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Methylphenidate is a stimulant that can help treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD and narcolepsy. Most people know it as Ritalin, although many other brands of the drug are available. In this article, we explain how methylphenidate works and discuss its side effects, dosages, and risks. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of motivation and reward. More dopamine may help a person concentrate better and reduce other symptoms of ADHD.
Doctors can prescribe either immediate- or extended-release versions of the drug. The immediate-release version rapidly dissolves, producing fast that can also fade quickly. The extended-release version dissolves more slowly, offering longer lasting effects.
Therefore, doctors may sometimes prescribe the drug to treat other conditions, such as depression. Some people abuse the drug to enhance mental performance. For example, a student might take methylphenidate to help them study longer or because they believe that it How to take ritalin for adults help them perform better on a test.
Although Adderall is chemically distinct from methylphenidate, both are stimulants and popular performance-enhancing drugs. The data provide preliminary evidence that stimulants, including methylphenidate, may only have beneficial effects in people with ADHD. Making slight changes to the dosage of the drug or the way a person takes the medication may prevent some side effects. For example, a person might find that they only get dizzy when they take methylphenidate on an empty stomach or that they can prevent insomnia by taking the medication in the morning rather than in the afternoon.
There are rare cases linking methylphenidate to sudden death due to heart health problems, heart attackand stroke. The risk is higher in those who have a preexisting heart defect or heart disorder. People with heart disease should not use methylphenidate. A doctor will regularly monitor blood pressure and pulse in anyone who takes prescribed stimulants. Research on children who take Ritalin suggests that the drug may temporarily slow their growth, but more research is necessary to confirm this effect.
There is a risk of people abusing methylphenidate as a performance-enhancing drug. Methylphenidate is potentially addictive. The risk of addiction increases in people who either take it without a medical need or take higher doses than their doctor recommends. For children and adolescents taking an extended-release formula, the starting dosage for the brand Concerta is 18 milligrams mg once per day. If this is ineffective, a doctor will increase the daily dose incrementally until it is effective. The maximum daily dose is 54 mg for children aged 6—12 years and 72 mg for adolescents.
When taking immediate-release methylphenidate, a person must How to take ritalin for adults their overall daily dose into two or three parts to maintain consistent levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. For children over 6 years old, the FDA recommend a starting dosage of 5 mg twice per day if they are taking the brand Ritalin.
A doctor may gradually increase this daily dose by 5 mg or 10 mg a week, not exceeding 60 mg. For an adult taking Ritalin, the usual dosage is 20—30 mg per day. However, some people may need more or less than this, so it is vital to work directly with a doctor. People who take methylphenidate should follow the treatment regimen that How to take ritalin for adults doctor recommends.
To increase the effectiveness of Ritalin and reduce the risk of side effects, they can try:. Methylphenidate can cause dangerous side effects when a person takes it with monoamine oxidase inhibitors MAOIs or drugs that may raise blood pressure. As with other drugs, alcohol may change how methylphenidate works, so it is best to ask a doctor whether it is safe to drink while taking this medication. People with a history of alcohol use disorder and other addictions may be more likely to abuse methylphenidate, so it is crucial to discuss a full medical history with a doctor.
The FDA have approved methylphenidate to treat children over the age of 6 years. However, treatment guidelines recommend using other strategies first, including therapy and lifestyle interventions. The AAP suggest that methylphenidate may be appropriate in younger children, but only after other interventions have proved to be ineffective.
The drug label for methylphenidate classifies it as a class C drug for pregnant women, which means that studies on animals suggest that it may have negative effects. There is no high-quality research in humans to confirm its safety during pregnancy.
However, class C drugs may still be useful in cases where doctors consider the benefits to outweigh the risks. Studies on rats suggest that high doses of Ritalin may cause congenital abnormalities. Methylphenidate is not effective for everyone, and some people develop unpleasant side effects. These individuals may get better from other stimulant drugs, such as Adderall. In some cases, a doctor might recommend other drugs, such as antidepressants, to help with ADHD and related symptoms. Medication is not the only treatment for ADHD. Therapy can help children and adults manage ADHD symptoms, control their impulses and emotions, and perform better at work and school.
ADHD symptoms can range from very mild to very severe. For people with moderate-to-severe ADHD, stimulant medication may rapidly improve symptoms. Over time, a person might need to amend the dosage or switch to an alternative medication if their body develops a tolerance. Working with a doctor who is knowledgeable about How to take ritalin for adults treatment of ADHD is key. A doctor can ensure that a person has the right diagnosis, make evidence-based treatment recommendations, and monitor for side effects and drug interactions. Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD are often managed with medication.
It is important to know whether this medication is…. Concerta is a stimulant medication that helps treat the symptoms of ADHD. As the drug leaves the body, a person may experience fatigue or depression…. Concerta and Ritalin are both prescription drugs containing the active ingredient methylphenidate hydrochloride. Learn about the differences between…. There are many different ADHD medications. This article provides a list of ADHD medications and discusses side effects, risks, and benefits of…. Certain foods may help with the symptoms of ADHD, while others could worsen the condition.
In this article, we look at which foods to choose and the…. Everything you need to know about methylphenidate. Medically reviewed by Alan Carter, Pharm.
What is it? Share on Pinterest Methylphenidate increases dopamine levels in the brain, which may help a person concentrate better. Side effects and risks. Share on Pinterest Research shows that some college students without ADHD take methylphenidate to try to improve their exam performance. How to take.
Interactions with other drugs or alcohol. Safety in children and during pregnancy. Share on Pinterest Experts recommend that children with ADHD have therapy sessions to help them manage their symptoms.
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Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, Ph. What to know about the Concerta crash. Medically reviewed by Alan Carter, PharmD. What is the difference between Concerta and Ritalin? What are the best diets for ADHD?How to take ritalin for adults
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Everything you need to know about methylphenidate