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Dexmethylphenidate Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 23, 2023.

Applies to dexmethylphenidate: oral capsule extended release, oral tablet.


Oral route (Capsule, Extended Release; Tablet)

Abuse, Misuse, and AddictionDexmethylphenidate hydrochloride has a high potential for abuse and misuse, which can lead to the development of a substance use disorder, including addiction. Misuse and abuse of CNS stimulants, including dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride, can result in overdose and death, and this risk is increased with higher doses or unapproved methods of administration, such as snorting or injection.Before prescribing dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride, assess each patient’s risk for abuse, misuse, and addiction. Educate patients and their families about these risks, proper storage of the drug, and proper disposal of any unused drug. Throughout dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride treatment, reassess each patient’s risk of abuse, misuse, and addiction and frequently monitor for signs and symptoms of abuse, misuse, and addiction.

Serious side effects of Dexmethylphenidate

Along with its needed effects, dexmethylphenidate may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking dexmethylphenidate:

More common

Less common

Incidence not known

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking dexmethylphenidate:

Symptoms of overdose

Other side effects of Dexmethylphenidate

Some side effects of dexmethylphenidate may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

Incidence not known

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to dexmethylphenidate: oral capsule extended release, oral tablet.


The most commonly reported adverse reactions have included dyspepsia, decreased appetite, headache, and anxiety.


Frequency not reported: Angina, arrhythmia, palpitations, increased or decreased pulse, tachycardia, increased or decreased blood pressure, cerebral arteritis and/or occlusion

Postmarketing reports: Peripheral vasculopathy (including Raynaud's phenomenon)[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Psychiatric disorders (up to 46%), insomnia (up to 17%), feeling jittery (up to 12%), anxiety (up to 11%)

Common (1% to 10%): Depression, mood swings, irritability

Frequency not reported: Transient depressed mood, aggressive behavior, libido changes, restlessness, agitation, psychosis[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Nervous system disorders (up to 50%), headache (up to 39%)

Common (1% to 10%): Dizziness

Frequency not reported: Drowsiness, dyskinesia, headache, Tourette's syndrome, serotonin syndrome (in combination with serotonergic drugs)[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Hypersensitivity reactions (including angioedema, anaphylaxis)[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Arthralgia, muscle cramps

Postmarketing reports: Rhabdomyolysis


Very common (10% or more): GI disorders (up to 44%), dry mouth (up to 20%), abdominal pain (up to 15%)

Common (1% to 10%): Dyspepsia, nausea, vomiting

Frequency not reported: Dry mouth[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Metabolism/nutrition disorders (up to 34%), decreased appetite (up to 30%)

Common (1% to 10%): Anorexia

Frequency not reported: Weight loss during prolonged therapy, reduced weight gain, growth suppression during prolonged use in pediatric patients[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Respiratory/thoracic/mediastinal disorders (up to 16%)

Common (1% to 10%): Nasal congestion, pharyngolaryngeal pain

Frequency not reported: Nasopharyngitis, cough[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Pruritus

Frequency not reported: Scalp hair loss, hyperhidrosis, pruritus, urticaria, exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme rash, thrombocytopenic purpura[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Fever[Ref]



Frequency not reported: Priapism


Frequency not reported: Leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Abnormal liver function ranging from transaminase elevation to severe hepatic injury[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Blurred vision, difficulties in visual accommodation


1. Product Information. Focalin (dexmethylphenidate). Mikart Inc. 2001.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.