Snorting Focalin (Insufflation) Effects And Dangers

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D on February 12, 2021

Focalin is a prescription stimulant that may be recreationally used and abused by snorting. People that 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 of its stimulant effects, 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.

Much like other ADHD medications, Focalin is available in both immediate and extended-release formulas.

People that crush and snort Focalin will typically use the extended-release capsules (XR) because of the larger amount of active ingredients.

However, snorting Focalin may come with adverse to dangerous side effects, including the risk of addiction and overdose.

Why Would A Person Snort Focalin XR?

A person might snort Focalin in an effort to experience a rush of energy, euphoria, and positive feelings.

By snorting the drug, a person can bypass the extended-release formulation’s safety measures for a gradual, all-day effect of focus that occurs when Focalin is used according to dosing instructions.

By snorting Focalin, a person will get more immediate effects by drug absorption into the blood vessels in the nose.

Abusing drugs like Focalin is more common in people that have a history of substance use disorders involving alcohol or other prescription medications.

While the drug’s effects are strong when pills are crushed and snorted, there are significant dangers.

The sudden rush of dexmethylphenidate in the system creates a high 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 lessen hyperactive tendencies.

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When used appropriately, Focalin has a number of potential side effects. When snorted or overused, side effects can include dangerous overdose symptoms, along with uncomfortable withdrawals due to dependence.

Short-term effects of Focalin use and abuse include:

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

When abused, these common side effects are present, but the dangerous nervous system side effects will become more pronounced.

Snorting Focalin may intensify symptoms, in addition to the physical effects of insufflation.

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.

In addition to the general side effects of Focalin, both immediate-release and XR formulas of the drug can have dangerous complicating drug interactions.

Long-term side effects from Focalin abuse can worsen reactions for some people with bipolar disorder or people taking antidepressants.

People that recreationally use Focalin and other drugs used for the treatment of ADHD 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

Risk Of Overdose

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

The stimulant effects on the heart and respiratory system 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 a person snorts Focalin for a long time or in high doses, their brain may stop making its own dopamine and norepinephrine. If the drug is no longer in the system, the body may go through withdrawals.

Over the first day, a person 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. Sleep issues and depression can take upwards of a month to subside, although they can last longer.

Withdrawals from Focalin abuse are not typically deadly, but they can still be a challenge to manage.

Key side effects include:

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

Treatment For Focalin Abuse

Abusing ADHD medications through methods like snorting can lead to more life-threatening substance use disorders.
If you or a loved one is misusing ADHD drugs, consider getting help.

Call us today to learn more about your substance treatment options. Our treatment specialists can answer your questions about the best path for you to begin a sober life.

We have a range of inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities that can provide a safe environment for your recovery. Call us today for more information. We’re here to help.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D on February 12, 2021
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