Generic Name: Methylphenidate Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is methylphenidate used for?

Methylphenidate is a central nervous system stimulant. It affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.

Methylphenidate is used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and narcolepsy.

Methylphenidate may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

How should I take methylphenidate?

Take methylphenidate exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Some brands of this medicine should be taken at least 30 minutes before a meal. Extended-release methylphenidate can be taken with or without food. Follow the directions on your medicine label.

The chewable methylphenidate tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.

Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Shake the oral suspension (Quillivant) well just before you measure a dose.

Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release methylphenidate tablet. Swallow it whole. Breaking the pill may cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.

You may open the extended-release capsule and sprinkle the medicine into a spoonful of pudding or applesauce to make swallowing easier. Swallow right away without chewing. Do not save the mixture for later use. Discard the empty capsule.

To prevent sleep problems, take this medication in the morning.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using methylphenidate. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Methylphenidate is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.

How do I store methylphenidate?

Methylphenidate is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store methylphenidate in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of methylphenidate that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush methylphenidate down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using methylphenidate?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of methylphenidate or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Do not use methylphenidate if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.

You should not use methylphenidate if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • Glaucoma
  • A personal or family history of tics (muscle twitches) or Tourette’s syndrome
  • Severe anxiety, tension, or agitation (stimulant medicine can make these symptoms worse)

Some stimulants have caused sudden death in certain people. Tell your doctor if you have:

  • Heart problems or a congenital heart defect
  • High blood pressure
  • A family history of heart disease or sudden death

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using methylphenidate during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking methylphenidate. Methylphenidate is pregnancy risk category B, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from methylphenidate?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop taking methylphenidate and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeats
  • Feeling like you might pass out
  • Fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash
  • Aggression, restlessness, hallucinations, unusual behavior, or motor tics (muscle twitches)
  • Easy bruising, purple spots on your skin
  • Dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure)

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
  • Vision problems, dizziness, mild headache
  • Sweating, mild skin rash
  • Numbness, tingling, or cold feeling in your hands or feet
  • Nervous feeling, sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Weight loss

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist

Interactions

What drugs may interact with methylphenidate?

Methylphenidate may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Products that may interact with this drug are:

  • Medicine to treat depression or a psychiatric disorder
  • Blood pressure medication
  • A blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
  • A narcotic (opioid) medication
  • A cold or allergy medicine that contains a decongestant such as pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine
  • Seizure medicine

Does food or alcohol interact with methylphenidate?

Methylphenidate may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with methylphenidate?

Methylphenidate may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Health conditions that may interact with this drug are:

  • Depression, mental illness, bipolar disorder, psychosis, or suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Motor tics (muscle twitches) or Tourette’s syndrome
  • Blood circulation problems in the hands or feet
  • Problems with the esophagus, stomach, or intestines
  • Seizures or epilepsy
  • An abnormal brain wave test (EEG)
  • A history of drug or alcohol addiction

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using methylphenidate.

What is the dose of methylphenidate for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Attention Deficit Disorder

Immediate release tablets including chewable tablets (Ritalin, Methylin, methylphenidate):

  • Initial Dose: 10 mg orally 2 or 3 times daily
  • Maintenance dose: Doses may be increased weekly in increments of 5 to 10 mg up to a maximum of 60 mg per day.

Sustained release tablets (Ritalin SR, Metadate ER):

  • Initial Dose: Methylphenidate is also available as a 10 mg and 20 mg sustained release tablets with a duration of action of approximately 8 hours.
  • Maintenance Dose: The dose may be increased in weekly increments of 10 mg, up to a maximum of 60 mg/day, with the first dose taken before breakfast.

Extended release capsules (Metadate CD):

  • Initial Dose: 20 mg orally once a day in the morning before breakfast.
  • Maintenance Dose: Doses may be increased weekly in increments of 20 mg up to a maximum of 60 mg once daily in the morning.

Extended release oral suspension (Quillivant XR):

  • Initial Dose: 20 mg orally once a day in the morning before breakfast.
  • Maintenance Dose: Doses may be increased weekly in increments of 10 mg to 20 mg up to a maximum of 60 mg once daily in the morning.

Extended release capsules (Ritalin LA):

  • Initial Dose: 20 mg orally once a day in the morning before breakfast.
  • Maintenance Dose: Doses may be increased weekly in increments of 10 mg up to a maximum of 60 mg once daily in the morning.

Extended release tablets (Concerta):

  • Initial: (Methylphenidate- naive patients) 18 mg once daily in the morning before breakfast.

For patients already receiving methylphenidate:

  • Maintenance: May increase by 18 mg increments at weekly intervals up to a maximum of 72 mg once daily in the morning before breakfast.

Transdermal system (Daytrana):

Dose should be titrated to effect based on the following recommended titration schedule:

  • Week 1: 10 mg/9 hour patch daily
  • Week 2: 15 mg/9 hour patch daily
  • Week 3: 20 mg/9 hour patch daily
  • Week 4: 30 mg/9 hour patch daily

Usual Adult Dose for Narcolepsy

Immediate release tablets (Ritalin, Methylin, methylphenidate):

  • Initial Dose: 10 mg orally 2 or 3 times daily, preferably 30 to 45 minutes before meals.
  • Maintenance dose: Doses may be increased weekly in increments of 5 to 10 mg up to a maximum of 60 mg per day. In some patients, 10 to 15 mg daily may suffice.

Sustained release tablets (Ritalin SR, Metadate ER):

  • Initial Dose: Methylphenidate is also available as a 10 mg and 20 mg sustained release tablets with a duration of action of approximately 8 hours.
  • Maintenance Dose: The dose may be increased in weekly increments of 10 mg, up to a maximum of 60 mg/day, with the first dose taken before breakfast.

Extended release capsules (Metadate CD):

  • Initial Dose: 20 mg orally once a day in the morning before breakfast.
  • Maintenance Dose: Doses may be increased weekly in increments of 20 mg up to a maximum of 60 mg once daily in the morning.

Extended release tablets (Concerta):

  • Initial: (Methylphenidate- naive patients) 18 mg once daily in the morning before breakfast.

For patients already receiving methylphenidate:

  • Maintenance: May increase by 18 mg increments at weekly intervals up to a maximum of 72 mg once daily in the morning before breakfast.

What is the dose of methylphenidate for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Attention Deficit Disorder

6 years or older:

Immediate release tablets including chewable tablets (Ritalin, Methylin, methylphenidate):

  • Initial Dose: 2.5 to 5 mg orally twice daily, taken 30 to 45 minutes before breakfast and lunch.
  • Maintenance dose: Doses may be increased weekly in increments of 5 to 10 mg up to a maximum of 60 mg/day in 2 or 3 divided doses.

Sustained release tablets (Ritalin SR, Metadate ER):

  • Initial Dose: Methylphenidate is also available as a 10 mg and 20 mg sustained release tablets with a duration of action of approximately 8 hours. If dose of the sustained release tablet corresponds with the titrated dose of methylphenidate regular tablets (taken not more frequently than every 8 hours), then the sustained release tablets may be used instead of the regular tablets.
  • Maintenance Dose: The dose may be increased in weekly increments of 10 mg, up to a maximum of 60 mg/day, with the first dose taken before breakfast.

Extended release capsules (Metadate CD):

  • Initial Dose: 20 mg orally once a day in the morning before breakfast.
  • Maintenance Dose: Doses may be increased weekly in increments of 20 mg up to a maximum of 60 mg once daily in the morning.

Extended release oral suspension (Quillivant XR):

  • Initial Dose: 20 mg orally once a day in the morning before breakfast.
  • Maintenance Dose: Doses may be increased weekly in increments of 10 mg to 20 mg up to a maximum of 60 mg once daily in the morning.

Extended release tablets (Concerta):

  • Initial: (Methylphenidate- naive patients) 18 mg once daily in the morning before breakfast.
  • Maximum dose: 6 years to 12 years: 54 mg/day, over 12 years: 72 mg/day; do not exceed 2 mg/kg/day.
  • Maintenance: May increase by 18 mg increments at weekly intervals up to a maximum of 72 mg once daily in the morning before breakfast.

Transdermal system (Daytrana):

Dose should be titrated to effect based on the following recommended titration schedule:

  • Week 1: 10 mg/9 hour patch daily
  • Week 2: 15 mg/9 hour patch daily
  • Week 3: 20 mg/9 hour patch daily
  • Week 4: 30 mg/9 hour patch daily

How is methylphenidate available?

Methylphenidate is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Capsule, Extended Release, Oral: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 50 mg.

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of methylphenidate, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: July 31, 2017 | Last Modified: July 31, 2017

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