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 Ritalin
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.
This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as depression, suicidal thoughts, or other mental/mood changes) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions right away.
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.
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), glaucoma, 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. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
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.