Compare dexamethasone vs. Ritalin

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Decadron
(dexamethasone)

Concerta
(methylphenidate)

Calms down your immune system. Decadron (dexamethasone) is a long-acting oral corticosteroid that is very effective in treating allergic reactions and immune conditions, however, if you're taking Decadron (dexamethasone) for a long time, there can be serious side effects.Helps you focus and stay alert. Concerta (Methylphenidate) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD. It comes in many different forms and is also available as a generic. That said, the immediate-release form needs to be taken more frequently than other alternatives.
Find lowest prices
Powered by GoodRxSave on your next prescription. Be sure you’re getting the lowest price for your medication, even if you have insurance.
Coupons for dexamethasone
Best available price for 30 (50mg) capsules of cyclophosphamide
Coupons for Ritalin
Best available price for 90 (10mg) tablets of ritalin
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected

Not enough reviews for this treatment. Help someone out, leave a review!

Have you used Decadron (dexamethasone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Ritalin
60%
+30% better vs. dexamethasone
42%
+48% better vs. dexamethasone
19%
+19% better vs. dexamethasone
526 reviews
Have you used Concerta (methylphenidate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
dexamethasoneRitalin

The dexamethasone FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about dexamethasone side effects »
  • Upper abdominal pain 5%
  • Decreased appetite 5%
  • Headache 5%
  • Dry mouth 5%
  • Nausea 5%
  • Sleep difficulty 5%
  • Anxiety 5%
  • Dizziness 5%
  • Weight loss 5%
  • Irritability 5%
More Ritalin side effects »
How it works
dexamethasoneRitalin
Decadron (dexamethasone) is a corticosteroid that is similar to what your body naturally makes. It reduces swelling and other immune responses that can cause you pain, discomfort, or harm.Concerta (Methylphenidate) is a stimulant. Researchers don't know exactly how it works for ADHD, but it increases norepinephrine and dopamine activity in the brain, which affects attention and behavior.
Type of medication
dexamethasoneRitalin
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
dexamethasoneRitalin
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Oral solution
  • Liquid
  • Patch
Used for
dexamethasoneRitalin
  • Allergies
Risk factors for serious side effects
dexamethasoneRitalin
  • Lowering dose or stopping too quickly especially after long-term treatment
  • Stress such as trauma, surgery or infection
  • Taking other immunosuppressants
  • Long-term treatment
  • Not vaccinated against viral diseases
Detailed Decadron (dexamethasone) risks & warnings »
  • History of heart problems
  • History of psychotic episodes
  • History of Bipolar Disorder
  • Children ages 7 to 10
  • History of drug abuse
Detailed Concerta (methylphenidate) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Price
dexamethasoneRitalin
  • Can control immune responses that are causing you discomfort and works quickly to relieve symptoms like swelling, rash, asthma attacks, and pain.
No price related info.
Alcohol
dexamethasoneRitalin
No alcohol related info.
  • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
  • Patients should avoid alcohol since it'll cause worse side effects from Concerta (Methylphenidate).
Food
dexamethasoneRitalin
  • Take Decadron (dexamethasone) in the morning with food to minimize stomach upset. If taking an evening dose, take 2-3 hours before bedtime to help you sleep better at night.
No food related info.
Kidneys and liver
dexamethasoneRitalin
  • Decadron (dexamethasone) can cause high blood pressure, increased salt retention and increased processing of electrolytes by your kidneys. If you have heart failure, high blood pressure, or kidney damage, talk to your doctor.
No kidneys and liver related info.
Pain
dexamethasoneRitalin
  • Taking Decadron (dexamethasone) increases the risk of injury to the lining of your stomach and intestine including irritation and tears. You should avoid alcohol/alcoholic beverages because it can worsen stomach irritation. Tell your doctor and get medical care right away if you have stomach pain or bloody/dark stools when you go to the bathroom.
  • Decadron (dexamethasone) can increase your chance of infection. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, chills, flu-like signs, cough, pain with passing urine, or a wound that will not heal.
No pain related info.
Upsides and benefits
dexamethasoneRitalin
  • Effective in treating many conditions.
  • Can improve energy and appetite.
  • Can control immune responses that are causing you discomfort and works quickly to relieve symptoms like swelling, rash, asthma attacks, and pain.
  • Has long-term benefit in calming down the immune system and keeping it from causing your body harm, such as in autoimmune conditions.
  • Available in generic form.
  • First-choice medication to treat ADHD.
  • Concerta (Methylphenidate) is used in combination with counseling or other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
  • Available as a generic medication.
  • Available in many different forms: extended-release and immediate-release oral tablets, chewable immediate-release tablets, liquid, suspension, and skin patches.
  • Capsules can be opened and sprinkled in water or applesauce for people who don't like swallowing pills.
Downsides and risks
dexamethasoneRitalin
  • Many side effects, particularly with long term use.
  • Side effects include mood changes, trouble sleeping and increase in blood pressure and blood sugar at higher doses.
  • Long-term use can cause problems with skin, bone, eye health and put you at a higher risk for infections.
  • If you've been using corticosteroids for more than 2 weeks, you will need to work with a doctor to get off the medicine slowly.
  • Limited studies conducted with use of steroids during pregnancy or breastfeeding - potential harm to unborn baby.
  • The immediate-release form needs to be taken two or three times a day.
  • After taking Concerta, the tablet shell can be seen in your stool, but don't be concerned since the medication was still absorbed by your body.
  • The second or third dose needs be taken by early afternoon, otherwise insomnia can affect you that night.
  • Patients should avoid alcohol since it'll cause worse side effects from Concerta (Methylphenidate).
  • It's a controlled medication and should be locked up to prevent potential abuse.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
dexamethasoneRitalin
  • The dose and how long you need to take the medicine for depends on your specific condition and response.
  • Take Decadron (dexamethasone) in the morning with food to minimize stomach upset. If taking an evening dose, take 2-3 hours before bedtime to help you sleep better at night.
  • Decadron (dexamethasone) can cause an increase in appetite and water retention, as well as changes in mood.
  • Decadron (dexamethasone) can increase blood pressure and blood sugar with higher doses. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, it is important that you check your blood pressure and blood sugar regularly while taking this medicine.
  • If you need to take Decadron (dexamethasone) for longer than 2 weeks, you may need to gradually stop taking this medication. Take it exactly as your doctor prescribed and do not stop suddenly.
  • Decadron (dexamethasone) can increase your chance of infection. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, chills, flu-like signs, cough, pain with passing urine, or a wound that will not heal.
  • Since it comes in many different forms, there are different requirements for how to take or use each type. Make sure you know how to take the one you have.
  • Store Concerta (Methylphenidate) in a locked area to prevent abuse.
  • Take it early in the morning to prevent insomnia later that night.
  • It can cause changes in your mood.
  • Can raise your blood pressure and pulse, so it's not safe for people with heart problems.
  • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
Learn more
More about dexamethasoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Decadron (dexamethasone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about RitalinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Concerta (methylphenidate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it