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How to Know if The ADHD Drug Ritalin is Right for You or Your Child.

Updated on January 16, 2011

What is Ritalin, What Dosages is it Prescribed In, and How Long Does it Last?

Ritalin or methylphenidate is pscyhostimulant that increases the brains levels of dopamine and nor epinephrine helping hyperactivity, concentration, impulse control, and ADHD in children and adults. This ADD and ADHD FDA approved prescription drug is available in instant release dosages of 5, 10, and 20 mg tablets. Sustained release ritalin (ritalin SR) in dosages of 20 mg tablets, and ritalin long acting (ritalin LA) comes in controlled release capsules of 10, 20, 30, and 40 mgs.

Regular methylphenidate takes anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes to kick in, lasts anywhere between 3 to 4 hours, and is often administered 2 to 4 times a day for those with ADHD. Ritalin SR lasts approximately 6 and a half to 8 hours, and is prescribed once daily but may be taken with a regular ritalin as a booster. Many doctors may advise to administer regular ritalin and ritalin SR 30 to 45 minutes before a meal. Ritalin LA can be taken with or without food and lasts anywhere between 8 to 12 hours. Ritalin LA is prescribed in once daily dosages. For all three forms of ritalin you should drink a full glass of water when taking the pill.

Potential Side Effects of Ritalin and Other Uses

The most common potential side effects of ritalin include loss of appetite, increased anxiety, insomnia, dizziness, increased blood pressure, stomach pain, and dry mouth, though many ADD and ADHD patients experience little to no side effects. Ritalin may induce other rare side effects and can interact with other medications, so any health conditions or drugs you are or have taken should be discussed with your doctor. In order for ritalin to work correctly and to decrease the chance of side effects, one should avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.

Ritalin may also be prescribed for narcolepsy and POTS. In rare occasions some patients may also be given ritalin for the treatment of depression, obesity, or lethargy.



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    • profile image

      Garth 

      8 years ago

      how do i know if I shouldnt take it, or if it is not right for me?

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