Methylphenidate can be habit-forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, take it for a longer time, or take it in a different way than prescribed by your doctor. If you take too much methylphenidate, you may find that the medication no longer controls your symptoms, you may feel a need to take large amounts of the medication, and you may experience unusual changes in your behavior. Tell your doctor if you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol, use or have ever used street drugs, or have overused prescription medications.
Do not stop taking methylphenidate without talking to your doctor, especially if you have overused the medication. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually and monitor you carefully during this time. You may develop severe depression if you suddenly stop taking methylphenidate after overusing it. Your doctor may need to monitor you carefully after you stop taking methylphenidate, even if you have not overused the medication, because your symptoms may worsen when treatment is stopped.
Do not sell, give away, or let anyone else take your medication. Selling or giving away methylphenidate may harm others and is against the law. Store methylphenidate in a safe place so no one else can take it accidentally or on purpose. Keep track of how much medication is left so you will know if any is missing.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with methylphenidate and each time you get more medication. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website ( Web Site) or the manufacturer's website to obtain the Medication Guide.
Methylphenidate is used as part of a treatment program to control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; more difficulty focusing, controlling actions, and remaining still or quiet than other people who are the same age) in adults and children. Methylphenidate (Methylin) is also used to treat narcolepsy (a sleep disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden attacks of sleep). Methylphenidate is in a class of medications called central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. It works by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain.
Methylphenidate comes as an immediate-release tablet, a chewable tablet, a solution (liquid), a long-acting (extended-release) suspension (liquid), an intermediate-acting (extended-release) tablet, a long-acting (extended-release) capsule, a long-acting (extended-release) tablet, a long-acting (extended-release) chewable tablet, and an extended-release (long-acting) orally disintegrating tablet (tablet that dissolves quickly in the mouth). The long-acting tablet, orally disintegrating tablets, and capsules supply some medication right away and release the remaining amount as a steady dose of medication over a longer time. All of these forms of methylphenidate are taken by mouth. The regular tablets, chewable tablets (Methylin), and solution (Methylin) are usually taken two to three times a day by adults and twice a day by children, preferably 35 to 40 minutes before meals. Adults who are taking three doses should take the last dose before 6:00 pm, so that the medication will not cause difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep. The intermediate-acting tablets are usually taken once or twice a day, in the morning and sometimes in the early afternoon 30 to 45 minutes before a meal. The long-acting capsule (Metadate CD) is usually taken once a day before breakfast; the long-acting tablet (Concerta), long-acting chewable tablet (Quillichew ER), long-acting suspension (Quillivant XR), and long-acting capsules (Aptensio XR, Ritalin LA) are usually taken once a day in the morning with or without food. The long-acting suspension (Quillivant XR) will begin to work sooner if it is taken with food. The extended-release orally disintegrating tablet (Cotempla® XR-ODT) and the long-acting capsule (Adhansia® XR) are usually taken once daily in the morning and should be taken consistently, either always with food or always without food.
Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take methylphenidate exactly as directed.
Do not try to push the extended-release orally disintegrating tablet (Cotempla® XR-ODT) through the blister pack foil. Instead, use dry hands to peel back the foil packaging. Immediately take out the tablet and place it in your mouth. The tablet will quickly dissolve and can be swallowed with saliva; no water is needed to swallow the tablet.
You should thoroughly chew the immediate-release chewable tablets and then drink a full glass (at least 8 ounces [240 milliliters]) of water or other liquid. If you take the immediate-release chewable tablet without enough liquid, the tablet may swell and block your throat and may cause you to choke. If you have chest pain, vomiting, or trouble swallowing or breathing after taking the chewable tablet, you should call your doctor or get emergency medical treatment immediately.
Swallow the intermediate-acting and long-acting tablets and capsules whole; do not split, chew, or crush them. However, if you cannot swallow the long-acting capsules (Aptensio XR, Metadate CD, Ritalin LA), you may carefully open the capsules and sprinkle the entire contents on a tablespoon of cool or room temperature applesauce or for long-acting capsules (Adhansia XR), you may open the capsules and sprinkle the entire contents on a tablespoon of applesauce or yogurt. Swallow (without chewing) this mixture immediately after preparation (within 10 minutes if taking Adhansia XR) and then drink a glass of water to make sure you have swallowed all of the medicine. Do not store the mixture for future use.
If you are taking the long-acting chewable tablet (Quillichew ER) and your doctor has told you to take part of the tablet to get the correct amount of your dose, break the 20 mg or 30 mg long-acting chewable tablet carefully along the lines that have been scored into it. However, the 40 mg long-acting chewable tablet is not scored and cannot be divided or split.
If you are taking the long-acting suspension (Quillivant XR), follow these steps to measure the dose:
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of methylphenidate and gradually increase your dose, not more often than once every week.
Your condition should improve during your treatment. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen at any time during your treatment or do not improve after 1 month.
Your doctor may tell you to stop taking methylphenidate from time to time to see if the medication is still needed. Follow these directions carefully.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking methylphenidate,
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how late in the day you should take a missed dose of your medication so that it will not cause difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep. However, if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Methylphenidate may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
Methylphenidate may cause sudden death in children and teenagers, especially children or teenagers with heart defects or serious heart problems. This medication also may cause sudden death, heart attack or stroke in adults, especially adults with heart defects or serious heart problems. Call your doctor right away if you or your child has any signs of heart problems while taking this medication including: chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication.
Methylphenidate may slow children's growth or weight gain. Your child's doctor will watch his or her growth carefully. Talk to your child's doctor if you have concerns about your child's growth or weight gain while he or she is taking this medication. Talk to your child's doctor about the risks of giving methylphenidate to your child.
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature, away from light and excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Store methylphenidate in a safe place so that no one else can take it accidentally or on purpose. Keep track of how many tablets or capsules or how much liquid is left so you will know if any medication is missing.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
If you are taking methylphenidate long-acting tablets (Concerta), you may notice something that looks like a tablet in your stool. This is just the empty tablet shell, and this does not mean that you did not get your complete dose of medication.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your response to methylphenidate.
This prescription is not refillable. Be sure to schedule appointments with your doctor on a regular basis so that you do not run out of medication.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
¶ This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: May 15, 2019.