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Child had been changed from ADHD medicine changed to Focalin. What are the side effects?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2012
Answered : 1038 Questions
My 7 year old grandson has just had his ADHD medicine changed to FocalinXR 5mg. My daughter would like to know
about this medication, and side effects she needs to look for. She hasn't had a chance to check on this, so I thought I would ask web M.D. thank you so much for your help!
Posted Thu, 30 May 2013 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Achuo Ascensius 2 hours later
thanks for the query.

The active ingredient of Focalin XR is dexmethylphenidate. Dexmethylphenidate is used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - ADHD.
It is said to change the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain thus bringing about improve ability to pay attention, stay focused on an activity, improve listening skills and control behavior problems.

It is taken once a day in the morning to prevent insomnia during the night and once a person is put on the drug, discontinuation will require gradual tapering of the drug dose else the person will have withdrawal symptoms. The drug has to be taken in full else absorption will not follow the right path.

Focalin is no exception and like other drugs, it has its own side effects. Side effects include;
-dry mouth,
-stomach pain,
-loss of appetite and or weight loss

More serious side effects that require urgent medical attention include;
-irregular heartbeat,
-aggravation or behavior changes (such as agitation, aggression, mood swings, abnormal thoughts),
-abnormal muscle movements,

Hope this answers your query. If you have further query, i will be glad to help.
Best regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Child had been changed from ADHD medicine changed to Focalin. What are the side effects? 13 hours later
Has this medication been successful with children the same age as my grandson?
Will he have to be on the medication for a long time, or can this be used for short term? Can he grow into a young man without any adverse affects from this
Thank you so much for your help. XXXXXXX Van Grieken
Answered by Dr. Achuo Ascensius 6 hours later
thanks once more for the query.

Focalin is actually intended for children of age greater than 6 years and your son falls perfectly well within that age group.

Treatment will depend on evolution but its not going to be short term treatment as though one was taking a course of antibiotics say for 7 days or 10 days. Duration will depend on evolution, and the occurrence of unbearable side effects. You will need to stick on with his treating doctor for follow-up and to monitor evolution and possible side effects.

Dosage prescribed by the doctor has to be followed strictly and any abnormal symptom should be indicated to the doctor. With strict follow up, side effects shall be minimized.

Hope this answers your query. If you do not have further query, you could close the discussion and rate the answers.

Best regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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