What Is Ritalin? What Does Ritalin Do?
Ritalin is the brand name formulation of methylphenidate that is most associated with the medication treatment of ADHD. It’s generic name is methylphenidate hydrochloride. It is a central nervous system stimulant ADHD medication FDA approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) in children ages 6-12, adolescents, and adults up to age 65.
Ritalin may improve focus, and decrease impulsivity and hyperactive behavior, three hallmark ADHD symptoms. It contains the same active ingredient as ADHD medications like Concerta and Daytrana. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Ritalin is a federally controlled substance (“Schedule II Stimulant”) because it can be abused or lead to dependence.
Ritalin is also FDA-approved for the treatment of narcolepsy.
Give in 2–3 divided doses preferably 30–45mins before meals. Usual dose: 20–30mg/day. Max 60mg/day.
<6yrs: not established. ≥6yrs: initially 5mg twice daily before breakfast and lunch. May increase by 5–10mg weekly; max 60mg/day.
During or within 14 days of MAOIs.
- Boxed Warning:
Abuse and dependence.
Side Effects of Ritalin
Most people taking Ritalin do not experience any side effects. That said, the most common side effects associated with Ritalin are as follows:
- Decreased appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased heart rate
- Weight loss
- Other possible side effects include that some people believe that the stimulant medications slowed growth in some children, priapism (a penis erection that does not resolve after more than four hours), and eyesight changes or blurred vision.
If side effects are bothersome or do not go away in a day or two, talk to your doctor. Most people taking this medication do not experience any of these side effects.