What is Ritalin?
Ritalin is a CNS (central nervous system) stimulant. Its main component is called methylphenidate and it impacts chemicals in the brain and nerves that stimulate hyperactivity.
Ritalin is used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and narcolepsy.
Ritalin can be a part of a total treatment program, which normally includes other therapies and counseling.
Ritalin is an addiction-forming medicine. It’s important that your doctor knows about the previous cases of drug or alcohol addiction. Store the drug in a place where no one else can find it. Misuse of Ritalin can lead to addiction, overdose, or death.
Stimulants may be potentially dangerous for your health: they may cause stroke, heart attack, and sudden death. The group of high risk includes the patients with high blood pressure, heart disorders, or a heart defect.
Another danger of Ritalin is the risk of psychosis (new or worsening case), especially if a patient has a history of depression or mental or bipolar disorder.
In case of being allergic to the main component (methylphenidate), you should never take Ritalin.
In order to avoid multiple health issues, tell your doctor if you have:
- heart problems or a heart defect;
- high blood pressure;
- a history of heart disease or sudden death in your family.
The use of Ritalin is forbidden for patients who have used MAO inhibitors (a strong class of antidepressants) in the past 14 days.
When mixed with Ritalin, certain drugs may cause a serious condition. That is why make sure to notify your doctor about any herbs, opioids, or antidepressants you’re currently taking. Patients who suffer from Parkinson’s disease, mental disorders, migraines, or serious infections should postpone their treatment with Ritalin.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding may not go well with Ritalin. Since the drug is highly addictive, the overdose may lead to premature birth or low birth weight. Also, you need to be added to the registry to track how methylphenidate affects the baby.
If your baby has difficulties with sleep or agitation, if he/she doesn’t eat much or gain enough weight for his age, be sure to contact your doctor right away.
Children under 6 cannot be treated with Ritalin.
What’s the correct dosage of Ritalin?
Follow the instructions of your doctor and take Ritalin exactly as prescribed. Get acquainted with the leaflet information before beginning your treatment. Remember that the doctor may alter your dosage.
Methylphenidate can be addictive for some people. Be sure to take only the necessary amount. The medication cannot be shared or sold. Store the package away from other people.
Depending on the type of tablet you take, be sure to follow the safety rules:
- for immediate-release tablets: 30-45 minutes before a meal 2-3 times a day
- long-acting capsules: once a day in the morning
Ritalin LA extended-release capsules should be taken at the same time every day.
Storage tips: keep your container at room temperature, away from moisture, heat, and light. The package should be kept in a place where no one has access to it.
At the end of the treatment, get rid of any unused medicine. You can take it back to the pharmacy or mix it with litter.
What if I miss a dose?
You can take your pill at any other time. However, if it’s almost time for a new dose, don’t double it. Never take two pills once.
What if I overdose?
An overdose of methylphenidate could be fatal.
There are numerous signs of overdose – starting with the innocent (dry mouth, confusion, muscle pain or weakness, sweating, headache, feeling light-headed) and ending with severe symptoms (fainting, seizure, vomiting, anxiety, tremor, hallucinations, fever, and coma).
What should not be taken with Ritalin?
Alcohol should be avoided during the treatment.
Driving or using heavy machinery is not recommended. You don’t know what reactions you may have after taking the pill.
Ritalin side effects
If noticing any allergic reactions to Ritalin, be sure to seek emergency help. The possible signs of an allergy are difficulty breathing, swollen lips, tongue, throat, etc.
In case of any of the following bothering signs, contact your doctor:
- heart issues (chest pain, trouble breathing);
- signs of psychosis (hallucinations, aggressiveness, unfriendliness, paranoia);
- signs of circulation problems (cold feeling, unexplained wounds, or seeing your fingers and toes changing color);
- painful erection (for 4 hours or longer).
The most common effects of Ritalin treatment may include both mild and severe conditions. Here’s the list of what you may experience:
- sweating, high blood pressure;
- mood swings, anxiousness, nervousness, irritation, trouble sleeping;
- increased heart rate, heart palpitations;
- loss of appetite, unusual weight loss;
- dry mouth, sickness, vomiting, stomachache;
- headache, feeling light-headed.
Ritalin and other drugs
As we’ve mentioned before, your doctor should know every detail of your medical history, including the medicines you are currently taking. If you take antidepressants or blood pressure medications, tell your doctor about them.
Other drugs may also negatively interact with methylphenidate. The list includes both prescription and over-the-counter medicines, as well as vitamins, and herbs