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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.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Concerta (Methylphenidate)
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Side effects

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

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How it works
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
StimulantPrescription only
Available as
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Oral solution
  • Liquid
  • Patch
Used for (click to learn more)
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • 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 »
      Pregnancy category
      • Patients should avoid alcohol since it'll cause worse side effects from Concerta (Methylphenidate).
      • Don't take it with alcohol or drugs.
      No specific food-related info.
      Kidneys and liver
      No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
      • 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 sleep-related info.
      • 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.
      Upsides and benefits
      • 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
      • 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
      • 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 RitalinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert