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Brand & Generic Names

Ritalin Ritalin SR

Basic Information

  • Habit forming? Yes
  • Available as generic? Yes
  • Prescription needed? Yes
  • Drug class: Sympathomimetic


  • Treatment for hyperactive children.
  • Treatment for narcolepsy (uncontrollable attacks of sleepiness).

Dosage & Usage Information

How to take:
Tablet or extended-release tablet--Swallow with liquid or food to lessen stomach irritation. If you can't swallow whole, crumble tablet and take with liquid or food.

When to take:
At the same times each day, preferably on an empty stomach.

If you forget a dose:
Take as soon as you remember up to 2 hours late. If more than 2 hours, wait for next scheduled dose (don't double this dose).

What drug does:
Stimulates brain to improve alertness, concentration and attention span. Calms the hyperactive child.

Time lapse before drug works:
1 month or more for maximum effect on child.
30 minutes to stimulate adults.

Don't take with:
Any other medicine without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.


Rapid heartbeat, fever, confusion, vomiting, agitation, hallucinations, convulsions, coma.


  • Dial 911 (emergency) or O (operator) for an ambulance or medical help. Then give first aid immediately.
  • If patient is unconscious and not breathing, give mouth-to- mouth breathing. If there is no heartbeat, use cardiac massage and mouth-to-mouth breathing (CPR). Don't try to make patient vomit. If you can't get help quickly, take patient to nearest emergency facility.
  • See EMERGENCY Information.

Possible Adverse Reactions or Side Effects


    In case of overdose, see Overdose section.


  • Mood change.
  • Nervousness, insomnia, dizziness, headache, appetite loss.


  • Rash or hives; chest pain; fast, irregular heartbeat; unusual bruising; joint pain; psychosis; uncontrollable movements; unexplained fever.
  • Nausea, abdominal pain.


  • Blurred vision, sore throat, red spots under skin, convulsions.
  • Unusual tiredness.

Warnings & Precautions

Don't take if:

  • You are allergic to methylphenidate.
  • You have glaucoma.
  • Patient is younger than 6.

Before you start, consult your doctor:

  • If you have epilepsy.
  • If you have high blood pressure.
  • If you take MAO inhibitors.

Over age 60:
Adverse reactions and side effects may be more frequent and severe than in younger persons.

No proven harm to unborn child. Avoid if possible. Consult doctor.

No proven problems. Consult doctor.

Infants & children:
Use only under medical supervision for children 6 or older.

Prolonged use:

  • Rare possibility of physical growth retardation.
  • Talk to your doctor about the need for follow-up medical examinations or laboratory studies to check blood pressure, complete blood counts (white blood cell count, platelet count, red blood cell count, hemoglobin, hematocrit), growth charts.

Skin & sunlight:
No problems expected.

Driving, piloting or hazardous work:
No problems expected.

Don't discontinue abruptly. Don't discontinue without doctor's advice until you complete prescribed dose, even though symptoms diminish or disappear. Report to your doctor any new symptoms of depression, unusual behavior, unusual weakness or tiredness.

Dose must be carefully adjusted by doctor.

Possible Interaction with Other Drugs

------------------------ -----------------------
Acebutolol Decreased effects of both drugs.
Anticholinergics* Increased anticholinergic effect.
Anticoagulants*, Increased anticoagulant effect.
Anticonvulsants* Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Antidepressants, Increased antidepressant effect.
tricyclic (TCA)* Decreased methylphenidate effect.
Antihypertensives* Decreased antihypertensive effect.
Central nervous system Decreased effect of CNS depressant.
(CNS) depressants*
Cisapride Decreased methylphenidate effect.
Dextrothyroxine Increased methylphenidate effect.
Guanadrel Decreased guanadrel effect.
Guanethidine Decreased guanethidine effect.
MAO inhibitors* Dangerous rise in blood pressure.
Minoxidil Decreased minoxidil effect.
Nitrates* Possible decreased effects of both
Oxprenolol Decreased effects of both drugs.
Oxyphenbutazone Increased oxyphenbutazone effect.
Phenylbutazone Increased phenylbutazone effect.
Pimozide May mask the cause of tics.
Terazosin Decreases effectiveness of

Possible Interaction with Other Substances

--------------- ---------------
Alcohol: None expected.
Caffeine drinks. May raise blood pressure.
Cocaine: High risk of heartbeat
irregularities and high blood
Foods containing May raise blood
tyramine* pressure.
Marijuana: None expected.
Tobacco: None expected.

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