View Full Version : Can figure this drug out ( Focalin )

10-22-10, 01:05 PM

Is it normal for focalin to make you feel like a zombie ? confused,disoriented, lethargic ..... i've been taking focalin for three months now IR 10 mg

i really cant say its a horrible drug as i have had a couple of successful experiences with it ...

but its kinda crappy when you have those side effects make you want to through your medication away ... i'm kinda stuck without an opinion about the drug cant say much i've had great days and awful ones...

i'm complaint with ritalin and i was perviously on it ... i wanted to try another drug and my doc recommend focalin as they are the same chemical but of course purer ..

I've read a couple of threads about how dosing could be behind those nasty side effects ...

and another thing has anyone tried/thought of taking focalin sublingual

i used to do that with ritalin do u advocate it ? you can reduce you dose if you do that right so more pills to last

please if you have had those side effects how did you deal with it and any suggestions about dosing ?

thanks a million
: )

10-22-10, 01:09 PM
No, Focalin should not make you feel like a zombie, confused, or lethargic.

Is it possible the Focalin dose is too high? Since Focalin is composed of the more "biologically-active" molecule, as you noted, they recommend starting off with a smaller dose than you would of regular methylphenidate (Ritalin).

Or it may just be that this version of the medication isn't the right one for you.

I have not tried taking meds sublingually.

Good luck sorting it out.

10-22-10, 01:42 PM
Do you take the generic or Brand Focalin IR?

The Brand Focalin IR is made better, since Novartis makes it.
The generic is made by Teva/Barr and has a lot more side effects.

Maybe you should lower your dose.
If you feel any "zombie" effects, it usually means that the dose is too high.

Focalin is 2-3 times stronger than Ritalin.

10-22-10, 02:07 PM
I have the brand from Novartis ...

its assumed that Methylphenidate is built up in the body ... that stated would you agree that your dosage can be varied upon how your feeling in regards of your ADD symptoms
my doctor prescribed 10 mg IR twice daily my personal opinion i think its way of a high dose for me to take on a regular bases .... except when i have a mentally demanding event studying for exams and what not...

have you ever tried taking focalin sublingually ? more of it in your system by passes your liver which inactivate most of the drug ..

10-22-10, 02:31 PM
I have the brand from Novartis ...

its assumed that Methylphenidate is built up in the body ... that stated would you agree that your dosage can be varied upon how your feeling in regards of your ADD symptoms
my doctor prescribed 10 mg IR twice daily my personal opinion i think its way of a high dose for me to take on a regular bases .... except when i have a mentally demanding event studying for exams and what not...

have you ever tried taking focalin sublingually ? more of it in your system by passes your liver which inactivate most of the drug ..

You could try taking half of the 10mg and see how it effects you.

I usually just let IR medication dissolve in my mouth and then swallow it. Always works for me.

10-22-10, 06:01 PM
has focalin provided the same experience everytime you'r on it ?

have you ever had those day's where you think you medication isn't working the way it should ... not to say that it stopped working but its effect has lessened or changed ?

i'll figure out what my dosage is i'll start at 5 mg then i'll work my way up ...

10-24-10, 03:37 PM
My son is on focalin xr 10mg. He started on 5 and it was ok for about a few weeks then could not focus in school and it actually made his symptoms worse with impustivity and not listening and such. Uped it to 10 and it is making him moody, mod swings , no personality faking being happy and smiling, anxiety like social anxiety, nervous and a little zombie like. But very very moody.

10-26-10, 01:18 AM
Methylphenidate meds are a hard beast to handle. There seems to be a very fine line between working correctly/fine and too high of a dose. This may be the reason amphetamines are preferred, better tolerated and easier to titrate.

10-26-10, 01:23 AM
Everyone reacts differently.
But if the side effects outweigh the benefits you should switch to another medication.

06-26-11, 07:18 PM

Is it normal for focalin to make you feel like a zombie ? confused,disoriented, lethargic ..... i've been taking focalin for three months now IR 10 mg

: )

I echo your "zombie" side effects (confused, lethargic) on Focalin (and Ritalin), but strangely enough I experience this with LOWER doses (2.5mg, 5mg, even 10mg sometimes). I've recenly gone back to Focalin (after I went away from it because it also left me a little confused overall before).

5mg Focalin makes me more confused and sleepy/tired. Just the other day, for instance, I got 9.5 hours' sleep and arrived at work designing experiments, when all the sudden the 5 mg Focalin I took kicked in and the same designs I was working on just a minute prior suddenly were a harder to grasp/put together. I was sleepy all of the sudden (eyelids stinging) and was very frustrated. It's tough! Finding the right medication and then the right dosage is hard. What I'm finding a little more at least now is that what I percieved before as an adequate dose (5mg 10mg) actually might be too low for me. Its as though the lower doses make you worse before you can be better (higher doses). I'm not suggesting you do this, I'm saying you should consider exploring this option with your psychiatrist the next time you see him.

As for the amphetamine family of stimulants, a lot of people like Adderall better (even though the majority of children/people take Ritalin). Amphetamines not only do dopamine reuptake inhibition like Ritalin/Focalin do, but it actually drives/carries more dopamine across the synapses also. That's why it's stronger than Ritalin/Focalin. All I can say is, I think all the meds to some extent have some side effect more or less, and there is often no perfect one. (Adderall made me even more confused than Focalin does -- even though I prefer Adderall stlll the most). You just have to pick the lesser of the evils unfortunately. Some psychiatrists prescribe both families of meds to a patient (despite the insurance companies screaming bloody mary for it) because the patient responds to one that may be advantageous for one part of the day for them and the other might have an advantage for the other part of the day that fits their lifestyle.

Good luck to us all!

06-26-11, 10:14 PM
Jr is right. It seems higher doses of Ritalin or focalin work but bring anxiety and physical stimulation much more than adderall. I wonder how to eliminate these side effects with the higher dose that actually works on ritalin

06-27-11, 07:11 AM
Sometimes its just that "Ritalin family "of medications. I could not tolerate them. I was on Dexedrine for a few years with some improvement but it actually made me way to relaxed. I'm now on adderall and its better but not perfect. Maybe try browsing the medication forums to understand the differences between the methyl families and amph families. Sometimes the only info to go on is through trial and error and the opinions of others.

06-27-11, 09:14 AM
yes , in college I could deal with this better as I didn't have to be in front of others all the time, but now it just overall makes me edgy and it's been difficult at times. This is most pronounced while being on regular ritalin or switching to focalin and then going back to one if the other seemed better or something to that effect. It seems while on ritalin adjusting to focalin will create side effects and vice versa. I don't have this issue with adderall but the focus is not as directed than with ritalin. Ritalin more so pulls your brain in and tells it to focus which is good for somebody like myself.

07-01-11, 11:43 PM
Been Trying Taking it sublingually, It lasts longer and less of crash when it wears off

after nearly a year on being with focalin, i can't really give an honest opinion about it

Very little information is available on focalin, probably cause its new

have noticed that it makes me more analytical yet my memory seems to get a bit foggy while I'm on it

I guess getting the dosage right might help getting the best of it

I guess some of the members here might provide us with some info and tips ...

07-03-11, 08:21 PM
I feel bizarre on focalin, called my doc and left a message and requested to change back to concerta with Ritalin. I have alot of allergy issues but my head is on fire. Not sure which is contributing more. Yet focalin makes me kind of anxious and out of it. This is not new though, if you have been taking Ritalin it takes a few weeks to adjust to focalin. It's been rough though and I have just felt so strange on focalin.

07-25-11, 06:15 PM
How are people taking Focalin? Especially, how do you deal with doses smaller than a single tablet? with apple sauce? How often? If on a low dose have you taken it more often? I have tried small doses sublingually and I don't know what to think about the result. How has this worked for others ?

On stimulant medication I might get so focused I forget to get up and get water or eat food. Low blood sugar and minor dehydration cause many a bad experience. When on stimulants try to eat and drink on a more regimented schedule.

I am going to avoid using metaphors like "Zombie like " or "robotic". I am not sure if they really man the same thing to each person. I think it's more helpful as being specific as possible about negative sensations and effects you are having. How long after taking the medication have you had the experience you are describing, and what could other causes be for your experience.

I am an adult professional in my early forties. I completed college at a good liberal arts school that required alot of writing, and also in my case plenty of math. I made it through without medication. I tried Ritalin for a short period (part of a semester) but it made me overly moody especially as it wore off.

I've tried a number of medications since college as an adult professional.

Someone previously said they assume Focalin build up in your system. I believe this is an incorrect assumption.

Both Focalin and Ritalin are metabolized quickly, as are most other stimulants like caffeine and nicotine. The helpful effects of focalin about 4 hours for me on the slow acting. Time release is usually longer but conditions in the digestive track can cause it to be absorbed slower or much more quickly. The extended release has beads. I believe half are coated in about the same way and when the coatings have dissolved a second dose is released. I do not believe that it is made to be introduced slowly over time.

I believe that the time it lasts depends may depend on how much you take and your size and metabolism.

Regardless of if it's time released or not it definitely becomes effective after about 30 minutes for me definitely lasts at least 3 hours from that point.

During this period it is easy to focus, even hyper focus on tasks I don't like to do. It also greatly helps with getting started on things that are tedious or frustrating. These are things that I might otherwise put off. I would also not be as productive without the Focalin doing some other activities. For tasks that are enjoyable and I am very skilled at doing it might not make much difference.

When the medication is effective I want to have things to do and get them done. I may be less patient with other, and that could be because of the medication but it also could be that I want to get things done that I otherwise could not while I am on the Focalin. I don't think my mood is bad though while it's effective. In fact I may be less prone to being emotional. A boring or tedious meeting with clear objectives might be easier. In general though the Focalin is not necessary for dealing with meetings.
The down side: When it wears off !

Sometimes I am abruptly aware that the medication is ineffective but it does taper some though I'd say over a period of 20 minutes. There is a known rebound effect from the medication. During this period It's hard... maybe impossible to get much done or pay attention. I have been in a store and started just wandering the isles aimless not because it's fun or i am shopping but because of something of a mental fog. Also it seems that it's harder to focus and i feel sleepy, not exactly but close to it.

It is easy because of my add to enter a mindless activity and get stuck. During this period I am several times more vulnerable than usual. Switching tasks is much harder.

As it wears off I often have headaches and a feeling of a strange numbness around the forehead and ears. I think it's just a tension headache. As the medication wears off I can be uncharacteristically moody and impatient. This "out of it" period lasts at least 30 minutes but without food and water and some rest it can last much longer.

I say rest which definitely helps but It would not surprise me if there is evidence that physical activity especially aerobic exercise could help this period past faster.

Because of this negative slump If taking multiple doses in a day It's best to take the next dose before a slump starts. This way you only have one slump a day at the end of your medicated period.

Provigil, by contrast lasts a much longer period of time in the body. It is helpful for my adhd and make tasks I am neutral about easier. It does not help in the same way for those things that I really do not enjoy but must accomplish. I do not experience any rebound effect and don't know exactly when it totally wears off.

I have decided for now to take Provigl and add a small dose of focalin only when i really need it. This is not the usually way to use it. Both positive and negative effects might be noticeable. The rebound may be more pronounced. Even if there are substantial down sides the Focalin helps me get things done faster that would otherwise be hard, and also helps with getting something started. After I get into a project then It's not needed as much.

One important effort is to become interested, find the positive side of activities, and learn to enjoy everything that you can. These are great things to teach to your children. Develop the mental skill of keeping in mind benefits, results, and pleasant physical sensations of each activity. Even if some part hurts there are others that don't. My joints hurt some when i've been typing along time but the tips of my fingers still have that gentle tickle as I am typing. This is the sort of skill that can help independent of medication.

Anyway that is all i have time to share for now. I hope that my experience can help others and am interested in if this is what other people have experienced.


Of course the only way to take prescription medication is the way is as it is prescribed by your physician. I am sharing my own experience. Anything stated or implied as a recommendations are just what has works for me and facts are what I believe to be true. I have not verified them. Finally, I am not in the medical field.

08-08-11, 07:46 PM
Well, I was mistaken for stating that "focalin is known to be accumulated in the body"
I deeply apologize for that statement which is completely incorrect.

Focalin Gets excreted by the kidneys completely and has no accumulative affect in the body

First of all I'd like to declare that I've been on focalin for more than a year now and during which time i was able to understand and notice the affect that the drug has on ME

this is sole my Experience with the drug I'm not responsible for any Ill use of it and i recommend consulting your doctor first .

I've found a great difference between Focalin and Ritalin both of which are a class of drugs called methylphenidate with different combination of stereoisomers.
Focalin being D and Ritalin D,L

I have been on both I've had the immediate release tabs only and i have never used the extended released one.

From my Experience:

I've found that 5mg of focalin taken Sublingually is far more superior than oral, you dont get the same extent of side effects from sublingual use as opposed to Oral

Subligual usage last longer and has less of a crash from my experience you don't to notice it that much as opposed to oral

on sublingual usage you dont get euphoric as you would with oral

you can manage your how daily dosage as you have more of the medication to go around if your using 10 mg tabs

its affects is accentuated more profound and predictable than oral use

I would recommend that you adjust your doses according to your bodyweight and activity level

Focalin in my opinion has provided me with the necessary focus that has allowed me to realize subtlety that i wouldn't would otherwise notice

In a nut shell Its a really good drug

what i wrote is based on my own humble experience i would recommend talking to your psych and i hold no responsibility for any I'll doing

08-20-11, 08:42 PM
I've Found Melatonin ( Sleep Hormone) Really Helps When You Have Trouble Sleeping.

If you have Trouble recalling things or if you feel like your memory has gotten bad on Focalin it could be due to lack of quality of sleep

melatonin is OTC Drug BTW

Consult your doctor first