What Is the Difference Between Focalin & Ritalin?


Ritalin and Focalin are two of the commonly prescribed drugs used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Knowing the differences between these medications may be helpful when developing a plan of action for ADHD treatment.

Focalin Basics

Focalin, or dexmethylphenidate, is a mild stimulant that is most commonly used to treat ADHD. It is similar to Ritalin in that it is a modified version of Ritalin, utilizing its most active component. Focalin was formulated for the purpose of providing those who need the convenience of a rapid onset ADHD drug with reduced side effects as compared to Ritalin.

Focalin Side Effects

Among the less serious side effects associated with Focalin usage are nausea, stomachache, headache, nervousness, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Ritalin Basics

Ritalin, or methylphenidate, is often used to treat attention disorders such as ADHD and is a mild nervous system stimulant. It is among the first medications to treat ADHD and is available in generic form.

Ritalin Side Effects

The possible side effects of Ritalin are similar to those of Focalin and also include burred vision, dry mouth, lightheadedness and constipation.

Price Difference

Focalin is not available in generic form. Therefore, there is a considerable price jump when compared to the generic form of Ritalin.


Focalin lasts about two to four hours longer than Ritalin.

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