Methylphenidate / Ritalin summary:
- Methylphenidate improves attention and mood.
- With ADHD (attention deficit disorder) and narcolepsy (sleeping sickness). Sometimes in people on their deathbed, to reduce the drowsiness due to strong painkillers and to improve the mood.
- Tablets and capsules, with prolonged-release : in the morning to take . Methylphenidate works after 1 to 2 hours. Check the label to see if you should take it before, during or after breakfast . Swallow whole, without chewing.
- Extended-release tablets work for 12 hours. Capsules with sustained release 8 hours.
- Regular tablets work after 1 to 2 hours and 3 to 6 hours. Usually you use this 3 times a day. Take the last tablet no later than 4 hours before going to sleep. Otherwise, it will be difficult to fall asleep.
- You may become restless, sleepless, nervous or dizzy. Other side effects include nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite and headaches. Sometimes it helps to take the medicine with some food.
- Do not drive as long as you are dizzy, restless or nervous. Watch out with alcohol. This can worsen your judgment.
- Have you been using methylphenidate for a few weeks? Don’t stop all at once. Decrease it slowly in consultation with your doctor or pharmacist.
Methylphenidate / Ritalin Side Effects:
In addition to the desired effect, this can cause drug side effects. The main side effects are the following. Sometimes
- Headache. Consult your doctor if this is a problem for you. The dose may be reduced.
- Difficulty falling asleep, insomnia, restlessness and rarely hyperactivity. Therefore, it is important not later than 4 hours prior to bedtime and the ordinary tablets, the tablets or capsules, with prolonged-release as soon as possible ‘s to be taken in the morning.
- Nervousness. Consult your doctor if this is a problem for you.
- Less appetite, causing weight loss. You can reduce this side effect by taking the medicine with a meal. If eating is really going to be a problem, see your doctor.
- Dizziness. You can reduce this side effect by taking the medicine with a meal. Consult your doctor if this is a problem for you. The dose may be reduced.
- Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. These side effects occur mainly at the beginning of the treatment. It usually helps if you take the medicine with some food.
- Palpitations , increased heart rate and increased blood pressure . That is why some doctors check this regularly (for example every six months). Do not use methylphenidate if you have a heart problem. Consult your doctor if you have high blood pressure .
- Heart conditions, such as heart cramps (angina pectoris) and more likely to have a heart attack. This is more likely in people with heart cramps (angina pectoris) or who have previously had a heart attack. Contact your doctor if your heart spasm gets worse or if you experience sudden chest pain.
- Extra irritability and being out of balance quickly. The effect on concentration in people with ADHD may still be present. Consult with the attending physician if you feel that this additional irritability does not outweigh the improvement in concentration and attention. The dose may be too high and fewer tablets per day are needed.
- Certain mental illnesses can get worse, such as severe mental confusion and severe anxiety disorders. The doctor will usually not prescribe methylphenidate.
- Tics, such as with Tourette’s syndrome, often improve with use of this drug. But with severe tics or when using a high dose , they can sometimes also get worse. If this happens, contact your doctor. The dose may be reduced.
- Cold hands and feet more quickly. This is due to the narrowing of the blood vessels. You may be affected as long as you are taking the medicine. Provide adequate protection from the cold by wearing warm clothing, such as mittens and socks. People with Raynaud’s disease especially notice this side effect because they suffer more from cold fingers and toes. If this side effect is too bothering, contact your doctor .
- Dry mouth. This allows cavities to develop in your teeth earlier. Brush and floss extra well if you notice that you suffer from a dry mouth. If necessary, have the dentist check your teeth more often. You may also be more thirsty at times. You may also suffer from a dry nose and throat.
- Loss of spontaneity. If you notice this, ask your doctor for advice. The dosage may be slightly reduced.
- Drowsiness. This is especially difficult for activities that require your vigilance, such as driving, climbing a ladder, or monitoring a process at work. Do not engage in high-risk activities, such as driving, if you are affected by this side effect .
- Less desire to make love. In men: more difficult to get an erection and long-lasting and sometimes painful erection. If this painful erection lasts longer than four hours, you should notify your doctor. There is then a small risk of damage to the cavernous bodies in the penis.
- Muscle or joint pain , stiffness and difficulty walking and speaking. Grinding teeth and a tingling sensation in the hands or feet can also occur. Consult your doctor if this is a problem for you.
- Blurred vision, double vision, dry eyes, dizziness and weakness and muscle weakness.
- Hypersensitivity to this drug. You may notice this as a rash, itching or joint pain . Very rarely, fever or a serious skin lesion develops. Then stop using it and consult your doctor. You should not use this medicine in the future. Therefore, inform the pharmacy that you are hypersensitive to methylphenidate. The pharmacy team can then ensure that you do not receive this medicine again.
- With years of use, depression can develop. If you notice this, contact your doctor immediately so that they can assess whether you should stop using it. If you are now or have been depressed, see your doctor. This drug can trigger depression again.
- More chance of cardiac arrhythmias. You may experience sudden dizziness or you may become unconscious for a short time. If this happens, consult your doctor immediately. This is especially important for people with a certain heart rhythm disorder , namely the congenital prolonged QT interval. Do NOT use this medication if you have this heart rhythm disorder . Consult with your doctor. You may be able to switch to a different medication.
- If you have epilepsy and are not seizure-free, you may have more seizures. Consult with your doctor.
- Breast formation in men. If you stop methylphenidate this side effect will go away.
- A slightly increased risk of stroke. You notice a stroke from sudden complaints. These may include facial paralysis (crooked mouth, for example), confused speech and thinking, arm or leg paralysis, loss of vision, and tingling. Call a doctor immediately.
Consult your doctor if you are experiencing too much of any of the above side effects or if you are experiencing other side effects that you are concerned about.