STIMULANT MEDICATIONS METHYLPHENIDATE- Concerts, Daytrana, Metadata CD, Metadata ER, Methylin Chewable, Methylin ER, Methylin Oral Suspension, PMS Methylphenidate, Ritalin, Ritalin LA, Ritalin SR DEXMETHYLPHENIDATE- Focalin, Focalln XR

Habit forming? Yes
Prescription needed? Yes
Available as generic? Yes, for some
Drug class: Central nervous system stimulant, sympathomimetic

Decreases over activity and lengthens attention span in children (and adults) with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A total treatment plan may also include educational, social and psychological therapies.

- Treatment of depression in adults.

- Treatment for narcolepsy (uncontrollable attacks of sleepiness) and other disorders.

How to take RITALIN:

- Tablet (short-acting): Swallow Ritalin with liquid. Take as directed, usually 30-45 minutes before meals or with meals if stomach upset occurs. If swallowing Ritalin is a problem, ask your pharmacist if tablet can be crushed and taken with liquid or small amount of food.

- Ritalin Skin patch: Follow instructions on label.

- Extended- or sustained-release Ritalin tablet and capsule: Swallow whole with liquid, usually before breakfast (or as directed). Do not crush tablet. Do not open capsule (unless your label states that the capsule may be opened and sprinkled over cool applesauce and then . swallowed right away).

- Oral solution or chewable tablet: Follow instructions on label.

When to take RITALIN:

- At the same times each day.

- Regular tablets are often taken at breakfast and lunch (best not to take late in day).

- Extended-release forms are usually taken in the morning.

If you forget a RITALIN dose:

- Take as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, wait for next scheduled dose (don't double this dose).

What RITALIN does:

- Stimulates brain to improve alertness, concentration and attention span. Calms the hyperactive child and Improves ability to focus.

Time lapse before drug works:

- May take 2 or more weeks to see effectiveness.

- Dosage may be increased or decreased depending on the response and side effects.

Don't take RITALIN with:

- Any other medicine or any dietary supplement without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.

SYMPTOMS: Rapid heartbeat, fever, confusion, vomiting, agitation, hallucinations, convulsions, coma.


In case of RITALIN overdose, see previous column.

Common RITALIN Side Effects:

Fast heartbeat, blood pressure increased.  Nervousness, appetite loss, trouble sleeping.

Infrequent RITALIN Side Effects:

Rash or hives, chest or joint pain, unusual bruising or bleeding, unable to control body movements, fever.  Nausea, dizziness, headache, stomach pain, drowsiness, and muscle cramps.

Rare RITALIN Side Effects:

Changed or blurred vision, unusual vocal outbursts, convulsions, abnormal or manic behavior, trouble breathing, fainting, and hallucinations, is suspicious.

Don't take RITALIN if:

- You are allergic to stimulant medications.

Before you start, consult your doctor if:

- You have epilepsy or have seizures.

- You have high blood pressure, any heart or blood vessel disorder or liver problems.

- You have glaucoma.

- You take MAO inhibitors.

- You suffer from anxiety, agitation, and tension, depressive or psychotic problems or have Tourette's syndrome or motor tics.

- You have a history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Over age 60:

- Adverse reactions and side effects may be more frequent and severe than in younger persons.


- Decide with your doctor if Ritalin's benefits justify risk to unborn child.


- It is unknown if Ritalin passes into milk.

- Avoid Ritalin or stop nursing until you finish medicine.

- Consult doctor for advice on maintaining milk supply.

Infants & children:

- Use only under medical supervision for children 6 or older.

- Regular doctor visits are important to monitor Ritalin's effectiveness and side effects.

Prolonged RITALIN use:

- Increased risk of weight loss and abnormal behaviors.

- Rare risk of physical growth retardation in children.

- Talk to your doctor about the need for follow up medical examinations or laboratory studies to check drug's effectiveness and monitor any adverse effects.

Skin & sunlight:

- No problems expected.

Driving, piloting or hazardous work:

- Don't drive, ride a bicycle or pilot aircraft until you learn how drug affects you.

- Don't work around dangerous machinery.

- Don't climb ladders or work in high places.

- Danger increases if you drink alcohol or take drugs affecting alertness and reflexes.

Discontinuing RITALIN:

- Don't discontinue without doctor's advice even if symptoms diminish or disappear.

- Withdrawal symptoms may occur after you discontinue the drug.

- Report to your doctor any new physical or emotional symptoms


- Drug may cause serious heart and psychiatric (mental) problems, including sudden death.

- Read warning information provided with prescription.

- Call doctor right away if symptoms develop (e.g., chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, or hallucinations).

- Dose must be carefully adjusted by doctor.

- Advise any doctor or dentist whom you consult about the use of this medicine.

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