Snorting Focalin (Insufflation) Effects And Dangers

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on July 31, 2023

Focalin is a prescription stimulant that can be recreationally abused by snorting. People who snort Focalin may develop an addiction and experience negative side effects that impact mental health and physical conditions.

Dangers Of Snorting Focalin

Focalin (dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride) is a prescription drug primarily used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Because it is a stimulant, it is an effective treatment for people with narcolepsy. When abused or used recreationally, such as through snorting, this drug can produce feelings of high energy and euphoria.

Why Would A Person Snort Focalin XR?

Focalin creates a rush of energy, euphoria, and positive feelings when snorted, and much like other ADHD medications, Focalin is available in both immediate and extended-release formulas.

People who crush and snort Focalin will typically use the extended-release capsules (XR) because of the larger amount of active ingredients and because snorting bypasses the pill’s release of those ingredients.

By snorting drugs, a person will get more immediate effects by drug absorption into the tissues in the nasal passages. While the drug’s effects are stronger, there are significant dangers.

The sudden rush of dexmethylphenidate in the system creates a potential for high blood pressure and increased heart rate that can cause long-term heart problems.

Short-Term Effects Of Snorting Focalin

As a central nervous system stimulant (CNS stimulant), Focalin is similar to Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin, except that Focalin is not an amphetamine.

Focalin acts on the brain’s dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, which helps with focus and lessens hyperactive tendencies.


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When used appropriately, Focalin has a positive effect on ADHD. When snorted or overused, side effects can include dangerous overdose symptoms, along with uncomfortable withdrawals due to dependence.

Short-term effects of Focalin abuse include:

  • insomnia
  • headache
  • vomiting/nausea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • nervousness and jitteriness
  • lost appetite
  • stomach ache
  • heartburn
  • drowsiness

Dangerous nervous system side effects include uncontrollable movement and loss of coordination. A person may also experience suicidal ideation and thoughts of harming others.

Long-Term Effects Of Snorting Focalin

Long-term abuse of uppers like Focalin may result in serious side effects like heart problems, circulatory issues, and worsened mental health.

People who recreationally use Focalin may experience symptoms of serotonin syndrome, which can result in long-term brain damage and death.

Some symptoms that are associated with Focalin abuse are:

  • depression
  • aggressive behavior
  • paranoia and hallucinations
  • mood swings
  • fever
  • verbal tics
  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • chest pain
  • irregular heartbeat
  • slurred speech
  • dizziness
  • limb weakness or numbness
  • reddening and swelling of the face, eyes, tongue, throat, and lips
  • blurred vision or worsened vision
  • rash
  • hives
  • itching
  • peeling skin or blisters
  • joint pain

In addition to the general side effects of Focalin, both immediate-release and XR formulas of the drug can have dangerous drug interactions for people who are taking antidepressants or medications for bipolar disorder.

Risk Of Overdose

When combined with other drugs or alcohol, the risk of sudden death from a Focalin overdose cannot be ignored.

The stimulant effects on the heart and respiratory system, especially over the long-term, may become too much for the body to maintain.

Signs of a Focalin overdose can include the following:

  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • heart attack
  • fever
  • extreme sweating
  • hallucinations and psychosis
  • hostility
  • anxiety
  • extreme happiness
  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • unconsciousness
  • dilated pupils
  • abnormally excited mood
  • restlessness
  • insomnia
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of coordination
  • flushed skin
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • thoughts of harming others
  • suicidal thoughts
  • agitation
  • muscle twitching and shakes
  • seizures
  • confusion

Focalin Addiction And Withdrawal Symptoms

When people snort Focalin for a long time or in high doses, their brain may stop making its own dopamine and norepinephrine. With the drug no longer in their system, they may go through withdrawals.

During the first day of withdrawal, people can become agitated and have mood swings that accompany nausea, fatigue, and heart palpitations.

Further symptoms like depression, irritability, and lost appetite can last upwards of a week. Difficulty sleeping and depression can take upwards of a month to subside, although they can last longer.

Withdrawal symptoms from Focalin abuse are not typically deadly, but they can include:

  • heart rhythm variation
  • change in blood pressure variation
  • depression
  • extreme fatigue
  • anxiety
  • trouble staying asleep or going to sleep
  • weight loss

Find Treatment For Substance Abuse Today

Using methods of abuse like snorting or injecting can be one sign of drug addiction. If you are facing this, call us today to learn more about your substance treatment options.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on July 31, 2023


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