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Advanced Alternative Medicine Center

Advanced Alternative Medicine Center

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ADD/ADHD Medicines and Safety 

The Medical Perspective

Methylphenidate  Stimulants

ADD/ADHD Medicines and Safety 

The FDA has issued a warning about the risk of drug abuse with amphetamine stimulants. FDA safety advisors are also concerned about the possibility that all amphetamine and methylphenidate stimulants used for ADHD may increase the risk of heart and psychiatric problems.

The FDA has also issued a warning about a connection between antidepressants (including the non-stimulant Strattera) and an increased risk of suicide in adults aged 18-24, especially in the first one or two months of treatment.

While these risks may seem alarming, keep in mind that experts generally consider these medicines safe. Serious problems are rare. Still, you should discuss the risks and benefits of these drugs with your doctor.

Focalin: Methylphenidate Stimulant

Focalin Side Effects: An Introduction

As with any medicine, there are possible side effects with Focalin®(dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride). However, not everyone who takes Focalin will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate the medicine well. When people do develop Focalin side effects, in most cases they are minor, meaning they require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider.

(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Focalin. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Focalin side effects with you.)

Common Side Effects of Focalin

Focalin has been thoroughly studied in clinical trials, with many people having been evaluated. In these studies, the side effects occurring in a group of people taking the drug are always documented and compared to the side effects that occur in a similar group of people not taking the medicine. This way, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine.

Based on these studies, the most common side effects of Focalin include: 

Abdominal pain (or stomach pain) -- in up to 15 percent of people

Nausea -- up to 9 percent

Loss of appetite -- up to 6 percent

Fever -- up to 5 percent.  

Focalin can also cause a temporary slowing of growth in children. This slowing of growth is usually small (less than one inch and less than two pounds); and, in time, children usually catch up to within normal limits.

Focalin Side Effects to Report

There are a number of side effects with Focalin that you should report to your healthcare provider. These side effects include but not limited to: 

Suicidal thoughts


Chest tightness, chest pain, or heart palpitations

Shortness of breath


Behavior that is more outgoing or aggressive than normal

Strange behavior, agitation, or restlessness

Hallucinations (or seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not really there)

Fainting or seizures

Uncontrolled movements of the head, neck, mouth, arms, or legs (known as tics)

Signs of an allergic reaction, including an unexplained skin rash, itching, hives, wheezing or trouble breathing, or unexplained swelling.

Rare Focalin Side Effects

There are other possible Focalin side effects that can occur. These side effects were not reported in short-term studies of Focalin. They were, however, reported in people taking methylphenidate (which is very similar to Focalin). Given that they were not actually reported for Focalin, it can be difficult to tell whether these side effects are caused by the medication or something else.

Some of these rare side effects of Focalin include but are not limited to: 





Hair loss

Focalin Side Effects: Summary

You may experience some or none of the side effects explained above. Unfortunately, there is no way for your healthcare provider to know beforehand if you will have side effects from a medicine that you have never tried.Therefore, be sure to let your healthcare provider know if you develop any side effects during treatment with Focalin. Also let your healthcare provider know if you develop something that "just does not seem right." While it may not be a side effect of Focalin, your healthcare provider will be able to diagnose and treat the problem.

The Alternative Perspective Your Solution

If you are currently taking prescription medication for your symptoms and are interested in building more health and perhaps getting off your medication by addressing the cause of your health concern, please call the office and let us discuss your options.  I will work with your medical doctor to restore your health and reduce or eliminate the need for medication.

When Your Health Matters

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