Focalin XR?

Cynthia - posted on 07/02/2009 ( 63 moms have responded )

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I'd love to hear, for better or worse, what other people's experiences are using Focalin XR for ADHD. This is the first medication that my 6 year old son has taken for his ADHD. I have very mixed feelings about it and just wanted to hear what others have to say about this medication. Thanks for your input.

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Andrea - posted on 01/24/2013

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I'm not a mom, but I started taking Focalin yesterday morning, I'm 18. My doctors office is closed, and I thought maybe someone could answer me here..

This is my first time taking any ADHD medicine.. I don't really remember what my doctor said, but i'm having some side effects, -dry mouth, uncontrollable twitches, and shortness of breath...
I also have really bad anxiety, so i feel terrible right now, and the anxiety is making it worse...

I just would like to know if this is normal in the beginning? i've only taken it twice, and i think my doctor said side effects may happen, but they'll go away.. i don't remember though.

Did these side effects happen to any of your children?
I read that the twitches are server and that you should stop taking it, but im unsure...

please if someone reads this, reply!

Jenny - posted on 09/21/2013

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Last year we had the same problems out of mine. He was failing the first grade, constantly getting into trouble, once almost paddled, and I was at the school all of the time. It was heart breaking for me to see him struggle when I know how intelligent he is. He started the new school year on Focalin and I noticed that his grades have improved which I'm proud of but now it seems like it's affecting him in other ways I'm not happy about. Since he takes it first thing in the morning, he's too much to handle when he's home. He thinks it's funny to argue with me, he's too hyper and I can't seem to calm him down, and he's staying in trouble at home. I just can't seem to get a handle on him. And also I have noticed that he becomes extremely emotional over absolutely nothing. And I mean screaming fits that can not be controlled. I'm worried that this isn't the right medicine for him. I'm struggling with the decision to change it because it works great in some ways that he really needs it but it's not helping in others. I just don't know what to do.

Monique - posted on 06/09/2013

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My son is 10, diagnosed with ADHD 4 yrs ago. He's been on Focalin 10mg for 3 years now, same dosage the whole time and his grades are wonderful, homework getting done, routine is so important for kiddos with this diagnosis. Our doctor administered 10mg Focalin originally, but if I had it to do it over I would've started my little guy on 5mg then worked his way up to 10mg if need be, however I didn't know better then. So, we are very proactive with his treatment plan. I think its important to realize and recognize, when Focalin is administered at 7am this wears off at 3pm-4pm, so ofcourse your little one would demonstrate symptoms at home like talking too much, you know signs associated with ADHD, etc. And this is alright for this to happen. I only have my son take this for the school day, not weekends or to help us out in the evenings at home. It's our job, as parents to accept things we cannot change, including increasing the dosage because it wears off by the time he gets home, etc. I read this from another comment in this thread and its very disturbing to me to think parents would change dosage based on this. Anyhow, my son is healthy, happy, and thriving on a 10mg a minimal dosage that works wonderfully for its purpose. That is, to get him through a school day, focussed for school lessons, etc. I hope this information helps you!

Jo Anna - posted on 03/29/2013

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My son just turned 7 a couple of weeks ago and has been on 10mg of Focalin XR for 3 months. The past 3 months have been excellent on the medication but in just the last two weeks I have noticed an increase in his impulsive behavior like whistling, making noises, figiting and repeating himself. I spoke to his pediatrician and we will be upping his dose to 15mg and test that for a week to see if things get a little better or stay the same.
Before he was on Focalin he was on Adderall for about 10 months. When we upped his dose on Adderall we noticed increased aggression and emotional swings. I looked for a pediatrician with specialities in treating ADHD children and imidiately after switching peditricians he recommended switching to Focalin XR. The change was dramatic and all the side effects seemed to go away except for the pesky no appetite. As with any medication, it takes time to find the right one and the right dosage. Stick with it!
On a different note, I am an ADHD kid and grew up on ADHD medication from the age of 5-16. I went through About 10-13 different kinds of medication as your body builds up a tolerance. Some were great, some were good, and one was awful. But looking back 15+ years after stopping the medication, I thank goodness my parents were brave enough to put me on meds. If you've never had ADHD then I completely understand the emotional turmoil of whether or not to put your child on meds. But as someone who's gone through it, it makes all the difference in the world. Yes its a hassle, yes it takes way more work figuring out dosages and ways to get them to eat but in the end I was happy I was on meds and I want to give my son the same chance at controlling his ADHD.
April Mooney - My strategy for combatting the no appetite is this... Once a month on the weekend I make full fat and high protein buttermilk pancakes and buttermilk French toast from scratch, (not the bread, I buy the bread, lol). Both of them freeze wonderfully and all we have to do in the mornings is pop the frozen French toast in the toaster or the pancakes in the microwave. He has a normal appetite in the morning so he eats about 2 slices of one or the other and to his extreme embarrassment he has an organic yo baby yogurt, (which is the only yogurt I've found that uses whole organic milk and has probiotics). We usually give him his meds on a spoonful of the yogurt. 9 days out of 10 he will finish all his breakfast.  The main reason I do this is to sneak as much fat and protein in his diet as I can.  For lunch I send him with a peanut butter and jelly/honey sandwich, (although you could use any other nut or even sunflower seed butter if your child has a peanut allergy), fruit and water or full fat milk mixed with Hershey's. I'm lucky if he eats everything but when he gets home I immediately make him eat a LARA Bar (the protein and fat content are very high) and some fruit. About a half an hour before dinner I give him his daily vitamins with an added 500mg vitamin C chewable. Our pediatrician recommended it because he said vitamin C increases hunger. Whether it helps to flush the Focalin out of his system as others have stated, I don't know.  It's hard to tell because his medication is already starting to wear off by 5pm anyway (we give him his meds at 6:30 am BTW). I tried the shake bit but the problem with them is the whole milk you mix it with or it comes with is that its very filling and to much of it gives your kid constipation which makes them not hungry. Arggg the vicious cycle! My solution is Almond milk, its not as high in fat as whole milk but it has lots of protein and he can drink twice as much during the day without getting as full and no constipation side effects.
On the whole I've actually been able to make him gain 2 pounds in the last 6 months rather that loose 4 pounds he lost during the fist six months on ADHD medication. If you want some recipes and other foods I give him just drop me a private message and I can give them to you.

Audra - posted on 04/29/2014

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My 5 1/2 year old daughter just started taking Focalin (5mg). So far the only side effect seems to be an upset stomach. Even though that is minor - any side effect breaks my heart:(
Any recommendations on how to ease the stomach pain caused by Focalin? Anyone have anything that has worked for their kids?
Thanks!

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Stephanie - posted on 08/08/2014

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We went through the same thing with my son, but I think it was just that he finally slowed down enough to think about what people might mean by the things they say, and to care what they think. Just encourage her, and build her self esteem. She'll be fine.

APRIL - posted on 11/29/2013

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My son is five and was started on Vyvanse I. June only for two weeks because it caused terrible stomach aches. He was then put on Focalin 5 but we increased it to Focalin 10xr because he is very hyper and is the top of his class and I want it to stay this way. The only complaint is for it to be xr it wears off fast.

Richelle - posted on 10/29/2013

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My son has taken Focalin XR for three years and it has been wonderful. Almost no side effects, except the low appetite which I counter by mixing carnation instant breakfast into a glass of whole milk/half half every other day. He had a one day neuropsych eval and dx with ADHD. The difference is amazing and his self esteem is much better. School is much better, home is much better....like night and day. I think he is starting to outgrow his dose of 10mg that he has been on since he was 9. Increased forgetfulness and impulsive behavior are now being seen.

Sherri - posted on 09/21/2013

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My oldest son is 8yrs old and was diagnosed w/ mild ADHD at age 6. My pediatrician left it up to me if I wanted to put him on meds. After some deep thinking I chose to try the meds due to lack of good grades, and phone calls from the guidance counselor everyday. We started him on the lowest dose of Focalin XR. He immediately did a 360 in school. Grades shot up, no more phone calls and overall all symptoms of the ADHD disappeared. After 1 yr I noticed it wasn't working as well. My pediatrician recommended Vyvanse. Tried this med and after 1 wk took him off. He became very depressed, emotional, and angry. Started complaining about headaches. I opted to put him back on Focalin. He is a straight A student and very bright. Only downfalls to keeping him on the lowest dose of the Focalin are, very rammy in the AM before giving it to him, and after school when it wears off, small decrease in weight and I just wish it would last longer in the day rather than just while he is at school. But overall this is the right med for my child. Unfortunatley I think you have to try out a couple of these meds before finding the right one for your child. As time goes I may try a higher dose, if I feel he is slipping at school again, but for now we are under control. Hope this helps. :)

Jenny - posted on 09/19/2013

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My 7 year old son started on Focalin 2 1/2 months ago. He was diagnosed ADHD when he was 4. They put him on Aderol and I realized that Aderol isn't for young children. It's for pre teens to teens so I'm confused as to why there are so many parents on here who's small children are or have been on Aderol. Either way it turned out bad so he's now on Focalin. He's always been to an extent temperamental but I've noticed that not only has his temper gotten worse at certain times but he's also extremely emotional about absolutely nothing! He had a horrible episode just tonight screaming at the top of his little lungs all because his dad wanted to talk to him. He's on 10mg but I'm afraid to bump him up. What should I do?? Is this normal? Does anyone else's children react this way from Focalin?

Jennifer - posted on 06/23/2013

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April, my daughter is 6 and on her second day of Focalin XR. We just received the diagnosis of ADHD and nonverbal learning disorder. She is also labeled as very intelligent as her vocabulary was rated superior by the psychologist. The thing I have noticed is, she talked a lot to begin with, and these last two days have been more than excessive. Did you see this at first with your daughter?

Johanna - posted on 06/10/2013

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Our 6yr old will begin tomorrow. Lowest dosage to begin. I'm nervous and scared. Hoping this is the right choice for our little guy.

Sueann - posted on 05/31/2013

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My 9 yr old daughter did the same thing. Still is. Told dr and all they said was were going to keep her on it and monitor her on it.

Nicci - posted on 05/17/2013

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I just started my son who is eleven on the Focalin they have prescribed him only 10mg. The first day he started taking it I noticed a big difference he brought homework home and did his class assignments, he was like a completely different kid, very calm and curtious. He has been on it for a week now and to be honest it seems like he is starting to go back into his old ways of hyperactivity and talking a mile a min. I have an appointment in the the next week to see how progress has been and to be honest Im thinking about asking for him to get a higher dosage. I saw progress but now it seems to be slipping away I hope this next visit will provide answers.I dont like the the fact that I have to have him on meds but I want him to be able to have a normal life as much as possible.

Genifer - posted on 04/06/2013

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We have just started our 6 year old daughter on Focalin xr 5mg this morning. (4-6-13) she seems very calm but has been super sensitive about everything!!! She has had about 3 crying incidents. Is this normal? Does her system just need to get used too the medicine?....

Andi - posted on 03/25/2013

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I know exactly what you are talking about! We started our daughter on natural supplements and put her on all sorts of diets. No dairy, all proteins, no sugar. You name it we tried it!
I was scared to death to put her on any ADHD medicine. Here we are! I have confident and happy girls!
My one daughter (14) who takes Focalin XR does not seem to be having any eating problems. My other daughter who takes Vivance however does. Here are some tips we have found extremely useful.
A huge breakfast in the morning with lots and lots of protein is extremely important. Get creative.
If she skips lunch feed her a big snack when she gets home and possibly a later dinner when the meds have worn off.
Ensure(make sure its cold) is a great shake to give, its a meal.
Shakes are great! Add protein powder in it. They have a good one a Costco. look at the protein content and buy the one with the highest.
Is she losing weight?
My daughter is thin and I always worried about it but she wasn't loosing so much weight were it would be a problem.
If she is starting to look gaunt and extremely skinny perhaps you can talk to your pediatrician about a drug called cyproheptadine 4 mg. Cyproheptadine is used before meals to increase appetite and it does not affect ADHD medicine.
Another interesting fact that I also learned thru our ADHD guru was that if you take 1000 milligrams of vitamin C it counter acts the ADHD medicine and pushes it out of your system almost immediately.
I lower my daughters dosage when they are not in school. For instance my 12 year old takes Vivance 35 and doesn't have a huge appetite on it and seems really really focus while attending school. On the weekends and on vacations I give her 20.. She eats like a horse is calm and not as focused but than that works great for all of us since school is not and issue.
My 14 year old takes Focalin 20 and she does not take it on the weekends nor on vacation. She does take 20 at 5:00 am and than takes another 20 at 4:00 pm if she is doing school work until late at night. Thats when the vitamin C comes in before bedtime so that she can kick Focalin out of her system. This happens 2 times a month if that.

One thing to also consider is the dosage that is being given to your daughter. It is usually hard to ask a 6 year old if they know the difference. Have you tried to see the difference between different doses of Focalin?
Heres some signs if she is on the wrong dose. Is she over sleepy or over stimulated?
If you increase the dose and you do not see a clear improvement of her target symptoms than her dose is correct.
I hope this helps! Hang in there you are on top of it!

April - posted on 03/24/2013

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Our 6yr old daughter just started focalin about a month ago. After two years of natural/homeopathic, gluten free, sometimes dairy free regimen. Natural worked for a while but with her being in first grade, she was rapidly falling behind in reading and being able to complete work. I had guilt for putting her on the RX but also had guilt if i did not. It becomes a matter of self esteem and it wasn't fair for me to prevent her from being the best possible student. Her iq is 128, I'm not certain what that really means, but her psy says she is very intelligent and is easily bored in class and with the ADHD it prevents her from being capable to make it thru her daily work. Emotional outbursts were present before focalin, they are reduced while she is on the medication but does creep back more severe as it wears off. She was also prescribed remeron (sp) to help her rest at night, intuniv at night to help with impulse control and Zoloft which we haven't started yet. The main reason is she is still undergoing testing for LD and possibly mild Aspergers and they want her medications consistent while testing. The only other time she was on an RX was at 7 mos old with an ear infection. Which we found out was due to mold in our home and dairy allergy. So I have huge concerns with her being not only on focalin, but the others too. Appetite is a huge issue! We make hot lunches everyday and she hasn't eaten any lunch in 2 weeks. She does eat a little breakfast... Little dinner and that's it. I am very concerned... She goes to after school karate everyday and feels sick while there and I'm assuming its no food vs high activity. So when she gets home she is nauseated and doesn't feel like eating. How do you make them eat? I have tried everything in my arsenal! Even bribe with money!! Any advice or guidance is most appreciated! And Thank You for initiating this post! ~ April

Andi - posted on 02/07/2013

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Being a mother of two children on different medicines - Foculin and Vivance. I thought that I would post this in hopes that it might help those of you with questions and anxieties about your children being on ADHD meds.
First of all if your child is completely different in a negative way while taking any ADHD medicine he/she is taking the wrong stuff. Try a different one until your child feels minor and I mean minor side effects. The biggest side effect I have found is the appetite factor and that is about it. This is workable. Huge protein filled breakfast before taking medicine and a huge dinner once medicine wears out a bit.
Your child should fall asleep without being agitated on medicines.
Trial and error is the key. I know its hard to keep trying different medicines but until you find the right one for your child you wont know which is best.
It is extremely important to seek a doctor who treats ADHD patients on a regular basis. This helped me tremendously. They are extremely knowledgeable about all side effects of medicine and how children should react on them. I found that my pediatrician did not help as much as our Psychiatrist who treats hundreds of patients with ADHD.

Camille - posted on 01/28/2013

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My son is 7 and is on 10mg in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. He has his good days and bad days, we go back to the doctor he might get switched back up to 15 in the morning. The main problem I have the medicine is the way he is at night he gets very angry and cries a lot! I really want to take him off meds that is my goal, I want him to learn to focus and control his impulses with natural remedies. I just started giving him magnesium we'll see how that works. Children with ADHD are deficient in magnesium. If anyone else has a natural remedies that work please let me know!

Tiffany - posted on 01/02/2013

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My 8 year old started with focalin at the beginning of this school year. At first I felt that the medication was helping him because he was listening a lot better, and he was was not running around the house like a mad man, but now I see that he has lost some weight, he does not have much of an appetite, until bedtime, and he acts like a zombie, with no emotion. I am still not sure if I want him to continue with this medication. My issue is that I am divorced and I have fought for years with my kids dad about getting Clayton some help. Since the divorce, Clayton has not been the same, and I wanted him to speak to a psychologist or psychiatrist. My ex talked to Clayton's pediatrician, and after a few tests, he was diagnosed with ADHD, and put on Focalin. I do not give my son the medication, if we are going to be at home all day. I give it to him when he needs to go to school. The medication supposedly has no long term effects, meaning that once it is gone, it is gone, so is it a problem to give it to him only during school? Please help me, my ex thinks that overtime this medication will help my son be rid of ADHD, and I do not know if that is true.

Thanks,
Tiffany

Tiffany - posted on 09/03/2012

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My son is on 0.1 mg of clonidine which is great for night but makes him sleep during day even if I break it in 1/4 so I'm going to talk to his dr about focalin during day another mom I was talking to said it works for her son once before school and again at noon then if needed clonidine at night

April - posted on 02/18/2010

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My son just started on Focalin and I have mixed feelings on it. When he first started, the time release worked great for school days, but in the evening he was even worse for doing homework. Doc upped the dosage a bit and now it seems to work pretty well. It does mess with his appetite, but doc recommended trying to add whole milk and breakfast bars to his diet to give him extra calories. (My son is 11 years old and in 5th grade)

Diana - posted on 02/18/2010

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My son has been on Focalin XR 10mg for a month now. I have seen improvement with him getting homework done in a half hour instead of 4 hours and, his writing is better to. However, the Pediatrician says it is not the cause of him being overly emotional but, I am reading here that alot of you have had the same issue? The teachers are giving me grief over this. I can't win with the teacher! Uhg! I think my son has improved and now they find something else to complain about.

Brenda - posted on 07/16/2009

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a suggestion, I have my son eat a good breakfast and drink a pediasure every morning and ask his teacher to just ask him if he would drink his milk or eat a bite at lunch and if he doesn't I am fine with that, and remember this also these meds are like drinking coffee once they are gone out of his system it is gone. and he will eat and make up for the rest of the day.

Brenda - posted on 07/16/2009

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My son has taken several different meds in this catagory and Focalin XR is the first one he actually has a bit of an appetite. Now you need to understand that these meds bring them down so they can concentrate so if he is in school it will be helpful it is hard as a mother or parent to see your child in this state because it is very different than what your use to. My son has taken this for a couple of years now.

Shelby - posted on 07/16/2009

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My son son is also very emotional when coming off the Focalin in the evenings. He cries about everything. But overall it is the best medication in my opinion because he still eats and interacts. But yes the emotions do come along with it for my son also.

Angie - posted on 07/16/2009

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My son has been on Focalin since April. We started him on 5 mg and that has been enough. He is 5 years old and was in pre-k when we put him on this. Let me tell you, it was a miracle pill for him. He had been on a behavior chart in pre-k and had NEVER been able to complete one of the projects and get a smiley face. The first day he was on this and at school he was able to do the class project. He could actually sit and listen to a story and was asking friends to play with him at center time. As a parent you never want to see your child being left out or no one wanting to play with him because of how they act. I am so grateful we put him on this when we did. Now he can start kindergarten in the fall and I am confident that he can thrive. We haven't really noticed many side effects with Focalin. His appetite is there, it may have even increased. Some days he may be a little emotional as he comes off of it, but I think that also may have something to do with it being summer and him being on the go from the second he gets up in the morning.

Shelby - posted on 07/16/2009

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My 4 year old started taken it about a month ago and he does great. The only thing I don't like is that it seems to wear off after a couple of hours. He takes it twice a day but besides that I love it. My son started out on Adderal XR and it was horrible. He was like a zombie and picked all day. With the Focalin, my little boy still eats and plays with his siblings. I don't want to try any other meds because he acts so normal while taking the Ficalin. My son also takes clonodine at night to control his impulsive behavior at night and to help him sleep. These together are a life saver for me!

Teres - posted on 07/14/2009

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This shoudl change in a few weeks, if not you may want to try something different. I hope everything works out with meds though it really is a great to have some control over the disorder. It helps everyone in the family regain some sanity. lol

Melissa - posted on 07/14/2009

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My 6 yr old was just diagnosed with ADHD a few months ago. He was put on 2.5mg of Focalin to start but there wasn't any change so they increased it to 5mg. Then he got sick to his stomach about a hr after taking it and vomited every time he tried to eat or drink anything. But every medication works differently for each child.

Teres - posted on 07/14/2009

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This was my sons first med also, we are now trying Vyvanse and after a few dosage modifications were are very happy with the result. Most noticably we have actually started gaining some weight that was lost with Focalin back with this med.

Brandy - posted on 07/12/2009

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Quoting Marilyn :

My 16 year old son has been on the med roller coaster for a year now and we have tried them all, Concerta, Straterra, Vyvanse, Aderall and finally Focalin. He has a history of self-medicating (pot, alcohol, xanax) which is what led us to his diagnosis. Due to this and his age, he is very aware of the medications effects on him and very adept at explaining which works better. Aderall was the worst. . .it made him full of rage and angry all of the time. The FocalinXR has been the best by far. It seems to have the least rollercoaster up and downs of the others and, although he states that the focus effects are less than the Adderall, it is much more manageable. He gets mood swings in the evenings, has trouble sleeping (chronic), and complains of sweating, but his appetite (of course he is a teenage boy) has not been effected too much and he is able to focus so much better. He chose to go off of it during his brief summer break from school, but just yesterday came to me and told me that he really needed to get back on it as he was unable to get back to his work effectively. . .and this is a kid that HATES the idea of daily meds and still is not convinced that he has ADD.
The doctor gave him Pexeva for anti-anxiety and to help him sleep back in the beginning, but he refused to take it after a month saying it didn't do anything and he didn't want to be on anti-depressents. He has quite extreme anxiety, but doesn't want to take anything else. Anyone have any experience with anti-anxiety meds in conjunction with ADD meds? What about sleeping issues? I'm so tired of all of these medications!



My son had trouble sleeping before starting on the focalin XR, so when he started it his Dr. also put him on clonidine to help him sleep.  Clonidine is a blood pressure medication, but is commonly used to help children sleep because it is not addictive.  He was on the smallest dse (0.5mg) available and it worked great with no side effects.  He has adjusted more now and no longer needs it (I think because he is in school now and wears himself out!).

Brandy - posted on 07/12/2009

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My son is 6 years old and going into the 1st grade next month. He started focalin xr when he was 4 and they put him on 10 mg and it was horrible. He would wring his hands and constantly be nervous. So, I immediately took him off of it. Then when he started kindergarten last year he kept getting notes sent home from school, and he is a well-behaved child. So we put him on focalin xr 5 mg and it was wonderful!!!! He got conduct awards at school and his teacher bragged on him all year long. He is so much calmer and focused now, and he very rarely gets in trouble!

Christy - posted on 07/11/2009

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That was the 1st medication my 5 year old was put on for his ADHD. He acted like a zombie on it. I immediately had it changed, and he does extremely well on Vyvanse.

Tina - posted on 07/11/2009

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My 8 year old boy is going into the third grade. He has been taking Focalin XR since he was 5 years old and in Kindergarten, he is now up to 20 mg. Before the meds, he just could not function! In school he could not even sit still or hold a pencil to write. At home one page of homework took 3 hours because he could not focus... It was sit down, get up, run around the table, sit down, fall off the bench, get up again, and on and on. He was actually failing Kindergarten because he was not able to learn to read! And that was even with an IEP. So I started him on the Focalin XR and there was a HUGE improvement. He passed Kindergarten (by the skin of his teeth). But now he is doing well academically, no longer needs an IEP, is an avid reader, if not an Honor Roll student. I agree that the coming off period can be rough with the moodiness and whining. But I will take those things any day compared to what we were going through before. In my case, he was always a picky eater, and the Focalin XR has not had any impact on his appetite. In fact, at 8 years old he eats very well and is within range for his height and weight. I am very pleased with the results!

Cathy - posted on 07/11/2009

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my daughter (9) has been o foccalin XR for almost a yr now. in 2nd grade she would roll on the floor or just sit at her desk and waste time. She would have 20 minutes of homework in the afternoon that would literally take hours to accomplish! She is a sweet kid, but we were all so frustrated! She tried straterra, but it really messed with her stomach. Foccalin XR has been an instant success for us! It does really affect her appatite, but we let her eat pretty much what she wants before bed. Some days she has a hard time coming off of it and gets angry or moody around 4:00. Dr gave us a 10 mg we can give her for this or to help with evening homework & activities. Don't use it much in the summer, but she always takes the morning one. If i ever forget it, everyone can tell! She even notices how well she can focus or the lack of it at 8 yrs old! With it she can sit through a 2 hr church service and not be disruptive! (Without it she is rolling on the floor and just disturbing to everyone) I am grateful to have found a med that works so well without having to try a lot of meds like we have gone through with her sister!

Jody - posted on 07/11/2009

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My son has been on many differevt meds since the age of 7. ( he is now almost 13) For us, this is by far the best med we have found. With the least side effects. I will say that every child is different though.

Justine - posted on 07/11/2009

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My son, who is five, did very well on Focalin. He improved greatly at school and everyone commented on how much better he handled unexpected changes. It also seemed to help him sleep better at night. Due to the $$ of Focalin we have changed meds and now he's up all night. It worked great for him and we wish we could have kept him on it.

Dianne - posted on 07/10/2009

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Quoting Cynthia:

We started with 5 mg but his teachers didn't see much difference. We bumped him up to 10 mg a couple weeks later and his teachers reported a positive change in his ability to focus and stay on task. I kept asking about possible side effects, but was told he seems fine. It's only at home that I notice the depressed mood on the meds. After hearing some of the dosages other kids are on, I'm wondering if maybe 10mg IS too much after all? I'll talk to his doctor soon ... thanks for all your input!


  I have the exact same experience with my daughter. But when I spoke with her teachers..they said that she improved a lot in school and is happy and active in school. so we decided to keep the Focalin XR. I also agree with the other parents about decreased appetite and mood swings when the med comes off. Overall, this works for her rather than the ritalin, that made her zombie like...

Marilyn - posted on 07/10/2009

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My 16 year old son has been on the med roller coaster for a year now and we have tried them all, Concerta, Straterra, Vyvanse, Aderall and finally Focalin. He has a history of self-medicating (pot, alcohol, xanax) which is what led us to his diagnosis. Due to this and his age, he is very aware of the medications effects on him and very adept at explaining which works better. Aderall was the worst. . .it made him full of rage and angry all of the time. The FocalinXR has been the best by far. It seems to have the least rollercoaster up and downs of the others and, although he states that the focus effects are less than the Adderall, it is much more manageable. He gets mood swings in the evenings, has trouble sleeping (chronic), and complains of sweating, but his appetite (of course he is a teenage boy) has not been effected too much and he is able to focus so much better. He chose to go off of it during his brief summer break from school, but just yesterday came to me and told me that he really needed to get back on it as he was unable to get back to his work effectively. . .and this is a kid that HATES the idea of daily meds and still is not convinced that he has ADD.
The doctor gave him Pexeva for anti-anxiety and to help him sleep back in the beginning, but he refused to take it after a month saying it didn't do anything and he didn't want to be on anti-depressents. He has quite extreme anxiety, but doesn't want to take anything else. Anyone have any experience with anti-anxiety meds in conjunction with ADD meds? What about sleeping issues? I'm so tired of all of these medications!

Mary - posted on 07/09/2009

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It doesn't last all day for my son. His psychiatrist is talking about changing his meds before school starts again. He is 11 3/4 and still has to be told to take his meds every time.

Darla - posted on 07/09/2009

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My 7 year old daughter is the same way. not very hyper just the focus thing.

Darla - posted on 07/09/2009

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My son is 15 and he takes this. He has been on it for a few years seems to have an easy time with it. My 7 year old girl takes ritalin, and does well with that. I guess it all depends on how well they do on it.

Beth - posted on 07/08/2009

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My son is 13, he has been diagnosed with ADHD. He has been on everything from Ritalin, to it's generic and now on Focalin 20 mg XR. With the other meds I noticed he was a zombie, didn't want to do anything. Around 4:30-5 he would have a significant crash period where he was emotional, and aggressive. With the Focalin, I have seen none of that. His grades and behavior have all improved. I was skeptical at first like you. But it seems to help.

Barbara - posted on 07/07/2009

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My son was on Focalin XR and it made him aggressive and very emotional. He was only on it for about 2 months and we took him off. He is now on Vyvanse and it is wonderful. It has not changed his personality one bit and he is doing great.

Ann - posted on 07/07/2009

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My son is 10 and takes Focalin XR. We have tried all the other typical medications but this one seems to really work. He is able to pay attention like you wouldn't believe. The only problem is that my son also has Depression Disorder, so even though we have found the right medication for his ADHD we are still trying to find something that will help with the mood swings. Every child responds to medications differently so it really depends on the child but for me it helps.

Yaumara - posted on 07/07/2009

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Focalin XR caused my son to have terrible stomach pains! The school was calling me everyday to come pick him up because he would cry from the pain. He no longer uses Focalin XR.

Ty - posted on 07/06/2009

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My son was diagnosed at 7. We started with the Daytrana patch. When the smallest does didn't work, we increased until we were maxed out. No change. So we went to Concerta. We had to increase his dose. The side effects were horrible. He would just sit there and stare. He cried all the time and told me that he hated himself anf wanted to die. (Talk about breaking my heart!) Next, we tried Focalin and had horrible stomach cramps at an effective dose (20mg) so we stopped that and moved to Adderall. He became violent and agressive and angry all the time. I was on a rollar coaster. We had the best success with the Focalin XR so we went back to that, but came down a dose so the stomach pain didn't happen. The problem was that we needed a little extra help in the afternoon during reading. So, we started giving him a short-acting 10mg Focalin right after lunch.

His grades have improved! He was in danger of failing every year from kindergarten to second. This past year in the third grade, he was completely on grade level and excelling in most areas. His self confidence has improved because he doesn't think he's stupid anymore. We talk about how he felt without medicine versus with and he doesn't want to come off of the medicine because he likes being able to think things through. As a result, we remind him that if he looses weight, they will take the medicine away. That doesn't allow him to use the medicine as an excuse for not eating. He does have a decreased appetite, but he pushes himself on weekends (we don't give it to him on the weekends.) My husband is completely against medication, but he agreed to let him try it. He will admit (reluctantly) that the improvements in his confidence and self esteem alone have made it worth all of the trial and error. Medicine isn't a magic pill. My being involved in school and constant contact with teachers holds him accountable too. Bottom line is go with your gut. If you don't think that it's working, it's not. I had to push to get his doctor to pay attention. I finally had to change doctors until I found one that listened to both of us. Good luck with everything. :-)

Rebecca - posted on 07/06/2009

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We had the same issues with Focalin XR. We currently use the Daytrana patch with a short acting Focalin 2.5mg first thing in the morning and in the evening if we are out late with an activity. Works wonderfully. Only side effects we have experienced is slightly red skin in the area of the patch for 24 hours and poor appetite. We just feed him a huge breakfast and bedtime snack. We have had no rollercoaster of emotion with the patch.

Joy - posted on 07/06/2009

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My son was on this for about 4mo before we switched. He would do really well on the meds but he had a hard time coming off the meds. I never knew what he was going to do he would either cry for nothing and get down on himself or have an outrage over nothing. Even thou the mood swings lasted about 20 mins I never want to see my child go through that again. You want to help them but there is nothing that you can do for them thye need to just get it out of there system. Does anyone requimend a med over the other?

Daisy - posted on 07/06/2009

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it was my son's first med too but it did not work for him, so we tried Conserta and it works great.

Cynthia - posted on 07/05/2009

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We started with 5 mg but his teachers didn't see much difference. We bumped him up to 10 mg a couple weeks later and his teachers reported a positive change in his ability to focus and stay on task. I kept asking about possible side effects, but was told he seems fine. It's only at home that I notice the depressed mood on the meds. After hearing some of the dosages other kids are on, I'm wondering if maybe 10mg IS too much after all? I'll talk to his doctor soon ... thanks for all your input!

Rebecca - posted on 07/05/2009

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When we tried the long acting Focalin it didn't last through the day and we had to redose with a short acting Focalin once or twice in the afternoon and evening. This lead to a roller coaster of emotion and it was difficult to keep our son on a level dose. We switched to the Daytrana patch with a booster of 2.5mg Focalin in the morning before the patch kicks in and it has worked really well and lasts almost until bedtime.

Abby - posted on 07/05/2009

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My son Connor is 9 years old and he has been on Focalion XR for 3 years now, at first he lost a lot of weight but now he is picking it back up and is doig great!

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