Focalin (Page 3 of 6)


8.1 Pregnancy

Pregnancy Exposure Registry

There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to ADHD medications, including Focalin, during pregnancy. Healthcare providers are encouraged to register patients by calling the National Pregnancy Registry for ADHD medications at 1-866-961-2388 or visit

Risk Summary

Dexmethylphenidate is the d-threo enantiomer of racemic methylphenidate. Published studies and postmarketing reports on methylphenidate use during pregnancy have not identified a drug-associated risk of major birth defects, miscarriage or adverse maternal or fetal outcomes. There may be risks to the fetus associated with the use of CNS stimulants use during pregnancy (see Clinical Considerations). Embryo-fetal development studies in rats showed delayed fetal skeletal ossification at doses up to 5 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 20 mg/day given to adults based on plasma levels. A decrease in pup weight in males was observed in a pre- and post-natal development study with oral administration of methylphenidate to rats throughout pregnancy and lactation at doses 5 times the MRHD of 20 mg/day given to adults based on plasma levels. Plasma levels in adults were comparatively similar to plasma levels in adolescents (see Data).

The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2% to 4% and 15% to 20%, respectively.

Clinical Considerations

Fetal/Neonatal Adverse Reactions

CNS stimulants, such as Focalin, can cause vasoconstriction and thereby decrease placental perfusion. No fetal and/or neonatal adverse reactions have been reported with the use of therapeutic doses of methylphenidate during pregnancy; however, premature delivery and low birth weight infants have been reported in amphetamine-dependent mothers.


Animal Data

In embryo-fetal development studies conducted in rats and rabbits, dexmethylphenidate was administered orally at doses of up to 20 and 100 mg/kg/day, respectively, during the period of organogenesis. No evidence of malformations was found in either the rat or rabbit study; however, delayed fetal skeletal ossification was observed at the highest dose level in rats. When dexmethylphenidate was administered to rats throughout pregnancy and lactation at doses of up to 20 mg/kg/day, post-weaning body weight gain was decreased in male offspring at the highest dose, but no other effects on postnatal development were observed. At the highest doses tested, plasma levels [area under the curves (AUCs)] of dexmethylphenidate in pregnant rats and rabbits were approximately 5 and 1 times, respectively, those in adults dosed with the MRHD of 20 mg/day.

Racemic methylphenidate has been shown to cause malformations (increased incidence of fetal spina bifida) in rabbits when given in doses of 200 mg/kg/day throughout organogenesis.

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

Dexmethylphenidate is the d-threo enantiomer of racemic methylphenidate. Limited published literature, based on milk sampling from seven mothers reports that methylphenidate is present in human milk, which resulted in infant doses of 0.16% to 0.7% of the maternal weight-adjusted dosage and a milk/plasma ratio ranging between 1.1 and 2.7. There are no reports of adverse effects on the breastfed infant and no effects on milk production. Long-term neurodevelopmental effects on infants from stimulant exposure are unknown. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for Focalin and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from Focalin or from the underlying maternal condition.

Clinical Considerations

Monitor breastfeeding infants for adverse reactions, such as agitation, insomnia, anorexia, and reduced weight gain.

8.4 Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of Focalin have been established in pediatric patients ages 6 to 17 years in two adequate and well-controlled clinical trials [see Clinical Studies (14)].

The safety and effectiveness of Focalin in pediatric patients less than 6 years have not been established.

The long-term efficacy of Focalin in pediatric patients has not been established.

Long-Term Suppression of Growth

Growth should be monitored during treatment with stimulants, including Focalin. Pediatric patients who are not growing or gaining weight as expected may need to have their treatment interrupted [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)].

Juvenile Animal Toxicity Data

Rats treated with racemic methylphenidate early in the postnatal period through sexual maturation demonstrated a decrease in spontaneous locomotor activity in adulthood. A deficit in acquisition of a specific learning task was observed in females only. The doses at which these findings were observed are at least 6 times the MRHD of 60 mg/day given to children on a mg/m2 basis.

In a study conducted in young rats, racemic methylphenidate was administered orally at doses of up to 100 mg/kg/day for 9 weeks, starting early in the postnatal period (postnatal Day 7) and continuing through sexual maturity (postnatal week 10). When these animals were tested as adults (postnatal Weeks 13 to 14), decreased spontaneous locomotor activity was observed in males and females previously treated with 50 mg/kg/day (approximately 4 times the MRHD of 60 mg of racemic methylphenidate given to children on a mg/m2 basis) or greater, and a deficit in the acquisition of a specific learning task was seen in females exposed to the highest dose (8 times the MRHD given to children on a mg/m2 basis). The no effect level for juvenile neurobehavioral development in rats was 5 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.5 times the MRHD given to children on a mg/m2 basis). The clinical significance of the long-term behavioral effects observed in rats is unknown.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Focalin has not been studied in the geriatric population.


9.1 Controlled Substance

Focalin contains dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride, a Schedule II controlled substance.

9.2 Abuse

CNS stimulants, including Focalin, other methylphenidate-containing products, and amphetamines have a high potential for abuse. Abuse is characterized by impaired control over drug use despite harm, and craving.

Signs and symptoms of CNS stimulant abuse include increased heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and/or sweating, dilated pupils, hyperactivity, restlessness, insomnia, decreased appetite, loss of coordination, tremors, flushed skin, vomiting, and/or abdominal pain. Anxiety, psychosis, hostility, aggression, and suicidal or homicidal ideation have also been observed. Abusers of CNS stimulants may chew, snort, inject, or use other unapproved routes of administration which may result in overdose and death [see Overdosage (10)].

To reduce the abuse of CNS stimulants, including Focalin, assess the risk of abuse prior to prescribing. After prescribing, keep careful prescription records, educate patients and their families about abuse and on proper storage and disposal of CNS stimulants [see How Supplied/Storage and Handling (16)] , monitor for signs of abuse while on therapy, and reevaluate the need for Focalin use.

9.3 Dependence


Tolerance (a state of adaptation in which exposure to a drug results in a reduction of the drug’s desired and/or undesired effects over time) can occur during chronic therapy with CNS stimulants, including Focalin.


Physical dependence (which is manifested by a withdrawal syndrome produced by abrupt cessation, rapid dose reduction, or administration of an antagonist) can occur in patients treated with CNS stimulants, including Focalin. Withdrawal symptoms after abrupt cessation following prolonged high-dosage administration of CNS stimulants include dysphoric mood; fatigue; vivid, unpleasant dreams; insomnia or hypersomnia; increased appetite; and psychomotor retardation or agitation.


Human Experience

Signs and symptoms of acute methylphenidate overdosage, resulting principally from overstimulation of the CNS and from excessive sympathomimetic effects, may include the following: vomiting, agitation, tremors, hyperreflexia, muscle twitching, convulsions (may be followed by coma), euphoria, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, sweating, flushing, headache, hyperpyrexia, tachycardia, palpitations, cardiac arrhythmias, hypertension, mydriasis, and dryness of mucous membranes, and rhabdomyolysis.

Overdose Management

Consult with a Certified Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) for latest recommendations.

All resources are included in as near-original form as possible, meaning that the information from the original provider has been rendered here with only typographical or stylistic modifications and not with any substantive alterations of content, meaning or intent.

This site is provided for educational and informational purposes only, in accordance with our Terms of Use, and is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner or other qualified health professional.

Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2021. All Rights Reserved.