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Difference Between Focalin XR and Concerta

My 12.5 yr. old daughter has been diagnosed with ADHD. She has been on several different meds for this since being diagnosed back in 2004. Her latest on though is Focalin XR 15 mg. We just went to her Psychiatrist on Tuesday he changed her to Concerta 36mg. Has anyone dealt with Concerta before? What are the side effects that you may have encountered with this drug? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

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Hello! My 6 year old son is on Concerta. He started out on a very small dose, but that was his first med. He had some upset stomach problems and at first not wanting to eat. He is now up to 36 mg and is doing great. He got diagnosed with ADHD back in October of 2008 and putting him on this medicine was the best decision that we have made.

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Good Morning L., I just did a google search and came up with this.

An interesting difference between Concerta and Focalin XR is that the time release is not effective the same way. If the capsule is opened with Concerta, it is not effective, while Focalin XR can be opened and sprinkled on food for children averse to swallowing pills. Rotalin LA also offers this ability as Concerta as both uses the SODAS drug delivery system. I also look forward to the results of focalin xr vs concerta head-to-head trials. Focalin XR will rejuvenate Novartis's ADHD franchise, nearly doubling current revenues, which is proven. Focalin XR is generally perceived to act in less than one hour and remain effective for over eight hours. This medicine is also effective in treating children and adolescents with ADHD with few adverse effects, opposite to Concerta. Despite the strong therapeutic profile of Focalin XR, it will face competition from numerous branded and generic extended-release stimulants in the near future, before Concerta will. Despite the strength of Focalin XR's therapeutic profile and marketing potential, it will be hindered by generic stimulants and novel ADHD drugs. Concerta was not proven to be such as effective as this other, so my opinion is that Focalin XR should be better for him.

I also found this site where opinions are shared on both drugs


God Bless and I wish you all well in your quest for information. Our son's were on Ritalin for several yrs they hated it. Said they felt like Zombies.
K. Nana of 5

1 mom found this helpful

This is a natural remedy site, and I just ordered some for my granddaughter, but has lots of good reviews from other parents who are using it, the site is http://www.nativeremedies.com click on products and go to Focus Formula and Bright Spark, also reviews. Hope this helps your daughter.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

Yes, I've dealt with Concerta before, actually my daughter has. She was Dx with ADHD 2.5 years ago. Some side effects she had were; loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach pains, and a little irritability.

My daughter went from med to med. They would work at first, then it would stop. We were trying to find something that helped. Since then we've taken her off the meds and, to be honest, we haven't seen any change either way. Not exactly sure what to make of that, but it is what it is. So, we've had to make adjustments.

Hope I've helped. God bless, ls

1 mom found this helpful

Good morning L.,
Some of the side effects from taking Concerta are headaches, stomach aches, dizziness, changes in emotions and tics. Children with ADHD may already be experiencing dizziness, stomach aches and headaches from trying to concentrate (like for reading); or it may be from just knowing they have to go to school and therefore the end result is they have a headache or don’t feel like going to school.

You might check out the Davis Dyslexia Correction program which is a drug-free approach that corrects learning issues like ADHD. This avoids the complications of medications and can correct the issues that are already there such as difficulties with focusing.
C. Cook

1 mom found this helpful

My son has been on focalin xr for 2 years...recently we went to the Dr. because he said it wasn't working like it use to (I could totally see this). The Dr upped his dose to 20mg and now all is great again. I know someone who's child is on Concerta and they've had nothing but problems getting the dosage right.

Hello! My 6 year old son is on Concerta. He started out on a very small dose, but that was his first med. He had some upset stomach problems and at first not wanting to eat. He is now up to 36 mg and is doing great. He got diagnosed with ADHD back in October of 2008 and putting him on this medicine was the best decision that we have made.

My daughter is 11.5 and she has been on Concerta for little over a year. 8 mos ago she was increased to 36mg. The only biggest side effect is loss of appitite, and for her it's just in the afternoon. She eats A LOT! She is a tall, slender girl who eats like a horse, but at school she doesn't eat much at lunch. Come dinner, she's ready to eat again. I give her a break on weekends and durning summer break. When she's been off it for an exteneded period and when she first started taking Concerta she did have a headache for a few days. There are other side effects as well. My daughter was emotional on the first two-three days but and woke up thoughout the night but then she was fine. I wouldn't be too concerned about the switch. Good luck and hope Concerta works well for your daughter. ~H.

My son was on Concerta for about a year. He lost so much weight you could barely recognize him. He was never hungry and when he did eat it was very little. His grades did not improve and his behavior was only slightly better at school and at home for a couple months. We finally decided to get him off the medication because he started being very threatening. He threatened other kids, his teachers and myself when things did not go his way. He was 9 at the time. They switched him to Adderall which only made things worse and after 2 months we took him off the pills completely. He is 13 and still has all of the same issues he had before- they did not really get better on the drugs anyway- except now he eats and looks healthy. I hope this is helpful.

Concerta is a form of Ritalin, time-released. I think Focalin may be a form of Adderall. My son took Concerta for two days, but it wasn't his med AT ALL! He was only 6 at the time, so that may make a difference too. It may work for your child. His side effect was his heart was racing a mile a minute, to the point it was scary, and he was even more hyped up, not in moving, but he talked literally NONSTOP, barely to breath from the time he got up and took it until he went to bed with all these huge ideas of things he wanted to do. His brain was like on speed. Really weird. We reported it immediately and he was changed to Dexedrine and is doing really well on that one. Concerta ma work for you though. Don't get discouraged if it doesn't. We tried three before we found the right one and now its great!

My son has been on Concerta for 5 years now and we love it. He hasn't had any issues with sleeping or weight issues. He is 5'2" 110lbs. The concerta is really nice in the fact that it is a time release. Take it in the morning and it starts to wear off after he gets home from school. He started on it at age 8 and his grades were poor now he is almost 13 and has been on the honor role for 3 years straight. They started him on the lowest dose and only had to increase it once in the five years. Also, we started having him take one Omega 3 fish oil combined with the concerta, research shows this also helps with concentration (only problem with the fish oil is the fish burps but we fixed that with having him eat a piece of bread with it). Just like with any other medication you will only find out if it helps if you take it for a period of time. Hope this helps.
J. :)

I am not familar with the Focalin, however, I have 2 sons that have been on Concerta for years, the youngest one is 17 and has been taking it since he was 11. He is 6'2 with a size 14 shoe and although he is slim build, the growth wasn't stunted! His only issue is that he doesn't have much appetite when taking it, but has always been a rather picky eater. The benefits of the medication are so life changing for both of them, that I would recommend any ADHD child at least consider it.

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