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- What is methylphenidate, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for methylphenidate?
- Is this drug available as a generic in generic form?
- Do I need a prescription for methylphenidate?
- What are the side effects of methylphenidate?
- What is the dosage for methylphenidate?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with methylphenidate?
- Is methylphenidate safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about this drug?
What is methylphenidate, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Methylphenidate is a medication that stimulates the central nervous system (CNS or brain) in a manner that is similar to the amphetamines; however, its actions are milder than those of the amphetamines. An additional difference is that methylphenidate produces more noticeable effects on mental activities than on motor activities. Methylphenidate and amphetamines both have abuse potential. In treating children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), methylphenidate produces a calming effect. This results in a reduction in hyperactivity and an improvement in attention span. Methylphenidate also is used to treat excessive sleepiness. Methylphenidate was approved by the FDA in 1955.
What brand names are available for methylphenidate?
What are the side effects of methylphenidate?
The most common side effects with methylphenidate are:
Insomnia can be limited by taking the drug before noon. For children taking methylphenidate for ADHD, the most common side effects are loss of appetite, abdominal pain, weight loss, and sleep problems. The rate and severity of these side effects are less than that seen with dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine).
Other important side effects of methylphenidate include:
- involuntary movements,
- chest pain,
- increased heart rate,
- increased blood pressure, and
There have been rare reports of Tourette's syndrome, a syndrome in which there are uncontrollable tics such as grimacing occurring with methylphenidate use. Because of the potential for side effects, methylphenidate should be used with caution by patients who have relatives with Tourette's syndrome or have the syndrome themselves or who have severe anxiety, seizures, psychosis, emotional instability, major depression, glaucoma, or motor tics.
Sudden discontinuation of long-term methylphenidate therapy may unmask depression. Gradual withdrawal, under supervision, is recommended.
Methylphenidate is habit forming and should be used cautiously in individuals with a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Chronic abuse can lead to tolerance and psychological dependence leading to abnormal behavior.
Priapism defined as painful and nonpainful penile erection lasting more than 4 hours, have been reported in pediatric and adult patients treated with stimulants. The erection usually resolves when the drug is stopped. Prompt medical attention is required in the event of suspected priapism.
What is the dosage for methylphenidate?
The dose of methylphenidate is adjusted based on patients' responses. It may be given once, twice, or three times daily depending on formulation.
The recommended dose for Concerta is 18-72 mg once daily.
The recommended dose for Ritalin LA is 10-60 mg once daily and for regular Ritalin the recommended dose is 10-60 mg daily in 2 or 3 divided doses.
Which drugs or supplements interact with methylphenidate?
The stimulation effects of methylphenidate on the CNS can be additive when used with other chemicals and medications that stimulate the CNS, such as caffeine (found in coffee, tea, or cola drinks), and pseudoephedrine or phenylpropanolamine (found in many cough-and-cold preparations). The combination of methylphenidate and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), for example, isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and procarbazine (Matulane), should not be taken with methylphenidate since a hypertensive crisis (severely high blood pressure) may occur. Moreover, methylphenidate should not be given to any patient within 14 days of receiving such an inhibitor. The blood pressure lowering effects of medications used to treat hypertension may be reduced by methylphenidate. As a result, blood pressure needs to be monitored when starting or stopping methylphenidate in patients who are receiving medications for controlling their blood pressure.
Is methylphenidate safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
It is not known if methylphenidate is secreted in breast milk.
What else should I know about this drug?
What preparations of methylphenidate are available?
- Tablets: 5, 10, and 20 mg (Ritalin);
- Sustained-release tablets (Ritalin SR): 20 mg;
- Long acting tablets (Ritalin LA): 20, 30, and 40 mg.
- Extended release tablets (Concerta): 18, 27, 36, and 54 mg.
- Chewable tablets (Methylin): 2.5, 5, and 10 mg;
- Solution (Methylin): 5 mg/5 ml, 10 mg/5 ml.
- Extended release tablets (Methylin ER, Metadate ER): 10, 20 mg.
- Extended release capsules (Metadate): 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 mg.
How should I keep methylphenidate stored?
Tablets should be kept at room temperature, 15 C - 30 C (59 F - 86 F).
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Drug addiction is a chronic disease that causes drug-seeking behavior and drug use despite negative consequences to the user and those around him. Though the initial decision to use drugs is voluntary, changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect a person's self-control and ability to make the right decisions and increase the urge to take drugs. Drug abuse and addiction are preventable.
Paraphilias are characterized by sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviors involving unusual objects or activities. Exhibitionism, fetishism, frotteurism, pedophilia, sadism, transvestitism, voyeurism, and sexual masochism are examples of paraphilias. Counseling, therapy, and medications are used in the treatment of paraphilias.
Sleep Disorders (How to Get a Good Night's Sleep)
A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep needs vary from individual to individual and change throughout your life. The National Institutes of Health recommend about 7-9 hours of sleep each night for older, school-aged children, teens, and most average adults; 10-12 for preschool-aged children; and 16-18 hours for newborns. There are two stages of sleep; 1) REM sleep (rapid-eye movement), and 2) NREM sleep (non-rapid-eye movement). The side effects of lack of sleep or insomnia include: Irritability Tiredness Feeling sleepy during the day Concentration or memory problems Lack of sleep and insomnia can be caused by medical conditions or diseases, medications, stress, or pain. The treatment for lack of sleep and insomnia depends upon the cause.
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. The principal types of depression are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease (also called manic-depressive disease).
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Autism in children and adults is a developmental disorder, characterized by impaired development in communication, social interaction, and behavior. Autism is classified as a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), which is part of a broad spectrum of developmental disorders affecting young children and adults. There are numerous theories and studies about the cause of autism. The treatment model for autism is an educational program that is suitable to an individual's developmental level of performance. There is no "cure" for autism.
What Is ADHD in Children?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) causes the following symptoms in children: excessive activity, problems concentrating, and difficulty controlling impulses. Stimulant medications are the most common medication used to treat ADHD.
Fragile X Syndrome
Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited form of mental retardation. It's caused by a mutation on the X chromosome. People with Fragile X syndrome suffer from physical, social, emotional, speech, language, sensory, intelligence, and learning impairments. There is no definitive treatment for Fragile X, though there are ways to minimize the symptoms.
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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Teens
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in teens is a disruption of neurocognitive functioning. Genetics contribute to ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD in teens include inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, or a combination of these. Treatment may include cognitive behavioral therapy, behavior therapy, medication, or alternative therapies.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that tends to occur as the days grow shorter in the fall and winter. Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include tiredness, fatigue, depression, irritability, body aches, poor sleep, and overeating.
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What Causes Tourette Syndrome?
The exact cause of Tourette syndrome isn't known. It is likely to be caused by an interplay between genetic and environmental factors such as certain infections. Recent research on Tourette syndrome has found problems in certain brain regions and neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine) that transmit messages between the nerve cells. These abnormalities may be responsible for the symptoms in Tourette syndrome.
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