Methylphenidate Side Effects


Methylphenidate is a central nervous system stimulant. It affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Learn more about Methylphenidate and Methylphenidate Side Effects

Methylphenidate is used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and narcolepsy.

Do not use methylphenidate if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine.

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to methylphenidate or if you have:

  • glaucoma;
  • a personal or family history of tics (muscle twitches) or Tourette’s syndrome; or
  • severe anxiety, tension, or agitation (methylphenidate can make these symptoms worse).

Some stimulants have caused sudden death in children and adolescents with serious heart problems or congenital heart defects. Tell your doctor if you have a congenital heart defect.

To make sure methylphenidate is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • a congenital heart defect;
  • high blood pressure;
  • angina (chest pain), heart failure, heart rhythm disorder, or recent heart attack;
  • a personal or family history of mental illness, psychotic disorder, bipolar illness, depression, or suicide attempt;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
  • a stomach disorder; or
  • a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

Methylphenidate may be habit forming. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether methylphenidate will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

See also: Methylphenidate pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

Methylphenidate can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Long-term use of methylphenidate can slow a child’s growth. Tell your doctor if the child using this medication is not growing or gaining weight properly.

Do not give methylphenidate to a child younger than 6 years old without a doctor’s advice.

Methylphenidate side effects

  • feeling nervous or irritable, sleep problems (insomnia);
  • loss of appetite, weight loss;
  • headache, dizziness, drowsiness; or
  • stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach.

Call your doctor immediately if you have these Methylphenidate side effects:

  • new or worsening symptoms such as mood swings, aggression, hostility, or changes in personality or behavior;
  • panic, delusion, extreme fear, hallucinations, unusual behavior, motor tics (muscle twitches);
  • chest pain, fast or slow heart rate, pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance;
  • easy bruising, purple spots on your skin;
  • fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash; or
  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to methylphenidate: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


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