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


What is Ritalin® (methylphenidate) used for?

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

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

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

How should I take Ritalin® (methylphenidate)?

Take Ritalin® exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Using this medicine improperly can cause death or serious side effects on the heart. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

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

Ritalin® normal release tablets should be taken at least 30 to 45 minutes before a meal. Extended-release Ritalin® LA capsules or Ritalin® SR tablets can be taken with or without food.

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

To make swallowing easier, you may carefully open the Ritalin® LA capsule and sprinkle the beads over a spoonful of applesauce. The applesauce should not be warm as it could affect the release properties of the medicine. Swallow the applesauce and medicine mixture without chewing. Do not save the mixture for later use. Follow with a drink of water or other liquid. Never chew or crush the capsule or the medicine beads inside the capsule.

While using this medicine, your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits. Your heart rate, blood pressure, height and weight may also need to be checked often.

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

How do I store Ritalin® (methylphenidate)?

Ritalin® is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Ritalin® in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Ritalin® 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 Ritalin® 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 Ritalin® (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 Ritalin® or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Do not use Ritalin® 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 Ritalin® 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

It is not known whether Ritalin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It is not known whether methylphenidate passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Ritalin® is not approved for use by anyone younger than 6 years old.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using Ritalin® during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Ritalin®. Ritalin® is pregnancy risk category C, 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 Ritalin® (methylphenidate)?

Common side effects may include:

  • Feeling nervous or irritable
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache

Stop taking Ritalin® and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Feeling like you might pass out
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not real)
  • New behavior problems
  • Aggression
  • Hostility
  • Paranoia
  • A seizure (convulsions)
  • Numbness, pain, cold feeling, unexplained wounds, or skin color changes (pale, red, or blue appearance) in your fingers or toes
  • Muscle twitches (tics)
  • Changes in your vision
  • Penis erection that is painful or lasts 4 hours or longer (rare)
  • Unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness (especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine)

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

Methylphenidate can affect growth in children. Tell your doctor if your child is not growing at a normal rate while using this medicine.

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.


What drugs may interact with Ritalin® (methylphenidate)?

Ritalin® 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 Ritalin® (methylphenidate)?

Ritalin® 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 Ritalin® (methylphenidate)?

Ritalin® 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
  • Seizures or epilepsy
  • Problems with the esophagus, stomach, or intestines
  • An abnormal brain wave test (EEG)
  • A history of drug or alcohol addiction


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

What is the dose of Ritalin® (methylphenidate) for an adult?


  • Administer in divided doses 2 or 3 times daily, preferably 30 to 45 minutes before meals.
  • Average dosage is 20 to 30 mg daily.
  • Some patients may require 40 to 60 mg daily. In others, 10 to 15 mg daily will be adequate.
  • Patients who are unable to sleep if medication is taken late in the day should take the last dose before 6 p.m.

SR Tablets:

  • Ritalin®-SR tablets have a duration of action of approximately 8 hours.
  • Therefore, Ritalin®-SR tablets may be used in place of Ritalin® tablets when the 8-hour dosage of Ritalin®-SR corresponds to the titrated 8-hour dosage of Ritalin®.
  • Ritalin®-SR tablets must be swallowed whole and never crushed or chewed.

What is the dose of Ritalin® (methylphenidate) for a child?

Children (6 years and over)

Ritalin should be initiated in small doses, with gradual weekly increments. Daily dosage above 60 mg is not recommended.

If improvement is not observed after appropriate dosage adjustment over a 1-month period, the drug should be discontinued.

Tablets: Start with 5 mg twice daily (before breakfast and lunch) with gradual increments of 5 to 10 mg weekly.

SR Tablets: Ritalin-SR tablets have a duration of action of approximately 8 hours.

How is Ritalin® (methylphenidate) available?

Ritalin® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Tablet and tablet, extended release: methylphenidate hydrochloride 5mg

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 Ritalin®, 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.

msBahasa Malaysia

Review Date: July 14, 2017 | Last Modified: July 14, 2017

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