Ritalin is the trade name of Methylphenidite, a psychostimulant that is used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed it in 1955 and doctors began prescribing it from the sixties. Today, it is a widely prescribed drug and commonly used to treat ADHD. The drug is produced in Spain, US, Pakistan, and Mexico. It is also available under the brand names of Daytrana, Concerta, and Methylin.
The drug is sold as Ritalin in Australia, Canada, UK, Germany, Spain, and Israel, as Rilatine in Belgium, as Ritalina in Argentina, Brazil, and Portugal, and as Hynidate in Thailand.
Ritalin is a prescription drug and several countries with strict drug laws do not permit consumers to purchase it without a prescription. Any attempt to purchase Ritalin online without a prescription could be a punishable offence, so consumers should study the drug laws in their country before ordering Ritalin online.
Ritalin is available at a number of reputed and licensed online pharmacies, where consumers can purchase it even if they do not have a prescription. However, consumers need to be careful while purchasing Ritalin online and should do so only after first making sure that the pharmacy is licensed.
As far as possible, consumers should purchase Ritalin only with a doctor’s prescription as the wrong use of Ritalin could be dangerous.
How to Take Ritalin
Ritalin should be taken exactly as the doctor prescribes, not on one’s own as higher doses of Ritalin can be dangerous. A Ritalin tablet must be taken around half an hour before one’s meals although the extended release (XR) versions of Ritalin tablets can be taken at any time.
Patients who are taking XR Ritalin tablets must take care not to chew, break, or crush the tablet as it is designed to release small quantities of the medication into the blood stream. Breaking the tablet could lead to the release of the entire dose at a time.
An XR Ritalin capsule can be opened and the medication taken with sauce or pudding, but patients should swallow the medication without chewing it or saving part of it. The empty capsule must be immediately discarded.
Ritalin should never be taken late in the evening as it can cause insomnia.
Patients who are on Ritalin and plan to undergo a surgical procedure should inform their doctors well in advance as they may need to stop taking Ritalin for the surgery.
Ritalin is an addictive drug that needs to be taken with care. Patients should carefully track the amount of Ritalin they take in order to avoid getting addicted to it.
Ritalin Side Effects
Some patients can get allergic to Ritalin. If a patient who is on Ritalin experiences difficulties in breathing, swollen throat and tongue and face, and hives, he/she must immediately stop taking Ritalin and get medical help.
Ritalin has a number of serious side effects such as:
- Irregular heart beat
- Fever, headache, sore throat
- Skin rash
- Aggressive behaviour, restlessness, hallucination, and tics
- High blood pressure and blurred vision
- Anxiety and confusion
- Nausea, lack of appetite, and stomach pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Weight loss
The above is not a comprehensive list of Ritalin side effects. If patients do not feel comfortable when they are on Ritalin, they should consult their doctor.
Before Taking Ritalin
Before taking their first dose of Ritalin, patients should make sure that they have not been taking drugs such as Nardil, Azilect, Eldepryl, Emsam, Furoxone, and others for the past fortnight as these drugs can interact with Ritalin and cause serious problems.
Patients should also make sure that they are not allergic to methylphenidate. This drug is also not for patients suffering from glaucoma, hyperactive thyroid, high blood pressure, chest pain, anxiety, and hereditary conditions such as sucrose-isomaltase insufficiency, fructose intolerance, and glucose-galactose malabsorption. Ritalin is also not for people who have recently recovered from a heart attack, those who have a family or personal history of Tourette’s Syndrome, and those addicted to drugs and alcohol. Patients should, therefore, reveal their entire medical history to their doctors before beginning to take Ritalin.
No medical studies have been done so far about the effects of Ritalin on the fetus. Female patients should, therefore, inform their doctors if they are trying for a baby or are pregnant before beginning the treatment. The medical world does not know if methylphenidate can get into breast milk and cause unwanted symptoms in a baby. To be on the safe side, lactating mothers should avoid using Ritalin if they are breast feeding their child.
Prolonged use of Ritalin can lead to stunted growth in children. Therefore, children who are on Ritalin should be regularly checked to ensure that they are growing taller and gaining weight normally. Ritalin should never be given to children below the age of six unless the doctor has prescribed it.
Patients who have taken an overdose of Ritalin can suffer from symptoms such as tics, nausea, agitation, confusion, seizure, sweating, hallucination, increased heart beat, dry mouth, blurry vision, and fainting. In such a case, patients should contact the nearest Poison Control Centre or get emergency medical assistance.
A missed dose can be taken as soon as patients remember; however, patients can forget the missed dose if it is already time to take their next dose. Under no circumstances should patients take the missed dose and the next dose at the same time as this could cause unwanted reactions.
- Why is Ritalin used and how does it work?
Ritalin comprises a drug called methylphenidate, which stimulates the central nervous system (CNS) and reacts with brain and nerve chemicals that lead to hyperactivity. The drug, therefore, is used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), and narcolepsy.
- Who should not use Ritalin?
Ritalin should not be used by patients who have taken MAO inhibitors during the past fortnight as MAO inhibitors can react with Ritalin and cause serious problems.
People who are allergic to methylphenidate or are suffering from high blood pressure, hyperactive thyroid, glaucoma, Tourette’s syndrome, chest pain, certain hereditary conditions, and anxiety should not take Ritalin. Patients who have just recovered from a heart attack must avoid Ritalin.
- What drugs does Ritalin interact with?
Ritalin interacts with Warfarin, a substance that thins blood, cold medication containing decongestants, citric acid, potassium citrate, high/low blood pressure medication, diet pills, seizure medication, antidepressants, and others. Patients should never take Ritalin without first telling their doctor about all the herbal products, vitamin pills, and over-the-counter drugs they are taking at present.
- What are the benefits of Ritalin?
Ritalin greatly benefits people who are impulsive, hyperactive, and have difficulties concentrating because of dopamine deficiency in their brains. Ritalin raises dopamine level in the brain, helping ADHD patients to relax and concentrate.
- Is Ritalin addictive?
Ritalin is addictive, but patients can avoid getting addicted to it by using it as per their doctors’ orders. Prolonged use of Ritalin could lead to addiction, and once this happens, consumers will not be able to stop taking Ritalin without getting unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.