It seems to be getting better every day. I no longer feel the 'dirty' feeling and I haven't had coffee this week since the monday incident. I still crash around 6 (which is about the time I get off of work). I just want to find a solution to getting home and wanting to do nothing but sit down at the computer and really do nothing . .. I'll talk to my pdoc and see if he has a solution.

I am only on 10mg as well . ..

Jibber
02-19-08, 02:47 AM
OK, I can't take the crashing part at around 6PM - I'm a freakin' zombie when I crash and nothing gets done (I mean nothing - back to old times) when I crash. I started opening the capsules and halving them so its 5mg at around 6. That seems perfect. I haven't talked to my pdoc about it, but intend to call him tomorrow and tell him what I'm up to.

He initially prescribed me 10mg 2x (this was to keep the cost down) daily but I only got 30 doses. I guess thats an insurance thing? At any rate, I intend to call tomorrow and see what he thinks and come up with a plan.

P.S. Is there a generic focalin???

WithoutaPlan
02-20-08, 11:03 AM
There is a generic available but only in the IR formula. I'm not sure about the costs or anything as I believe I've read here that there is currently only one manufacturer providing the generic alternative.

I'm also starting a trial of Focalin XR. I am taking 20 mg in the AM. I'm on day 2 and so far, I think Adderall does more for me. I don't have any of the energy, jaw clenching, dry mouth, etc that y'all have reported but I did experience a major crash in the evening accompanied by feeling sad and depressed. In fact, this morning I overslept and could have kept right on sleeping for a lot longer. Focalin is not giving me any energy - the "energy" aspect for me is simply anxiety. Rather than dry mouth, I'm getting weird feeling dry lips. Adderall gave me a dry mouth but my lips were fine.

I'd like to hear your opinion as you continue your trial with Focalin. I'm going to give this a couple of weeks but at this point, I think I'm going back to Adderall as I only have the choices of Focalin XR, Adderall XR, or Straterra and I have no desire to try Straterra. I think my psych must be hooked into the brand-name kickback programs or something as straight old dextroamphetamine sulfate isn't something he'll even let me consider.

Jibber
02-20-08, 11:15 AM
I'm on my second week of Focalin XR (just 10mg). I take it about 730AM and also crash really hard around 6PM. I also get dry lips and little bit of jaw clenching. I started halving the capsules at around 6pm and taking 5mg. It seems to work and doesn't affect my sleep. I did this without Pdoc consultation, but I did call him and left a message. I've not heard back from him. this is the first ADD med I've taken and its very strange as I can just fall asleep. I would think it would be opposite . . .

The D
02-21-08, 06:18 PM
I have been on it for about a week now and the first couple of days was great. Lots of energy and focused. Actually wanted to go to work, etc. Now it is just giving me a ton of anxiety and I think I have to stop taking it. It has been freaking me out the last couple of days. I am newly diagnosed too, so this is all I have tried so far.

WithoutaPlan
02-29-08, 03:07 PM
Yes "The D", that sounds like my trial with Focalin XR. The first few days were very promising. However, into the end of the first week, I noticed anxiety, fidgeting, and restlessness. One issue I've dealt with for my entire life is impulsively interjecting into meetings and conversations in which I feel I've got the answer. It's a lot like the kids do in class when asked to raise your hand if you have the answer and the kid sticks both hands up and keeps yelling "ME ME ME!". Adderall controls that impulse and energy/anxiety welling up in my chest but Focalin seems to exacerbate that energy. Also, my toes were constantly moving.

Overall, though, I would give Focalin XR a thumbs up for providing solid, directed focus, and attentiveness to the task at hand. Also, when it was finished, it was finished. I crashed hard and slept hard every night but I woke up after 8 hours wanting to keep on sleeping. I didn't feel hung over or drugged but felt plain tired as if I'd had a hard workout the day before.

My wife reported within a few days that she didn't like the effects of Focalin as she believed that I was depressed. In reality, by the time I got home at 6:00 PM, I was just plain tired and the medication had no effect left. I believe that the increased anxiety and restlessness probably caused me to be just as short-tempered and snappy as my normal state. Maybe it even enhanced my short fuse some.

I think Focalin helped in focusing but just didn't control the distractibility and impulsivity as well as Adderall does. Adderall makes me (at least on the outside) calm and in control.

The D
02-29-08, 04:41 PM
Yeah I hear ya. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown on that stuff! I have since switched to Vyvanse and it seems to be working well for me so far. I have been on it for about 5 days and it really is calming me down quite a bit, which is not something I have felt for years really. It is also making me want to talk with people instead of just run and hide. So far so good. I am of course afraid to step up in my does as my Pdoc suggested I do after the first few days. I think I will here soon though.

Matt S.
02-29-08, 04:50 PM
I feel like a machine on focalin compared to dexedrine when it comes to motivation.

Jibber
03-01-08, 12:12 AM
Yes "The D", that sounds like my trial with Focalin XR. The first few days were very promising. However, into the end of the first week, I noticed anxiety, fidgeting, and restlessness. One issue I've dealt with for my entire life is impulsively interjecting into meetings and conversations in which I feel I've got the answer. It's a lot like the kids do in class when asked to raise your hand if you have the answer and the kid sticks both hands up and keeps yelling "ME ME ME!". Adderall controls that impulse and energy/anxiety welling up in my chest but Focalin seems to exacerbate that energy. Also, my toes were constantly moving.

Overall, though, I would give Focalin XR a thumbs up for providing solid, directed focus, and attentiveness to the task at hand. Also, when it was finished, it was finished. I crashed hard and slept hard every night but I woke up after 8 hours wanting to keep on sleeping. I didn't feel hung over or drugged but felt plain tired as if I'd had a hard workout the day before.

My wife reported within a few days that she didn't like the effects of Focalin as she believed that I was depressed. In reality, by the time I got home at 6:00 PM, I was just plain tired and the medication had no effect left. I believe that the increased anxiety and restlessness probably caused me to be just as short-tempered and snappy as my normal state. Maybe it even enhanced my short fuse some.

I think Focalin helped in focusing but just didn't control the distractibility and impulsivity as well as Adderall does. Adderall makes me (at least on the outside) calm and in control.

Hrmm, focalin is my first ADD med and I feel exactly the same way. I can focus (and have no anxiety really), but am very figity and can't sit still. More than before which was bad enough.

One issue I've dealt with for my entire life is impulsively interjecting into meetings and conversations in which I feel I've got the answer. It's a lot like the kids do in class when asked to raise your hand if you have the answer and the kid sticks both hands up and keeps yelling "ME ME ME!".

I interject more than I used to, which was a lot. I always finish peoples sentenced because I know what they are going to say and I feel like they are wasting my time. This has gotten worse as well as my interrupting folks.

Think I should talk to the Pdoc about it? Just go a script filled and it cost me like 60 bucks - with insurance so I'm hesitant just to throw it out.

One thing I do about the 6 O'clock crash (i've talked about it in other posts) is open the capsule and split it. I throw half in my mouth and gulp it down and leave the other half in the capsule for the next day. Pdoc is OK with this.

I keep hearing good things about adderall (most people prefer it over the rest from what I've seen on here) and maybe I should ask him to try it.

Any thoughts there???

WithoutaPlan
03-04-08, 10:45 AM
I would talk to the doctor about the impulsive interuptions as this seems to be a common issue with adult ADHD patients.

From what I've read so far, it seems as adult inattentives generally respond better to the amphetamine family of stimulants over the methylphenidate family. I'm relatively new to all this but personally, I seem to do better with Adderall. I had tried Ritalin back in the early 80's recreationally and found that I couldn't tolerate the edgy, jittery, "I think I took too many No-Doz" kind of feeling. I tried a therapeutic dose - not some massive amount. Focalin XR is much, much better than the racemic varieties of methylphenidate for me and I will still consider it as an alternative if for some reason over time I need to switch meds.

I would definitely ask to try Adderall as you've given the Focalin XR a fair trial at a couple of weeks. However, be forewarned that Adderall does have some side effects in the first week or so that may diminish over time. At least those side effects have become tolerable for me. Adderall contains a racemic amphetamine salt in addition to the d-amphetamine salts so it is more adrenergic and therefore causes more peripheral stimulation. However, if you can establish the correct dose for you, the positive effects will be that in addition to getting focus like you do with Focalin, you get a more calm and controlled state overall and for me, I can THINK about what I'm going to say before I say it. It also seems to make me more patient. On the downside of that, though, I can go into a zombie-stare state easily. My experience is that getting the right dosage makes the difference between calm, controlled, and focused or sitting and staring at my desk. Also, with Adderall, I get around 10 hours of good effectiveness with a more gradual let down from the medicine.

I would also consider Vyvanse as it is the d-amphetamine isomer in a "prodrug" preparation that must be taken orally in order to convert the prodrug into d-amphetamine in the digestive tract when it interacts with lysine. From this message board, it seems most people get a good 10-12 hours with Vyvanse. D-amphetamine seems to be more dopaminergic in its effects so it has less of the useless stimulation of Adderall and more of the focus-oriented stimulation. Unfortunately, my pdoc will only prescribe those drugs that are FDA-approved for adults and only those in the long-acting forms.

jatw618
03-04-08, 06:49 PM
Two questions come to mind here:
1. Will I get more used to the meds in time? ie the dirty feeling and the jaw clenching?
2. What can I do when I crash in the afternoon (drink a cup of coffee - heh)? It makes me worthless when I get home.

-Jibber


Hi Jibber,

I have been on Focalin XR for over 2 years (after trying all the others, including Provigil for the past 8 or so years....and just got myself OFF all ADD meds....I was only taking 2 or 3 (5 mg) capsules a day...usually 1 first thing in the morning, 1 around midday...and if I felt really blah...a third around 3 pm or so....I felt exactly the way you described in terms of the crashing by early evening...total feeling of can't get off the couch or don't feel like doing much (and with having horses to take care of - this isn't easy).

If I did take that 3rd pill in the afternoon...holy cow...talk about irritable...VERY.

Also, can't say for sure, but I have always had a tendency towards TMJ (grinding teeth, etc.)...but since I have been on Focalin, the TMJ had gotten sooooo bad - almost to the point of no return to normal...but heck..the jaw clenching ...BIG TIME....

This has all gotten progressively WORSE over the past year and I finally couldn't take it anymore...after being off it it for the past week, I actually feel more NORMAL than I have in 8 YEARS...hmmmm...go figure...

I actually feel more in control and more "calm" as well....

Lori

vanessa se
03-15-08, 12:32 PM
I almost went crazy on Focalin XR. It would last about 2 hours, during which time I felt euphoric, energetic, optimistic, and focused. After it wore off, the crash came. It was the worst feeling I've ever experienced. I immediately became depressed, couldn't move, and had suicidal thoughts. I told my doc about it and he switched me to Adderall, 20 mg, 3 times a day. I don't take that much though. I take between 20 and 30 mg a day. When I took my doc's recommended dosage, I couldn't stop staring, felt like I was watching a movie with me starring, and couldn't sleep for a week. I also started getting this intensely panicky, nervous feeling at work, like I just couldn't sit there for another minute and was going to run out of the office. Has anyone else ever felt like this? Not sure if the dosage was too high or I was just getting used to the side effects, but I don't want to take another chance by upping my dosage again.

Jibber
03-17-08, 12:09 AM
I think the side effects have actually gotten worse and the Focalin isn't as effective as when I first started taking it. If they've not gotten worse, they definately haven't subsided.

I have an appointment in the near future and I'm afraid he'll just tell me to up the dosage which I am very afraid to do.

At any rate, when I talk with him I'll repost what comes out of it.

thanks for the help!
-Jibber

G's bwoy
03-17-08, 01:47 PM
Well I'm on day 5 of Focalin. I am newly diagnosed and and started last thursday on 2.5 mg's. My Dr. upped the dose to 5mg because on day one I felt really;really irritable and had some suicidal thoughts while driving in the evening. I definitely felt a "crash" around 5:30 the first day. Then I started taking the entire 5mg pill around 8:30 am and it worked GREAT until about 6pm when it wore off. I also felt very tired, but the depression didn't really set in.

Today, i took my 5mg dose and then had the big bottle of Starbucks Frappucchino from 7-11. I AM EVERYWHERE. It is impossible to focus!!

I contacted my Dr. and he said that the focalin and caffeine do not go well together. He said I should also up my dose since I am still experiencing some ADD symptoms.
The thing that scares me (besides the fact that they had to unlock a safe at the pharmacy to get my pills) is that my doctor very casually just tells me to take more of this drug. This is after I have been told that it is addictive (and I have that type of personality), it is sold in the streets etc...
Does anyone know if there are actual "scientific" approaches to diagnosing ADD and prescribing the medication to combat it?
The diagnostic process seemed very rudimentary. It was a questionnaire read to me by my doc.

I could've easily manipulated the answers I provided to obtain the drug. Of course I was truthful, but I am a little scared of how seriously psych's are taking the solution as well as the problem.

:) :/ :)

ventyourpain2k5
03-17-08, 02:06 PM
There is no scientific approach, unless you would like to pioneer research using functional MRI machines. Until that happens, keep upping the dose until you take enough to help your ADD, and don't keep upping it because you like to get high. It's pretty straightforward. If you start going to the street corner to buy more, it's best to stop.