In order to stimulate the patient’s CNS, doctors prescribe Ritalin. Methylphenidate, its main ingredient, makes our brain and body more active.
Ritalin can be used for treating several attention deficit disorders, like ADD or ADHD. In addition, the drug can be effective in dealing with narcolepsy.
On its own, Ritalin won’t be able to cure ADHD. Doctors may use it as an additional part of the therapy (together with other methods and counseling).
What are the dangers of this drug?
The first thing you should know is that the medicine may be addictive. It’s especially dangerous for those people who have already had drug or alcohol addiction in the past.
Any misuse of Ritalin may lead to one of the following conditions: heart attack, stroke, or death. That is why it’s important to keep your medicine away from other people.
In general, stimulants aren’t very safe for the health. Their unwise use can result in multiple unwanted effects – both physical and mental.
Ritalin can lead to worsening mental disorders or causing new ones. Patients with a history of depression or mental issues should be cautious when taking the drug.
Before the start of the treatment
Make sure that you’re not allergic to the drug’s components. You cannot take Ritalin if you have an allergy for methylphenidate.
Tell your doctor about current issues with your heart and blood pressure. Don’t forget to mention if similar problems (including heart-related disorders and sudden death) were in your family.
If you were using MAOIs (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors) in the past 2 weeks, Ritalin is not recommended for you.
At the doctor’s appointment, you need to tell him about every medication you are currently taking and every disease you are being treated for. This includes all opioids, herbs, and antidepressants.
Women who plan to have a baby, are pregnant or breastfeeding, should seek medical counseling before the start of the treatment. It’s important to be supervised by the doctor because taking Ritalin may lead to premature birth or small weight of the baby at birth.
When breastfeeding, pay attention to the changes in the baby’s mood or routine. In case of noticing any alterations in sleeping habits, poor feeding, agitation, or not enough weight gain, be sure to contact the doctor.
Ritalin is not recommended for the treatment of patients under 6.
Taking Ritalin safely: tips
Two main things you have to take into account during your treatment: the manufacturer’s instruction (which can be found on the leaflet) and the individual doctor’s prescription. Also note that the prescribed dosage may be changed, depending on how your body reacts to the medicine.
We’ve already mentioned that all drugs containing methylphenidate can be addictive and lead to unpleasant outcomes. Among these outcomes are addiction, overdose, or even death. Make sure that no one else takes or uses your medication. Do not sell or share your tablets.
Ritalin can be purchased in 2 forms: immediate-release tablets and long-acting capsules. Their strength and dosage differ. For example, when taking long-acting capsules, only one pill per day is required. In case of taking IR tablets, take 2-3 pills per day (one pill before every meal).
Store your medicine in a safe place – away from light, heat, moisture, and high temperatures. Make sure that kids and vulnerable adults don’t have access to your medicine.
When the treatment is over, you need to get rid of any unwanted medicine. Don’t keep or resell the drugs – it’s not authorized by the law. Take your tablets to the nearest pharmacy (if they accept them back) or throw them in the trash.
What to do when you missed a dose?
- Take the missed dose as soon as possible.
- Skip the missed dose if you are about to take your next one. Don’t take two pills at the same time.
The symptoms of an OD
Ritalin overdose can be a very serious and dangerous issue. The most common sides of overdose are:
- sickness and vomiting;
- tremor or muscles twitches;
- accelerated breathing and heart rate;
- vertigo, headaches, and fever;
- anxiousness or agitation.
Safety precautions when using Ritalin
The doctor should notify you that drinking alcohol during treatment is not allowed. Also, you should avoid driving or using dangerous tools because you don’t know what effect the drug will produce.
Mild and serious side effects if Ritalin
Taking Ritalin may cause allergic reactions (even though you’re not allergic to the drug and its components). In this case, be sure to seek medical help.
If you experience the following unpleasant conditions during your treatment, be sure to contact your doctor as soon as possible:
- pain in the chest area, difficulties with breathing, if you feel like fainting;
- hallucinations, aggression, hostility, paranoia;
- if your toes or fingers are cold, painful, or acquire unusual color or shade (pale or red);
- painful erection for more than 4 hours.
Sometimes, side effects may be mild. Anyway, if Ritalin pills make you feel uncomfortable, it’s better to consult the health assistant and adjust the dosage.
Some of the side effects of Ritalin that bother the majority of patients:
- sweating, fever, high blood pressure (compared to normal);
- mood swings (anxiety, nervousness, irritation, trouble sleeping);
- increased heart rate;
- loss of appetite or rapid weight loss;
- dry mouth, sickness, stomach pain, diarrhea, indigestion;
- vertigo, migraines.
Ritalin and its interaction with other drugs
Ritalin may not interact with another drug the way you want it to. In order to prevent any harm to your mental and physical health, be sure to tell your doctor about any medicine you are currently taking.
Mention everything – herbs, vitamins, supplements, prescription, and OTC drugs.