Compare Ritalin vs. Dexedrine

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

Concerta
(Methylphenidate)

Dexedrine
(Dextroamphetamine)

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.Helps you stay awake and focus. Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) is an effective and cheap medication used to treat ADHD, but it can be habit-forming and is not used for long-term treatment.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.770873786407767Ritalin
Reviews for Concerta (Methylphenidate)
59%
of people say Concerta (Methylphenidate) is worth it
41%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine)
90%
+31% vs. Concerta (Methylphenidate)
76%
+35% vs. Concerta (Methylphenidate)
24%
5% vs. Concerta (Methylphenidate)
Side effects
RitalinDexedrine

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

More about Ritalin side effects »

We haven’t found good data for Dexedrine side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Dexedrine »
How it works
RitalinDexedrine
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.Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) is a stimulant. It treats narcolepsy and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by increasing norepinephrine and dopamine activity in the brain.
Type of medication
RitalinDexedrine
StimulantPrescription only
StimulantPrescription only
Available as
RitalinDexedrine
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Oral solution
  • Liquid
  • Patch
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
RitalinDexedrine
Risk factors for serious side effects
RitalinDexedrine
  • History of heart problems
  • History of psychotic episodes
  • History of Bipolar Disorder
  • Children ages 7 to 10
  • History of drug abuse
  • History of seizures
      Detailed Concerta (Methylphenidate) risks & warnings »
      • History of heart problems
      • History of drug abuse
      • History of psychotic episodes
      • History of bipolar disorder
      • Children
      • History of seizures
      • Women of childbearing age
      • Breastfeeding
      • Use of MAO inhibitors
      Detailed Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      RitalinDexedrine
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      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.

      See the FDA package insert
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      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.

      See the FDA package insert
      Alcohol
      • Patients should avoid alcohol since it'll cause worse side effects from Concerta (Methylphenidate).
      • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
      No specific alcohol-related info.
      Food
      No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
      Kidneys and liver
      No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
      Sex
      • There have been reports of men having an erection lasting more than 4 hours while on Concerta (Methylphenidate). This has been rare and usually happened after a person's dose of Concerta (Methylphenidate) was increased. If not treated in time, this can cause permanent damage to your penis, including impotence. Talk to your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if this happens.
      No specific sex-related info.
      Sleep
      No specific sleep-related info.
      • Take your last dose before early afternoon, otherwise you won't be able to sleep.
      Weight
      • Appetite suppression may occur. In clinical studies, long-term treatment with stimulants similar to Concerta (Methylphenidate) caused a temporary slowing of growth rate (both height and weight) in children ages seven to ten years. Doctors should monitor children's growth during treatment.
      • Appetite suppression can occur. In clinical studies, long-term treatment with stimulants similar to Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) caused a temporary slowing of growth rate (both height and weight) in children who started the medication before they started puberty. Doctors should monitor children's growth during treatment.
      Upsides and benefits
      RitalinDexedrine
      • 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.
      • Recommended as a first-choice medication to treat ADHD in both adults and children.
      • Available as a generic, so it is cheaper than other medications used to treat ADHD.
      • Available in an immediate release and extended release form, which allows for once or twice a day dosing.
      Downsides and risks
      RitalinDexedrine
      • 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.
      • Fruit juice lowers the amount of Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) that gets into your body.
      • If you want to stop taking Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine), you have to talk to your doctor since stopping cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms.
      • Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) is usually not used long-term since it can be habit-forming.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      RitalinDexedrine
      • 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.
      • Take your last dose before early afternoon, otherwise you won't be able to sleep.
      • Don't take with fruit juice or vitamin C, because they'll lower the amount of Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) that gets into your body.
      • Can affect your concentration, so don't drive or do anything that requires concentration until you know how your body reacts to it.
      • If you've been taking Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) for a while and decide to stop it, you'll experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop it too fast.
      • Can cause reduced appetite, insomnia, and restlessness.
      Learn more
      More about RitalinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about DexedrineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert