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(dex-meth-ill-fen-i-date) ,


(trade name),

Focalin XR

(trade name)


Therapeutic: central nervous system stimulants
Pregnancy Category: C


Adjunctive treatment of ADHD.


Produces CNS and respiratory stimulation with weak sympathomimetic activity.

Therapeutic effects

Increased attention span in ADHD.


Absorption: Readily absorbed following oral administration.
Distribution: Unknown.
Metabolism and Excretion: Mostly metabolized by the liver; inactive metabolites are renally excreted.
Half-life: 2.2 hr.

Time/action profile (improvement in symptoms)

PO7 days1 mounknown


Contraindicated in: Hypersensitivity;Hyperexcitable states (marked anxiety, agitation, or tension);Hyperthyroidism;Psychotic personalities, suicidal or homicidal tendencies;Glaucoma;Motor tics, family history or diagnosis of Tourette's syndrome;Concurrent use of MAO inhibitors;Should not be used to treat depression or prevent/treat normal fatigue;Psychoses (may exacerbate symptoms).
Use Cautiously in: Cardiovascular disease (sudden death has occurred in children with structural cardiac abnormalities or other serious heart problems);Hyperthyroidism;Hypertension;Diabetes mellitus; Geriatric: Geriatric/debilitated patients;Continual use (may result in psychological or physical dependence);Seizure disorders (may lower seizure threshold); Obstetric / Lactation / Pediatric: Pregnancy, lactation, or children <6 yr (safety not established; use in pregnancy only if clearly needed).

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Central nervous system

  • behavioral disturbances
  • hallucinations
  • insomnia
  • mania
  • nervousness
  • thought disorder

Ear, Eye, Nose, Throat

  • visual disturbances


  • sudden death (life-threatening)
  • peripheral vasculopathy
  • tachycardia


  • abdominal pain (most frequent)
  • anorexia
  • nausea


  • growth suppression
  • weight loss (may occur with prolonged use)


  • twitching


  • anaphylaxis (life-threatening)
  • angioedema (life-threatening)
  • fever


Drug-Drug interaction

Concurrent use with or use within 14 days following discontinuation of MAO inhibitors may result in hypertensive crisis and is contraindicated.May ↓ effects of antihypertensives.May ↑ effects of vasopressors.May ↑ effects of warfarin, phenobarbital, phenytoin, some antidepressants ; dose adjustments may be necessary.



Oral (Adults and Children ≥6 yr) Patients not previously taking methylphenidate—2.5 mg twice daily, may be ↑ weekly as needed up to 10 mg twice daily; Patients currently taking methylphenidate—starting dose is 1/2 of the methylphenidate dose, up to 10 mg twice daily.

Extended-release capsules

Oral (Adults) Patients not previously taking methylphenidate—10 mg once daily, may be ↑ by 10 mg up to 40 mg/day; Patients currently taking methylphenidate—starting dose is 1/2 of the methylphenidate dose, up to 40 mg/day given as a single daily dose; Patients currently taking dexmethylphenidate—give same daily dose as a single dose.
Oral (Children ≥6 yr) Patients not previously taking methylphenidate—5 mg once daily, may be ↑ by 5 mg weekly up to 30 mg/day; Patients currently taking methylphenidate—starting dose is 1/2 of the methylphenidate dose, up to 30 mg/day, given as a single daily dose; Patients currently taking dexmethylphenidate—give same daily dose as a single dose.

Availability (generic available)

Tablets: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg
Extended-release capsules: 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, 30 mg, 35 mg, 40 mg

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess child's attention span, impulse control, and interactions with others. Therapy may be interrupted at intervals to determine whether symptoms are sufficient to continue therapy.
  • Monitor BP, pulse, and respiration before administering and periodically during therapy. Obtain a history (including assessment of family history of sudden death or ventricular arrhythmia), physical exam to assess for cardiac disease, and further evaluation (ECG and echocardiogram), if indicated. If exertional chest pain, unexplained syncope, or other cardiac symptoms occur, evaluate promptly.
  • Monitor weight biweekly and inform health care professional of significant loss. Pediatric: Monitor height periodically in children; report growth inhibition.
  • Monitor closely for behavior change.
  • Dexmethylphenidate has the potential for dependence and abuse. Prolonged use may result in tolerance.
  • Assess patient's fingers periodically for signs of peripheral vasculopathy (digital ulceration, soft tissue breakdown).
  • Monitor for signs of anaphylaxis (wheezing, shortness of breath, rash) during therapy.
  • Lab Test Considerations: Monitor CBC, differential, and platelet count periodically in patients receiving prolonged therapy.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Disturbed thought process (Side Effects)


  • Do not confuse dexmethylphenidate with methadone.
  • Oral: Administer twice daily at least 4 hr apart without regard to meals.
    • Administer XR tablets once daily in the morning. Capsules should be swallowed whole. For patients with difficulty swallowing, capsules can be opened and sprinkled on a spoonful of applesauce. Mixture should be consumed immediately; do not store for future use.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Instruct patient to take medication as directed. If more than prescribed amount is taken, notify health care professional immediately. If a dose is missed, take the remaining doses for that day at regularly spaced intervals; do not double doses. Take the last dose before 6 pm to minimize the risk of insomnia. Instruct patient not to alter dose without consulting health care professional. Abrupt cessation with high doses may cause extreme fatigue and mental depression. Advise patient and parents to read the Medication Guide prior to starting therapy and with each Rx refill.
    • Inform patient that sharing this medication may be dangerous.
    • Inform patients starting therapy of risk of peripheral vasculopathy. Instruct patients to notify health care professional of any new numbness; pain; skin color change from pale, to blue, to red; or coolness or sensitivity to temperature in fingers or toes, and call if unexplained wounds appear on fingers or toes. May require rheumatology consultation.
    • Advise patient to check weight 2–3 times weekly and report weight loss to health care professional.
    • Instruct patient to notify health care professional of all Rx or OTC medications, vitamins, or herbal products being taken and to consult health care professional before taking other Rx, OTC, or herbal products.
    • May rarely cause dizziness or drowsiness. Caution patient to avoid driving or activities requiring alertness until response to medication is known.
    • Advise patient to notify health care professional if nervousness, restlessness, insomnia, dizziness, anorexia, or dry mouth becomes severe. Pediatric: If reduced appetite and weight loss are a problem, advise parents to provide high calorie meals when drug levels are low (at breakfast and or bedtime).
    • Advise patient and/or parents to notify health care professional of behavioral changes.
    • Inform patient that health care professional may order periodic holidays from the drug to assess progress and to decrease dependence.
    • Caution patients to inform health care professional if they have ever abused or been dependent on alcohol or drugs, or if they are now abusing or dependent on alcohol or drugs.
    • Advise patient to notify health care professional if pregnancy is planned or suspected, or if breast feeding.
    • Emphasize the importance of routine follow-up exams to monitor progress.
  • Home Care Issues: Advise parents to notify school nurse of medication regimen.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Improved attention span, decreased impulsiveness and hyperactivity in ADHD. If improvement is not seen within 1 mo, discontinue dexmethylphenidate.
Drug Guide, © 2015 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
([dagger]) In this analysis, stimulant medications include amphetamine, mixed amphetamine salts, dexmethylphenidate, dextroamphetamine, lisdexamfetamine, methamphetamine, methylphenidate, and pemoline.
- US-based clinical stage biopharmaceutical company Cingulate Therapeutics, LLC has presented a poster titled, "Pharmacoscintigraphic and Pharmacokinetic Analysis of CTx-1301, a Novel Tri-modal Oral Formulation for Release of Dexmethylphenidate in Healthy Adults" at the 2018 American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders (APSARD) annual meeting in Washington DC, the company said.
M2 EQUITYBITES-September 27, 2017-Lannett awarded US FDA approval for Dexmethylphenidate Hydrochloride Tablets in 2.5 mg, 5 mg & 10 mg
Stimulant medications used to treat ADHD include dextroamphetamine (Adderall and Adderall XR, Dexedrine, ProCentra, Zenzedi), methylphenidate (Concerta, Daytrana, Metadate CD and Metadate ER, Methylin and Methylin ER, Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Ritalin LA, Quillivant XR), lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), dexmethylphenidate (Focalin and Focalin XR), and amphetamine sulfate (Evekeo) ("Drug Treatments for ADHD").
TABLE 3 Psychostimulants for ADHD (15) Short-acting formulations: * dexmethylphenidate (Focalin), * dextroamphetamine (Zenzedi, Procentra), * dextroamphetamine/amphetamine (Adderall), and * methylphenidate (Ritalin, Methylin).
All of the long-acting stimulants employ amphetamine, methylphenidate, or dexmethylphenidate as their active agent, but they employ different strategies to provide active drug over the 8-12 hours most claim as their duration of activity.
The findings show that psychostimulant-induced peripheral vasculopathy, a known side effect included in the labeling of drugs such as methylphenidate (Ritalin or Concerta), dexmethylphenidate (Focalin), and amphetamine / dextroamphetamine (Adderall), is underrecognized in the medical community, leading to needless anxiety and unnecessary medical expenses, she noted.
SAN DIEGO -- Extended-release dexmethylphenidate combined with guanfacine caused no adverse cardiovascular effects among children with attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder, according to results from a double-blind, randomized trial of 207 patients presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Pharmaceutical company Intellipharmaceutics International (TSX:I) said on Thursday that Teva Pharmaceuticals has launched the generic version of the 5mg strength of its dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride generic of Focalin XR(R).
The National Institutes of Health said that ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders which can cause difficulty with staying focused and controlling behavior, and 61 percent of patients prescribed methylphenidate or dexmethylphenidate products last year were male.