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Methylphenidate (By mouth)

Methylphenidate (meth-il-FEN-i-date)

Treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. This medicine is a stimulant.

Brand Name(s):

Concerta, Metadate CD, Metadate ER, Methylin, Quillivant XR, Ritalin, Ritalin LA, Ritalin-SR

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to methylphenidate. Do not use this medicine if you have glaucoma, or if you are anxious, tense, or agitated most of the time. Do not use this medicine if you have muscle tics or a history of Tourette syndrome. Do not use this medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate® within the past 14 days. Do not use Metadate CD® if you have severe high blood pressure, severe chest pain or heart rhythm problems, heart failure, a recent heart attack, an overactive thyroid, fructose intolerance, glucose-galactose malabsorption, or sucrase-isomaltase insufficiency.

How to Use This Medicine:

Long Acting Capsule, Liquid, Long Acting Suspension, Tablet, Chewable Tablet, Long Acting Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Take the immediate-release tablet 30 to 45 minutes before meals. Take the last dose of the day before 6 PM if you have problems falling asleep.
  • The extended-release form of this medicine is taken once a day, usually in the morning. Swallow the capsule or tablet whole with water or other liquids. Do not crush, break, or chew it.
  • If you cannot swallow the extended-release capsule whole, carefully open the capsule and sprinkle the medicine on a tablespoonful of applesauce. Swallow this mixture right away and drink some water. Do not save the mixture for a later time.
  • Tell your doctor if you cannot swallow the extended-release tablet whole. A different form of the medicine may be needed.
  • For the extended-release suspension, shake the bottle well for at least 10 seconds just before you measure each dose. Use the dispenser that comes with this medicine to measure the dose.
  • If you take the extended-release tablet, part of the tablet may pass into your stools. This is normal and is nothing to worry about.
  • This medicine is part of an ADHD treatment program that may also include counseling or special education. Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about all treatment measures.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.Throw away any mixed extended-release suspension that you do not use after 4 months.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you also use an antacid (such as Gaviscon®, Maalox®, Mylanta®, Rolaids®), blood pressure medicine (such as amlodipine, atenolol, clonidine, hydrochlorothiazide, lisinopril, metoprolol, Benicar®, Cozaar®, Diovan®), a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®, Jantoven®), cold or allergy medicine, medicine for depression (such as amitriptyline, citalopram, clomipramine, desipramine, fluoxetine, imipramine, nortriptyline, sertraline, Cymbalta®, Effexor®, Elavil®, Lexapro®, Pristiq®), medicine for mental illness (such as haloperidol, Haldol®), or medicine for seizures (such as phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone, Dilantin®, Mysoline®).
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have epilepsy, eye or vision problems, heart disease, heart rhythm problems, high blood pressure, or thyroid problems. Tell your doctor if you have a history of seizures, heart attack, stroke, depression or mental illness, or drug or alcohol problems. Also tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has tried to commit suicide or talked about suicide.
  • This medicine may cause serious heart or blood vessel problems. This may be more likely in patients who have a family history of heart disease. Check with your doctor right away if you have chest pain, trouble breathing, changes in vision, or fainting while using this medicine.
  • This medicine can be habit-forming. Do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor if you think your medicine is not working.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you or your family notices any unusual changes in behavior, such as aggression, hostility, agitation, irritability, or suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Also tell your doctor if you have hallucinations or any unusual thoughts, especially if they are new or getting worse quickly.
  • This medicine may cause slower growth in children. Your child's doctor will need to check your child's height and weight at each visit.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy, drowsy, or have trouble seeing. Do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine several days before you have surgery or medical tests.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Chest pain that may spread to your arms, jaw, back, or neck, trouble breathing, nausea, unusual sweating
  • Extreme energy, mood or mental changes, confusion, agitation, unusual behavior
  • Fast, slow, pounding, or uneven heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, or fainting
  • Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • Seizures
  • Severe headache, trouble seeing, blurred vision

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling mildly anxious, irritable, restless, or nervous
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight loss

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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