Focalin Dosage For Adults And Children

Last Updated: June 10, 2020

Authored by Isaak Stotts, LP

Focalin dosages vary widely amongst patients. There are specific Focalin dosages for adults and different ones for children. Focalin dosages can also vary based on the health status of the individual. To be safe, patients should understand their prescribed Focalin dose and what can happen if they take too much.

Dosages of Focalin Available

Focalin pills come in a variety of colors and with various markings. The differences between pills denote different Focalin strengths and types of release. Users need to know how to identify their tablets to make sure their pharmacy never gives them the wrong ones. Below is a chart explaining how to identify the different dexmethylphenidate pills on the market.

Dose and Release Color Shape Imprint
Focalin 2.5 mg Blue U D 2.5
Focalin 5 mg Yellow U D 5
Focalin XR 5 mg Blue Capsule Shape NVR D5
Focalin 10 mg White U D 10
Focalin XR 10mg Brown Capsule Shape NVR D10
Focalin XR 15 mg Green Capsule Shape NVR D15
Focalin XR 20 mg White Capsule Shape NVR D20
Focalin XR 25 mg Blue and White Capsule Shape NVR D25
Focalin XR 30 mg Beige and White Capsule Shape NVR D30
Focalin XR 35 mg Blue and Brown Capsule Shape NVR D35
Focalin XR 40 mg Green and White Capsule Shape NVR D40

Adult Focalin Dosing Instructions

The Focalin dosage for adults is pretty straightforward. Doctors start the patient on a low-dose pill and then gradually increase the dose until the desired effects are produced. The general Focalin dosage for adults schedule is below.

If taking the extended-release form:

  • Begin with a 10 mg pill taken once a day.
  • Should the pill not produce the desired effects, increase by 5 mg a day, giving it a week to see if this provides the needed results. If it does not, increase the daily dose by 5 mg next week.
  • Increase to as much as 40 mg per day.

If taking the immediate release form:

  • Begin with a 2.5 mg tablet taken twice a day, spaced at least four hours apart.
  • Should this dose not produce the desired effects, increase by 2.5 mg per dose, giving it a week to see if this delivers the results needed. If it does not, increase each dose by 2.5 mg next week.
  • Increase the dose to as much as 20 mg per day.

Should the patient reach the maximum dose and still not have the desired effects, they may need to consider other options, such as Focalin vs. Ritalin.

Pediatric Focalin Dosing Instructions

Children can take dexmethylphenidate. However, they must be at least six years old or older. The medication is not indicated for the treatment of younger patients. However, some children aged six and older are small for their age. For these patients, doctors may opt for a lower Focalin dosage by weight. Standard pediatric dosing instructions for patients over the age of six are below.

woman giving Focalin to a little girl

If taking the extended-release form:

  • Begin with a 5 mg pill taken once per day.
  • Should this dose not produce the desired effects, increase the dose by 5 mg per day, giving it a week to see if this dose is effective. If not, increase by another 5 mg per day next week.
  • Increase the dose to as much as 30 mg per day.

If taking the immediate release form:

  • Start with a 2.5 mg pill taken twice a day, at least four hours apart.
  • Should this dose not produce the desired effects, increase by 2.5 mg per dose, giving it a week to see if this delivers the results needed. If it does not, increase each dose by 2.5 mg next week.
  • Increase to as much as 20 mg per day.

It should be noted that the higher the dose taken, the more likely it is that the side effects of Focalin will emerge. Pediatric patients must be carefully monitored throughout treatment.

Geriatric Focalin Dosing Instructions

Unlike with many medications, there is no need to adjust the Focalin strength used unless other health indications are requiring it. How much Focalin is too much is the same as with other adults. It is possible that Focalin dosing will change if the individual has problems with organ function or has sensitivities to other medications, but it is done on a patient-by-patient basis.

Focalin Dosage Adjustments

In certain cases, the dexmethylphenidate or Focalin XR dosage will need to be adjusted based on specific concerns. The prescribing doctor should be aware of these dosing guidelines and opt for the correct daily dose when placing the patient on the medication. However, patients should also know when modified dosing is recommended so they can advocate for themselves.

Dosing for Hepatic Impairment

There are no specific guidelines for changing the dose of dexmethylphenidate based on hepatic impairment. However, the medication is metabolized by the liver.

Dosing for Renal Impairment

In general, those with renal impairment do not need to adjust their dexmethylphenidate dose. However, they should be closely monitored to make sure their function remains at its best while taking the drug. It is unlikely that it will cause harm as it is not metabolized by the kidneys.

Dosing for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

Dexmethylphenidate is a Category C medication, which means that studies have yet to determine if there is a risk to the fetus or not, but animal studies have indicated there might be. The medication should be avoided if possible, and if not, the lowest effective dose should be used. As for women who are breastfeeding, it is not yet known if it is excreted in breastmilk, but given its low molecular weight, it likely is.

pregnant woman reading a prescription

Patients New to Methylphenidate

Methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, is sometimes used in conjunction with dexmethylphenidate. If a patient is starting both at the same time, they should begin at 5mg per day for pediatric patients and 10 mg per day for adult patients of dexmethylphenidate XR. The dose can be increased in increments of 5 mg per day in children and 10 mg per day in adults, reaching a maximum of 20 mg per day for patients of any age.

Patients Currently Using Methylphenidate

If a patient is currently on Methylphenidate, they should begin dexmethylphenidate XR by taking a dose equal to half of the daily methylphenidate dose they are presently taking. The maximum dose remains 20 mg per day when taken in conjunction with methylphenidate.

Maintenance and Extended Treatment

Currently, research has not indicated a specific time limit on treatment with dexmethylphenidate. It is expected that the medication will be taken for extended periods until the patient no longer needs it or it stops being useful.

It is vital that stopping is based on the needs of the patient and is not based on societal pressure, the Focalin price, or any other issues.

How to Take a Focalin Dose

There are no concrete rules on how to take dexmethylphenidate or Focalin XR dose. Each patient may need something different. However, there are general guidelines.

When taking the extended-release formula:

  • Take it with a small amount of food at first. If this feels fine, the patient can try making it without food.
  • The medication is best taken in the morning. Taking it later can cause sleep problems. However, some people may find it makes them tired so that a nighttime dose could be best for them.
  • Swallow the capsule whole, or if swallowing is not possible, open the capsule and mix the beads with applesauce. Swallow without chewing. Never crush the pellets.

When taking the immediate release formula:

  • Try taking it both with and without food to see what feels best.
  • Take the first dose in the morning and the second four to six hours later.
  • Swallow the medication whole. If there is a concern that swallowing the pill is not possible, speak with a doctor about alternative methods.

What to Do if a Focalin Dose Is Missed?

If a dose of dexmethylphenidate immediate release is missed, the patient should take it as soon as they realize they missed the dose unless it is within four hours of their next dose. With dexmethylphenidate extended release, if the patient realizes they missed the dose before noon, they can take it. If it is later than noon, they should skip it.

Is Focalin Overdose Possible?

It is possible to overdose on any medication, and dexmethylphenidate is no different. However, while one can overdose on Focalin, as long as a patient is taking it correctly, it is highly unlikely to occur.

Signs and Symptoms of Focalin Overdose

While Focalin overdose is unlikely, patients still should know the signs and symptoms to look for. These include:

  • Chest pain
  • Racing pulse
  • Trouble breathing
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression
  • Numbness
  • Feeling cold
  • Seizure
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Twitches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fainting
  • Coma

Anyone who has dexmethylphenidate overdose symptoms should seek treatment immediately. Chances are the medication is being abused if an overdose occurs, so once they are treated for the toxicity, they need to under drug rehabilitation therapy. Since there are Focalin XR withdrawal symptoms to deal with, detox should be done in a supervised setting.

What Is a Lethal Dose of Focalin?

How much Focalin it takes to overdose depends on the patient. Everything from weight to age to health status can change what the lethal dose is. The established LD50—or the point where the dose would kill 50 percent of patients—is 2.7718 mol per kilogram. However, this does not account for taking other substances, which could result in death at a much lower dose.

Anyone who is abusing Focalin should seek treatment. Abuse of the drug can quickly turn deadly, no matter the dose is taken. Drug rehabilitation centers can help users get clean and live a better life.

Page Sources

  1. Stimulant and Related Medications: U.S. Food and Drug Administration-Approved Indications and Dosages for Use in Pediatric Patients ,
  2. Focalin XR® (dexmethylphenidate ER) prescribing information,,021802s028lbl.pdf

Published on: June 12th, 2019

Updated on: June 10th, 2020

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


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