Methylphenidate

This form:

Pronounced

"meth-ill-FEN-eh-date"

Common brand names:

Ritalin

Uses

Methylphenidate is used as part of a treatment program (including psychological, educational, and social measures) to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - ADHD. 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). Methylphenidate is a mild stimulant that is thought to work by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain.

How to Use This Medication

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 immediately.

When used for a long time, this medication may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.

Along with its benefits, this medication may rarely cause abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction). This risk may be increased if you have abused alcohol or drugs in the past. Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lessen the risk of addiction.

Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.

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Information expires June 2015.