Anyone familiar with Focalin?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-2006
Anyone familiar with Focalin?
8
Tue, 04-13-2010 - 12:20am

Okay, I know that these medications affect each person differently, but still...

David is on Trileptal and Abilify, and has been for years. Lately, he's been really suffering from not being able to concentrate and focus.

The doctor has been talking for a while about putting him on something for focus, and finally prescribed Focalin. She wanted us to try him on it over the weekend, so any unpleasant side effects would be caught at home and not school. For most of the weekend, there seemed to be no reason or need to give it to him, though. And then, he started working on a project and got really frustrated with it when things were getting difficult (audio problems at the start of a Lego movie project).

I had been reading the drug info, and it says Focalin should not be given if the child is experiencing a lot of anxiety. Well, when David is troubled by not being able to stay focused on something, he experiences a ton of anxiety. The two go hand in hand.

Also, it says that it can react with other meds, and that you should tell your doctor if the kid is taking an anti-seizure medication. Well, Trileptal is an anti-seizure medication, but he takes it to control mood disorder symptoms, not seizures. Obviously the doctor knows he's on Trileptal, because she's the one who prescribes it. The thing is though, she's been known to make flaky mistakes, like the time she put his weight down wrong, or the time she mixed up his birth date with his first appointment date. Or the time she handed me an entire pad of blank prescription forms along with a prescription. So, I feel like now I really ought to verify that Focalin is safe for him.

I hate the idea of yet another medication. And this one would be taken in the afternoon, when he's not used to having to take something, so he's not real thrilled about it.

Anyway, if anyone has any stories about Focalin that you'd like to share, I'm all ears.

Evelyn

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-19-2009
Tue, 04-13-2010 - 8:08am

My son takes 10mg of focalin everyday.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2008
Tue, 04-13-2010 - 9:34am

Graham is on Focalin and it really helps. They can always tell if I mess up and forget to give it to him. And while he suffers from anxiety too, it doesn't seem to bother him much. Give it a try over the weekend sometime to catch if it does increase his anxiety and see if he tolerates it. Then you can see if it helps his focus during the week. It's fast acting so you should see results right away.

The med game is frustrating, but it's the best we can do right now. Try this, try that....see if it helps.

Andrea, mom to

Graham
Miles
Anson

Andrea, mom to

Graham
Miles
Anson
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 04-13-2010 - 9:49am

Focalin's been awesome for my kid, but he's not on a complicated cocktail like that. For my kid, the anxiety stems from the frustration at times like you are talking about them; the Focalin helps reduce him getting to that frustrated spot--either because he's simply focusing more so doesn't end up there, or because he can remember simple stupid things like coming & getting help *earlier*, or how to calm himself down.

Though, of course, you should double-check with your Dr about the combination!

Megan
Megan
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-2006
Tue, 04-13-2010 - 10:45am

You know in reality, pharmacests know more about medications and drug interactions than the Docs Do.

So who do I go to if I have drug med questions? The pharmacest! Especially about mixing the drugs etc.

Chris tried focalin once but only for a week. We saw no change. I didn't know then that normally you keep on trying but we didn't. Our Doc at that time said okay, well it didn't work, why have him take something if it doesn't work? And that was that.

Nicholas recently has tryed melthlyn and Ritalin LA. The first med, nothing happened. The second one OMG!!! No way can he take this. He was having huge screaming meltdowns over very small things. We found out awfully fast on that one lol. So far we haven't tried anything else yet.

Avatar for ralenth
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 04-13-2010 - 1:42pm
Alex is on Focalin 10mg XR, he also has a 5mg booster that he gets some afternoons. It has been a lifesaver for the part of him that's ADHD. One of the things I can pinpoint - he has timed math trials this year. His score doubled overnight on the focalin. It does kill his appetite - we weren't certain, because it seems he eats, but in the past 2 months, he's lost a pound (on a very tall, already very skinny boy!). It's lifespan also seems to be really short (to me). We give it to him at 8am, and it's out of his system by 4pm (hence the booster).
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Avatar for littleroses
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 04-13-2010 - 2:50pm

My dd just started Focalin on Saturday. She had been on Vyvanse prior.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-28-2007
Wed, 04-14-2010 - 2:56pm

Liam's been on focalin for years now, also takes a mood stabilizer and ssri and we have had no drug interaction. We have seen the appetite drop off, but after a 30 lb weight gain on zyprexa he can afford a little appetite loss.

We love it; he's night and day when off it:)

Dee

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-2006
Wed, 04-14-2010 - 3:29pm

Update: I checked with the pharmacist about the drug interaction. She told me that the reason they need to know if the patient is taking an anti-seizure medication is that the Focalin can affect how the medicine controls seizures. In David's case, he's taking that medication for a different purpose, and does not have a history of seizures, so it's not an issue. I'm glad I asked, though.

I still haven't tried him on the Focalin, though.