Ritalin

(methylphenidate)

3.5/ 5 average rating with 526 reviewsforRitalin
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Helps you focus and stay alert.

Skip Upsides & Downsides section. Skip to side effects section.

Our bottom line

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.

Lowest price near you
  • Lowest price with coupon
    $46.10
Quick facts about Ritalin
  • Drug class: Mental health
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (methylphenidate)

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.
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What to expect from Ritalin, on one page

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People’s experience with Ritalin

526reviews so far. What do you think?

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.
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What to expect from Ritalin, on one page

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How it works

Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a stimulant that treats narcolepsy and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by increasing norepinephrine and dopamine activity in the brain, which affects attention and behavior.

Quick facts about Ritalin
  • Drug class: Mental health
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (methylphenidate)

Dosage forms

  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
People’s experience with Ritalin

526reviews so far. What do you think?

Prices and coupons

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What to expect when you take Ritalin (methylphenidate) for ADHD (children)

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  • First few hoursHours
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  • Effectiveness
  • Full effects
  • First few hoursHours
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  • Possible side effects
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lowered appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Stomach pain
  • Weight loss
Skip side effects section. Skip to risks and warnings section.

Side effect rates for Ritalin (methylphenidate)

  • Lowered appetite
    25%25%
  • Headache
    22%22%
  • Dry mouth
    14%14%
  • Nausea
    13%13%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    12%12%
  • Anxiety
    8%8%
  • Weight loss
    7%7%
  • Dizziness
    7%7%
  • Irritability
    6%6%
  • Fast heartbeat
    5%5%
  • Sweating
    5%5%
  • Depression
    4%4%
  • Stomach pain
    2%2%
  • Loss of appetite
    2%2%
  • Vomiting
    2%2%
  • Blurry vision
    2%2%
  • Aggressive behavior
    2%2%
0%
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30%
40%
50%
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80%
Where we got our data »

The placebo bar shows how common a side effect was for people taking a sugar pill instead of Ritalin.

Ritalin (methylphenidate)
Placebo

People taking Ritalin felt side effect more

People taking Ritalin felt side effect less

No difference

Risks and Warnings for Ritalin (methylphenidate)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • History of drug abuse
    • Alcoholism

    Ritalin (methylphenidate) has a risk of abuse and dependence. Take only what's prescribed by a doctor to minimize risks of abuse, overdose, and side effects. Misuse of this drug may cause it to not work as well. If you have a history of drug abuse or alcoholism, there are other medications that may be more appropriate for your ADHD.

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Common concerns from people taking Ritalin (methylphenidate)

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Alcohol
  • Don't take it with alcohol to avoid more severe side effects.
  • Not sure
    Big hassle
    Reviewed Ritalinon 3/15/201731 F, 45kg and 156cm height. No alcohol, smoking or caffeine and no depression or anxiety. A graduate but constantly lack motivation and focus on tasks. Titaration - 18mg concerta, to 27mg to 36mg. Attention and focus improved, however, medication wore off within 5-6hrs, no side effects, improved sleep but decreased appetite. 54mg, more side effects and no benefits. Cough, increased sweating, worsened PMS, muscle spasms (fingers, toes, calves), forgetfulness.
    31
    Woman
    A few months
    ADHD
Food
  • Worth it
    Some hassle
    Reviewed Ritalinon 10/26/2015You need to take it early, with food. I find for best effect, take it as soon as you wake up, quickly followed by a breakfast with slow digesting carbohydrates, such as porridge, cereals or toast. It helps it release into the body gently
    24
    Woman
    Two years or more
Sleep
  • If you are having trouble sleeping, try taking your last daily dose before 6pm.