Compare Ritalin vs. Kapvay

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

Concerta
(Methylphenidate)

Kapvay
(clonidine)

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.Treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Kapvay (clonidine) is one of the few medicines for ADHD that isn't a stimulant and not addictive, but it can lower your blood pressure.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.79Ritalin
Reviews for Ritalin
60%
of people (All ages) say Ritalin is worth it
42%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle
526 reviews
Have you used Concerta (Methylphenidate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Kapvay (clonidine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
RitalinKapvay
  • Upper abdominal pain 5%
  • Decreased appetite 5%
  • Headache 5%
  • Dry mouth 5%
  • Nausea 5%
  • Insomnia 5%
  • Anxiety 5%
  • Dizziness 5%
  • Weight loss 5%
  • Irritability 5%
More Ritalin side effects »
  • Aggression 3%
  • Nightmares 3%
  • Abnormal sleep related event 3%
  • Nightmare 4%
  • Emotional disorder 3%
  • Nausea 1%
  • Insomnia 4%
  • Dizziness 2%
  • Irritability 5%
More Kapvay side effects »
How it works
RitalinKapvay
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.Kapvay (clonidine) is an alpha-2 agonist. It's not entirely clear how it works for ADHD, but it lowers the activity of certain stress hormones in the brain.
Type of medication
RitalinKapvay
Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
RitalinKapvay
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Oral solution
  • Liquid
  • Patch
  • Extended release
Used for
RitalinKapvay
Risk factors for serious side effects
RitalinKapvay
  • 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 »
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Stopping Kapvay (clonidine) suddenly
Detailed Kapvay (clonidine) 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.

Alcohol
RitalinKapvay
  • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
  • Patients should avoid alcohol since it'll cause worse side effects from Concerta (Methylphenidate).
No alcohol related info.
Sleep
RitalinKapvay
No sleep related info.
  • People who take Kapvay (clonidine) can feel very sleepy during the day. It can be worse if you're taking other medicines that also make you sleepy, like pain medicines, or medicines for anxiety. Be very careful driving or doing anything that requires your full concentration until you know how your body reacts to it.
  • Can cause drowsiness, headache, dizziness, and dry mouth.
Upsides and benefits
RitalinKapvay
  • 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.
  • Can be used alone or together with a stimulant-type medicine to treat ADHD.
  • Also treats blood pressure and some nervous system and psychiatric conditions.
  • Kapvay (clonidine) is available in generic.
Downsides and risks
RitalinKapvay
  • 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.
  • Kapvay (clonidine) is not a first choice medicine to treat ADHD.
  • Kapvay (clonidine) can make you feel very dizzy or cause low blood pressure.
  • Stopping Kapvay (clonidine) suddenly can cause your blood pressure to jump and your heart to beat very fast.
  • It can take up to two weeks of taking Kapvay (clonidine) to notice any changes in behavior.
  • Kapvay (clonidine) has to be swallowed whole, which can be hard for some children to do.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
RitalinKapvay
  • 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.
  • Can cause drowsiness, headache, dizziness, and dry mouth.
  • You might have to take Kapvay (clonidine) for at least two weeks before you notice any changes.
  • Don't stop taking this medicine suddenly without talking to your doctor.
  • Swallow Kapvay (clonidine) whole. Don't chew, cut or crush the pill.
  • If you forget your daily dose of Kapvay (clonidine), skip it for that day. Don't double up the next day.
Learn more
More about RitalinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Concerta (Methylphenidate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about KapvaySide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Kapvay (clonidine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it