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Focalin for Weight Loss & the Metabolism

by
author image Darla Ferrara
Writing since 1999, Darla Ferrara is an award-winning author who specializes in health, diet, fitness and computer technology. She has been published in "Mezzo Magazine" and Diet Spotlight, as well as various online magazines. Ferrara studied biology and emergency medical technology at the University of Nebraska and Southeast Community College.
Focalin for Weight Loss & the Metabolism
Pills spilling out of a bottle. Photo Credit Vladyslav Danilin/iStock/Getty Images

Focalin, or dexmethylphenidate, is to help treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Side effects of this drug include weight loss. Although you may lose some pounds and increase your metabolism with Focalin, this is not the purpose of the medicine. Taking a prescription medication to lose weight is something you should discuss with your doctor. You should only take Focalin if your doctor feels it is the right treatment for you.

Focalin

Focalin is a central nervous system stimulant. The central nervous system acts as a control center, sending out information to all areas of the body to regulate timing and processing. Stimulants enhance alertness and promote movement. For this reason, Focalin may speed up your metabolism, the process in which your body converts food to energy. Individuals trying to lose weight often focus on metabolism as a tool to improve their success, but metabolism plays a small role in overall weight loss, according to MayoClinic.com. Metabolism does influence how much energy you have, but to sustain weight loss, you must reduce calorie intake.

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Weight Loss

Weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you eat. Permanent weight loss comes from changing the way you eat and increasing your activity. Focalin may suppress the appetite, which can lead to short-term weight loss. Once you start eating normally, the pounds may come back. Focalin is not an effective tool for permanent weight loss. A doctor may prescribe this drug as a treatment for a medical condition, and taking it may help you lose weight. To maintain weight loss, however, you must change your lifestyle. Start eating a low-fat, healthy diet that includes lots of fiber and begin an exercise plan. If losing weight is a goal, talk to your doctor about how to structure a diet and tools that can help.

Treatment

If your doctor decides that Focalin is appropriate for your situation, follow the dosage instructions carefully. Some derivatives of Focalin are time-release capsules that you take just once daily. Other forms require you take several pills each day. You should follow the dosage directions provided with the medication. Ingest the pill with or without food. Drugs.com recommends that if you miss a dose, skip that pill and wait until the next dose. Do not take two doses at one time. This may result in an overdose. Do not use someone else’s prescription of Focalin as a weight loss aid. Focalin can be habit forming, warns MayoClinic.com.

Side Effects

When taking this medication, you may have difficulty sleeping. Other side effects include heartburn, stomach pain, twitching, gas, throat pain, loss of appetite and possibly weight loss. If while taking Focalin you develop blurred vision or feel like your heart is racing, call your doctor. Symptoms of a Focalin overdose include change in mood, chest pain, enlarged pupils, anxiety, dry mouth, dizziness, hallucinations, headache and hyperventilation. If you suspect you or someone you know has taken too many pills, call 9-1-1.

Warning

You should not take Focalin if you have glaucoma, Tourette syndrome, heart problems or severe anxiety. Do not take this medication if on an MAO — monoamine oxidase — inhibitor. Tell your doctor about any medications you are taking. This includes herbal supplements and vitamins. If you, or anyone in your family has a history of mental problems such as bipolar disorder, Focalin may not be right for you. Focalin may decrease the effectiveness of high blood pressure medications and increase the side effects of other prescription drugs, such as Clonidine.

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