Medically reviewed on May 2, 2018
- This medicine may be habit-forming. Use Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) as you were told by your doctor. Tell your doctor if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Misuse of Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) may cause it to not work as well. Mood or behavior changes may also happen.
- Do not stop taking Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) all of a sudden without calling your doctor. You may have a greater risk of mood changes like very low mood (depression). If you need to stop Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets), you may need to slowly stop it as told by your doctor.
Uses of Ritalin:
- It is used to treat attention deficit problems with hyperactivity.
- It is used to treat narcolepsy.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Ritalin?
- If you have an allergy to methylphenidate or any other part of Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets).
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you or a family member have any of these health problems: Blood vessel disease, high blood pressure, heart structure problems or other heart problems, or Tourette's syndrome or tics.
- If you have any of these health problems: Glaucoma; nervous, anxious, or tense state; or overactive thyroid.
- If you have ever had any of these health problems: Drug abuse or stroke.
- If you have taken certain drugs used for low mood (depression) like isocarboxazid, phenelzine, or tranylcypromine or drugs used for Parkinson's disease like selegiline or rasagiline in the last 14 days. Taking Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) within 14 days of those drugs can cause very bad high blood pressure.
- If you are taking any of these drugs: Linezolid or methylene blue.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets).
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Ritalin?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) affects you.
- Heart attacks, strokes, and sudden deaths have happened in adults taking Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets). Sudden deaths have also happened in children with very bad heart problems or heart defects. Call your doctor right away if you have a change in strength on 1 side that is greater than the other, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on 1 side of the face, change in eyesight, chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, or very bad dizziness or passing out.
- You may have some heart tests before starting Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets). Talk with your doctor.
- Check blood pressure and heart rate as the doctor has told you. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine may raise the chance of seizures in some people, including people who have had seizures in the past. Talk to your doctor to see if you have a greater chance of seizures while taking Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets).
- Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets).
- A very bad and sometimes deadly health problem called serotonin syndrome may happen if you take Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) with drugs for depression, migraines, or certain other drugs. Call your doctor right away if you have agitation; change in balance; confusion; hallucinations; fever; fast or abnormal heartbeat; flushing; muscle twitching or stiffness; seizures; shivering or shaking; sweating a lot; very bad diarrhea, upset stomach, or throwing up; or very bad headache.
- Call your doctor right away if you have signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- This medicine may affect growth in children and teens in some cases. They may need regular growth checks. Talk with the doctor.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) while you are pregnant.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
How is this medicine (Ritalin) best taken?
Use Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take 30 to 45 minutes before meals.
- If taking Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) more than 1 time a day, take the last dose of the day before 6 PM.
- To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
- If you have been taking Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) for a long time or at high doses, it may not work as well and you may need higher doses to get the same effect. This is known as tolerance. Call your doctor if Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) stops working well. Do not take more than ordered.
- Do not switch between different forms of Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) without first talking with the doctor.
- Limit your use of caffeine (for example, tea, coffee, cola) and chocolate. Use with Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) may cause nervousness, shakiness, and a fast heartbeat.
- Have your blood work checked if you are on Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) for a long time. Talk with your doctor.
- If you are taking Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) and have high blood pressure, talk with your doctor before using OTC products that may raise blood pressure. These include cough or cold drugs, diet pills, stimulants, ibuprofen or like products, and some natural products or aids.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Use a missed dose as soon as you think about it. Do not take Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) after 6 PM.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of high or low blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, change in eyesight.
- Joint pain.
- Purple patches on the skin or mouth.
- Blurred eyesight.
- Fast or slow heartbeat.
- A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
- Very upset stomach or throwing up.
- Fever or chills.
- Sore throat.
- Trouble controlling body movements.
- Sweating a lot.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Change in color of hands or feet from pale to blue or red.
- Numbness, pain, tingling, or cold feeling of the hands or feet.
- Any sores or wounds on the fingers or toes.
- Not able to pass urine or change in how much urine is passed.
- Muscle pain or weakness.
- Change in sex interest.
- Call your doctor right away if you have a painful erection (hard penis) or an erection that lasts for longer than 4 hours. This may happen even when you are not having sex. If this is not treated right away, it may lead to lasting sex problems and you may not be able to have sex.
- New or worse behavior and mood changes like change in thinking, anger, and hallucinations have happened with Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets). Tell your doctor if you or a family member have any mental or mood problems like low mood (depression) or bipolar illness, or if a family member has killed themselves. Call your doctor right away if you have hallucinations; change in the way you act; or signs of mood changes like low mood (depression), thoughts of killing yourself, nervousness, emotional ups and downs, thinking that is not normal, anxiety, or lack of interest in life.
What are some other side effects of Ritalin?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Feeling sleepy.
- Dry mouth.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Weight loss.
- Feeling nervous and excitable.
- Not hungry.
- Not able to sleep.
- Belly pain.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Ritalin?
- Store at room temperature.
- Protect from light.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets) is refilled. If you have any questions about Ritalin (methylphenidate tablets), please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about Ritalin (methylphenidate)
- Ritalin Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 113 Reviews – Add your own review/rating
- Generic Availability
- Drug class: CNS stimulants