Common Brand Name(s): Ritalin
Important: How To Use This Information
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
Misuse or abuse of methylphenidate can result in serious (possibly fatal) heart and blood pressure problems.
This medication can be habit-forming and should be used cautiously by people who have mental/mood disorders or a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you have a personal or family history of a substance use disorder. Do not increase your dose, use it more often, or use it for a longer time or in a different way than prescribed. Doing so may result in a decrease in the effect of this drug, drug dependence, or abnormal thoughts/behavior.
Your doctor may monitor you for a while after the medication is stopped, especially if you have taken this drug for a long time or in high doses. (See also How to Use section.)
This medication is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - ADHD. It works by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain. Methylphenidate belongs to a class of drugs known as stimulants. It can help increase your ability to pay attention, stay focused on an activity, and control behavior problems. It may also help you to organize your tasks and improve listening skills.
This medication is also used to treat a certain sleep disorder (narcolepsy).
How To Use
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking methylphenidate and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 2 or 3 times a day. This medication is best taken 30 to 45 minutes before a meal. However, if you have stomach upset, you may take this medication with or after a meal or snack. Taking this medication late in the day may cause trouble sleeping (insomnia).
Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Your doctor may direct you to gradually increase or decrease your dose. Also, if you have used it for a long time, do not suddenly stop using this drug without consulting your doctor.
If you suddenly stop using this medication, you may have withdrawal symptoms (such as depression, suicidal thoughts, or other mental/mood changes). To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Withdrawal is more likely if you have used methylphenidate for a long time or in high doses. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have withdrawal.
When used for a long time, this medication may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.
Though it helps many people, this medication may sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lower the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
Nervousness, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, weight loss, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or headache may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
This medication may raise your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly and tell your doctor if the results are high.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
- signs of blood flow problems in the fingers or toes (such as coldness, numbness, pain, or skin color changes)
- unusual wounds on the fingers or toes
- fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat
- mental/mood/behavior changes (such as agitation, aggression, mood swings, abnormal thoughts, thoughts of suicide)
- uncontrolled muscle movements (such as twitching, shaking)
- sudden outbursts of words/sounds that are hard to control
- vision changes (such as blurred vision)
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including:
- symptoms of a heart attack (such as chest/jaw/left arm pain, shortness of breath, unusual sweating)
- symptoms of a stroke (such as weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, confusion)
Rarely, males (including young boys and teens) may have a painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 or more hours while using this medication. Caregivers/parents should also be watchful for this serious side effect in boys. If a painful or prolonged erection occurs, stop using this drug and get medical help right away, or permanent problems could occur. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
- itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
- severe dizziness
- trouble breathing
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
See also Warning section.
Before taking methylphenidate, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to dexmethylphenidate; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
- high blood pressure
- blood circulation problems (such as Raynaud's disease)
- heart problems (such as irregular heartbeat, heart failure, previous heart attack, problems with heart structure)
- family history of heart problems (such as sudden cardiac death, irregular heartbeat)
- mental/mood conditions (especially anxiety, tension, agitation)
- personal/family history of mental/mood disorders (such as bipolar disorder, depression, psychosis, suicidal thoughts)
- personal/family history of uncontrolled muscle movements (motor tics, Tourette's syndrome)
- overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
- seizure disorder
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
If used for a long time, this drug may affect a child's growth rate, weight, and final adult height. To reduce the risk, the doctor may recommend briefly stopping the medication from time to time. Check the child's weight and height regularly, and consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially trouble sleeping, weight loss, or chest pain.
During pregnancy, methylphenidate should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
This medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Taking MAO inhibitors with this medication may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction. Avoid taking MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, safinamide, selegiline, tranylcypromine) during treatment with this medication. Most MAO inhibitors should also not be taken for two weeks before treatment with this medication. Ask your doctor when to start or stop taking this medication.
Methylphenidate is very similar to dexmethylphenidate. Do not use medications containing dexmethylphenidate while using methylphenidate.
This medication may interfere with certain medical/laboratory tests (including brain scan for Parkinson's disease), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: vomiting, agitation, confusion, sweating, flushing, muscle twitching, hallucinations, seizures, loss of consciousness.
Do not share this medication with others. Sharing it is against the law.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as blood pressure, complete blood count, height/weight monitoring in children) may be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
There are different brands and forms of this medication available. Not all have the same effects. Do not change brands or forms without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near bedtime or near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Different brands of this medication have different storage needs. Check the product package for instructions on how to store your brand, or ask your pharmacist. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised March 2019.
Copyright(c) 2019 First Databank, Inc.
Conditions of use: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information in not intend to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects nor should it be construed in indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.