Focalin (Page 4 of 6)


Focalin contains dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride, a CNS stimulant. Dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride is the d-threo enantiomer of racemic methylphenidate hydrochloride. Focalin is available as 2.5 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg strength tablets for oral administration.

Chemically, dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride is methyl α-phenyl-2-piperidineacetate hydrochloride, (R,R’)-(+)-. Its molecular formula is C14 H19 NO2 •HCl. Its structural formula is:

Dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride structural formula.

Note: * = asymmetric carbon centers

Dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride is a white to off-white powder. Its solutions are acid to litmus. It is freely soluble in water and in methanol, soluble in alcohol, and slightly soluble in chloroform and in acetone. Its molecular weight is 269.77 g/mol.

Inactive ingredients: FD&C Blue No.1 #5516 aluminum lake (2.5 mg tablets), FD&C Yellow Lake #10 (5 mg tablets). The 10 mg tablets contain no dye. Lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinized starch, sodium starch glycolate.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride is a CNS stimulant. The mode of therapeutic action in ADHD is not known.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics


Dexmethylphenidate is the more pharmacologically active d -enantiomer of racemic methylphenidate. Methylphenidate blocks the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine into the presynaptic neuron and increase the release of these monoamines into the extraneuronal space.

Cardiac Electrophysiology

A formal QT study has not been conducted in patients taking Focalin; however, a large QT effect is not expected. At the recommended maximum total daily dosage of 40 mg, Focalin XR (dexmethylphenidate) extended-release capsule does not prolong the QTc interval to any clinically relevant extent.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics


Dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride is readily absorbed following oral administration of Focalin. In patients with ADHD, plasma dexmethylphenidate concentrations increase rapidly, reaching a maximum in the fasted state at about 1 to 1.5 hours postdose. No differences in the pharmacokinetics of Focalin were noted following single and repeated twice daily dosing, thus indicating no significant drug accumulation in children with ADHD.

After single dose administration of Focalin to pediatric patients, dexmethylphenidate exposure (Cmax and AUC0-inf ) showed dose-proportional increase in the range of 2.5 mg to 10 mg. Comparable plasma dexmethylphenidate levels were achieved following single dl-threo -methylphenidate HCl doses given as capsules in twice the total mg amount (equimolar with respect to Focalin).

Approximately 90% of the dose is absorbed after oral administration of radiolabeled racemic methylphenidate. However, due to first pass metabolism the mean absolute bioavailability of dexmethylphenidate when administered in various formulations was 22% to 25%.

Effect of Food

High fat breakfast did not significantly affect Cmax or AUC0-inf of dexmethylphenidate when two 10 mg Focalin tablets were administered, but delayed Tmax from 1.5 hours post dose to 2.9 hours post dose.


The plasma protein binding of dexmethylphenidate is not known; racemic methylphenidate is bound to plasma proteins by 12% to 15%, independent of concentration. Dexmethylphenidate shows a volume of distribution of 2.65 ± 1.11 L/kg.


Plasma dexmethylphenidate concentrations declined exponentially following oral administration of Focalin. Intravenous dexmethylphenidate was eliminated with a mean clearance of 0.40 ± 0.12 L/hr/kg. The mean terminal elimination half-life of dexmethylphenidate was approximately 2.2 hours.


In humans, dexmethylphenidate is metabolized primarily via de-esterification to d -α-phenyl-piperidine acetic acid (also known as d -ritalinic acid). This metabolite has little or no pharmacological activity. There is little or no in vivo interconversion to the l-threo -enantiomer.


After oral dosing of radiolabeled racemic methylphenidate in humans, about 90% of the radioactivity was recovered in urine. The main urinary metabolite of racemic dl- methylphenidate was dl- ritalinic acid, accountable for approximately 80% of the dose. Urinary excretion of parent compound accounted for 0.5% of an intravenous dose.

Studies in Special Populations

Male and Female Patients

Pharmacokinetic parameters were similar for boys and girls (mean age 10 years).

In a single dose study conducted in adults, the mean dexmethylphenidate AUC0-inf values (adjusted for body weight) following single two 10 mg doses of Focalin were 25% to 35% higher in adult female volunteers (n = 6) compared to male volunteers (n = 9). Both Tmax and t1/2 were comparable for males and females.

Racial or Ethnic Groups

There is insufficient experience with the use of Focalin to detect ethnic variations in pharmacokinetics.

Pediatric Patients

The pharmacokinetics of dexmethylphenidate after Focalin administration have not been studied in children less than 6 years of age. When single doses of Focalin were given to children between the ages of 6 to 12 years and healthy adult volunteers, Cmax of dexmethylphenidate was similar, however, pediatric patients showed somewhat lower AUCs compared to the adults.

Patients with Renal Impairment

There is no experience with the use of Focalin in patients with renal impairment. Since renal clearance is not an important route of methylphenidate clearance, renal impairment is expected to have little effect on the pharmacokinetics of Focalin.

Patients with Hepatic Impairment

There is no experience with the use of Focalin in patients with hepatic impairment.

Drug Interaction Studies

Methylphenidate is not metabolized by cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoenzymes to a clinically relevant extent. Inducers or inhibitors of CYPs are not expected to have any relevant impact on methylphenidate pharmacokinetics. Conversely, the d- and l -enantiomers of methylphenidate did not relevantly inhibit CYP1A2, 2C8, 2C9, 2C19, 2D6, 2E1, or 3A. Clinically, methylphenidate coadministration did not increase plasma concentrations of the CYP2D6 substrate desipramine.


13.1 Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, and Impairment of Fertility


Lifetime carcinogenicity studies have not been carried out with dexmethylphenidate. In a lifetime carcinogenicity study carried out in B6C3F1 mice, racemic methylphenidate caused an increase in hepatocellular adenomas, and in males only, an increase in hepatoblastomas was seen at a daily dose of approximately 60 mg/kg/day. This dose is approximately 2 times the MRHD of 60 mg/day of racemic methylphenidate given to children on a mg/m2 basis. Hepatoblastoma is a relatively rare rodent malignant tumor type. There was no increase in total malignant hepatic tumors. The mouse strain used is sensitive to the development of hepatic tumors and the significance of these results to humans is unknown. Racemic methylphenidate did not cause any increase in tumors in a lifetime carcinogenicity study carried out in F344 rats; the highest dose used was approximately 45 mg/kg/day, which is approximately 4 times the MRHD (children) of 60 mg/day of racemic methylphenidate on a mg/m2 basis.

In a 24-week carcinogenicity study with racemic methylphenidate in the transgenic mouse strain p53+/-, which is sensitive to genotoxic carcinogens, there was no evidence of carcinogenicity. Male and female mice were fed diets containing the same concentrations as in the lifetime carcinogenicity study; the high-dose group was exposed to 60-74 mg/kg/day of racemic methylphenidate.


Dexmethylphenidate was not mutagenic in the in vitro Ames reverse mutation assay, in the in vitro mouse lymphoma cell forward mutation assay, or in the in vivo mouse bone marrow micronucleus test. In an in vitro assay using cultured Chinese Hamster Ovary cells treated with racemic methylphenidate, sister chromatid exchanges and chromosome aberrations were increased, indicative of a weak clastogenic response.

Impairment of Fertility

No human data on the effect of methylphenidate on fertility are available.

Fertility studies have not been conducted with dexmethylphenidate. Racemic methylphenidate did not impair fertility in male or female mice that were fed diets containing the drug in an 18-week continuous breeding study. The study was conducted at doses of up to 160 mg/kg/day, approximately 10 times the MRHD of 60 mg/day of racemic methylphenidate given adolescents on a mg/m2 basis.

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