Summary: Ritalin / Methyl Phenidate is a PRESCRIPTION ONLY drug for helping patients with a number of mental disorders like hyper-activity, attention-deficit disorders, autism, etc. It is included here only for guidance about what to tell your doctor, and NOT FOR SELF MEDICATION



METHYL PHENIDATE is available as Ritalin brand, in tablet strengths of 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and slow release forms containing 20 mg.


Methylphenidate (meth-ill-FEN-i-date) belongs to the group of medicines called central stimulants. It is used to treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Methylphenidate works by increasing attention and decreasing restlessness in children and adults who are overactive, cannot concentrate for very long or are easily distracted, and are impulsive. This medicine is used as part of a total treatment program that also includes social, educational, and psychological treatment.

Methylphenidate is also used in the treatment of narcolepsy (uncontrollable desire for sleep or sudden attacks of deep sleep).

This medicine is available only with a doctor's prescription. Prescriptions cannot be refilled. A new written prescription must be obtained from your doctor each time you or your child needs this medicine.

Methylphenidate is available in the following dosage forms:

Extended-release tablets

Proper Use of This Medicine

If you are taking the long-acting form of this medicine:


The dose of methylphenidate will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of methylphenidate. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The number of tablets that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using methylphenidate.

For attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder:

For short-acting oral dosage form (tablets):

For long-acting oral dosage form (extended-release tablets):

For narcolepsy:

For short-acting oral dosage form (tablets):

For long-acting oral dosage form (extended-release tablets):

Storage—To store this medicine:

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Less common


With long-term use or at high doses

Symptoms of overdose

Agitation; confusion (severe); convulsions (seizures); dryness of mouth or mucous membranes; false sense of well-being; fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat; fever; headache (severe); increased blood pressure; increased sweating; large pupils; muscle twitching; overactive reflexes; seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there; trembling or tremors; vomiting

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More common

Less common

After you stop using this medicine, your body may need time to adjust. The length of time this takes depends on the amount of medicine you were using and how long you used it. During this period of time check with your doctor if you notice any of the following side effects:

Acknowledgement: This text is based upon the matter given in USP DI® and is only meant as a guide, with no commercial interest.
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