Compare Ritalin vs. Kapvay

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

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Ritalin (methylphenidate)

Prescription only

Kapvay (clonidine)

Prescription only
Helps you focus and stay alert.

Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a first-choice treatment for ADHD that comes in many different forms, but you need to take this medication more often than alternatives.

3.5/ 5 average rating with 526 reviewsforRitalin
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.

Upsides
  • First-choice medication to treat ADHD because it is cheap and effective.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) is used with counseling and other non-drug therapies to treat ADHD.
  • Available as a generic medication.
  • Available in many different forms: extended-release and immediate-release tablets, chewable tablet, and liquid.
  • Preferred medicine for elderly with ADHD or narcolepsy because it is safer than alternatives for this population.
  • 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
  • Need to take Ritalin (methylphenidate) 2 or 3 times a day compared to other ADHD medications which you can take once daily.
  • Can raise your blood pressure and pulse, so its not safe for people with heart problems.
  • It's a controlled medication (CII), so you may need to get a new prescription each month from your doctor.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) may affect growth in children and teens in some cases.
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate) contains a mixture of active and inactive compounds (dexmethylphenidate and methylphenidate, respectively), which may not work as well for some people.
  • 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.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
  • Extended release
Price
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Reviews
526 reviews so far
60%
saidit'sworth it
42%
saiditworked well
19%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
17possible side effects
  • Lowered appetite
    25%
  • Headache
    22%
  • Dry mouth
    14%
  • Nausea
    13%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    12%
  • Anxiety
    8%
  • Weight loss
    7%
  • Dizziness
    7%
  • Irritability
    6%
  • Fast heartbeat
    5%
  • Sweating
    5%
  • Depression
    4%
  • Stomach pain
    2%
  • Loss of appetite
    2%
  • Vomiting
    2%
  • Blurry vision
    2%
  • Aggressive behavior
    2%
See more detailed side effects
12possible side effects
  • Sleepiness
    19%
  • Fatigue
    14%
  • Headache
    7%
  • Upper abdominal pain
    7%
  • Decreased appetite 
    6%
  • Dizziness
    5%
  • Insomnia
    4%
  • Aggression
    2%
  • Mood changes
    2%
  • Emotional disorders
    2%
  • Irritability
    2%
  • Stuffy nose
    2%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Abuse and dependence
    • History of drug abuse
    • Alcoholism
  • Serious or life-threatening heart problems
    • History of heart problems
  • Aggressive behavior and psychiatric symptoms
    • History of psychotic episodes
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • History of Tourette's syndrome
  • Height and weight delay in children
    • Children
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
  • Circulation problems in the hands and feet
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Low blood pressure and low heart rate
  • Sleepiness
    • Taking with alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • High blood pressure
    • Stopping Kapvay (clonidine) suddenly
See more detailed risks and warnings