Methylphenidate (US brand names Ritalin®, Ritalin SR®, Ritalin LA®, and generic) is a central nervous system stimulant. Here is basic information about this medication.
On this page, we present basic information about this medication. Other articles on this website with more advanced information and tips related to this medication are linked to under Related Pages below.
1. Attention deficit disorders
2. Narcolepsy (Ritalin®, Ritalin SR® only)
Mechanism of Action/ Pharmacodynamics
Methylphenidate is a central nervous system stimulant. While the exact mode of its therapeutic action in persons with ADHD is not known, methylphenidate:
– Blocks the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine into the presynaptic neuron AND
– Increases the release of these monoamines into the extraneuronal space.
Methylphenidate (Ritalin®) tablets
1. Children and adolescents (ages 6-17) Initial: 5 mg twice daily (before breakfast and lunch) Titration: 5—10 mg increments weekly Maximum: 60 mg daily
2. Adults 10—60 mg daily in 2-3 divided doses before meals (titrate to effect and tolerance) Average dose: 20—30 mg daily Should be taken 30-45 minutes before meals. If sleeping problems occur, last dose should be taken before 6 pm.
Methyphenidate (Ritalin SR®) sustained-release tablets
Ritalin-SR tablets have a duration of action of approximately 8 hours. Ritalin-SR® tablets may be used in place of Ritalin® tablets in children (ages 6-12), adolescents (ages 13-17), and adults when the 8-hour dosage of Ritalin-SR® corresponds to the titrated 8-hour dosage of Ritalin®. SR Tablets should not be chewed or crushed.
Methylphenidate (Ritalin LA®) extended-release capsules
Initial: 20 mg orally once daily
Titration: 10—20 mg increments per week
Maximum: 60 mg once daily in the morning
Extended-release capsules should be taken once daily in the morning.
Capsules may be swallowed as whole capsules or alternatively may be administered by sprinkling the capsule contents on a small amount of applesauce.
Dosage forms and strengths
Tablets (US brand name Ritalin® and generic): 5 mg, 10 mg (scored), and 20 mg (scored) Sustained-release tablets (US brand name Ritalin SR® and generic): 20 mg Extended-release capsules (US brand name Ritalin LA® and generic): 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, and 60 mg
Potential side effects
Please see THIS PAGE for a handout listing both the common and less common side effects of this medication along with the percentages of patients who report them.
Important! Please refer to the full Prescribing Information (see link below) before prescribing this medication.
Prescribing information for methylphenidate (Ritalin®, Ritalin SR®)
Prescribing information for methylphenidate (Ritalin LA®) extended-release tablets
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