Methylphenidate Side Effects

Methylphenidate side effects and drug information

Methylphenidate, also known under its trade name “Ritalin” among its other names, is mainly used as a part of the treatment program used to control the symptoms of ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This is a condition where one, either a child or adult, have difficulties in focusing and has a brief attention span, difficulty in controlling actions, often seen as restlessness, and difficulty in being still and quiet than the other persons who belong in the same age range. Methylphenidate, or Methylin, is also one of the treatments used for narcolepsy. This is a sleeping disorder that causes a person to excessive sleepiness or sudden attacks of sleep during the day. 

Molar mass 233.31 g/mol
CAS ID 113-45-1
Formula C14H19NO2
Bioavailability: 30% (range: 11–52%)
Melting point 74 °C (165 °F)

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What is Methylphenidate?

As it was, Methylphenidate is one of the medications included in the class called Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulants, which works by changing specific amounts in the natural substances inside a person’s brain. It can be taken in orally or by applying it to the skin. 

Side Effects

The oral tablets of Methylphenidate do not cause drowsiness; however, just as in any other medicine for, it has other side effects that you might want to know of.

Some of the most common side effects of the said medicine are headache, decreased appetite, upset stomach, nervousness, trouble sleeping, and nausea. These effects, if mild, will disappear after a few days or in a week. In any case that the results are more severe, contact your doctor or talk to your pharmacist right away.  

Serious side effects of Methylphenidate

It is essential to take note of your body’s reaction to the medicine. Being alert and conscious in your body’s response, you can immediately react to life-threatening situations. 

Other serious side effects of the medicine that you may experience depend on a condition you might have. This includes the following: 

 If you have heart problems, some of your symptoms may include chest pain, pain in your left arm, in your jaw, or in between your shoulders. You can also experience an increase in blood pressure, pain during urination, an increase in heart rate, and shortness of breath.

If you have experienced a stroke, your symptoms can include weakness in the half or one part and side of your body, and some slurred speech.

For people who are experiencing mental health problems, some of the symptoms are mania, including the racing of thoughts, feelings of power and excessive energy, aggression or hostility towards your surroundings, hallucinations or seeing and hearing things that aren’t real, paranoia or feeling of suspicion, and overexcitement. 

You can also have circulation problems while taking medicine. This includes numbness, sensitivity to temperature, pain, changes in the skin color turning from pale to blue to red, and new and unexplained wound on either your fingers or toes. 

Other symptoms may also include an abnormal liver function, that can lead to mild or severe damage in your liver, seizures, slowed growth in the height and weight if the one taking in are children. Sudden changes in eyesight, or blurred visions, and priapism or painful and prolonged erections

Indication and dosage

In taking your medicine, one of the things you should pay attention to is its dosage and proper administration. How much, how often you take it, and how you take it will depend on different things like your age, your condition that needs treatment, the severity of your health, your other medical conditions, and your reaction towards your first dose. 

Dosages of Methylphenidate differ. It ranges from 2.5mg for children, to 72mg for adults. Your doctors or pharmacist should only determine these, so it is a recommendation to always talk to them before taking in the medicine preparation-H. 

For ADHD dosage, generic Methylphenidate has three forms, the oral immediate-release tablet, which includes a 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg dosages, the chewable tablet with 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg dosage. Lastly, the oral extended-release tablet with dosages of 10 mg, 18 mg, 20 mg, 27 mg, 36 mg, 54 mg, 72 mg. 

After weeks of medication and you noticed that the medicine is not working as it should, inform your doctor. 

The dosages given by the doctor should be strictly followed, not only to avoid any unwanted side effects but, most importantly, to avoid addiction and drug dependency. 

Drug Interaction

 It is always a must to tell your doctor about every medication you take, which includes vitamins and herbal supplements. The Methylphenidate drug has a chance to interact with other medicines, including antidepressants like MAOIs, seizure drugs, blood thinners, blood pressure medications, cold and allergy drugs that may contain decongestants. 

Warnings and Precautions

One of the necessities in taking in this medicine is the regular check-up with the doctor to make sure that the medication is fit for you and is working correctly. The doctor will be able to check on your progress during your regular visit, and they will be able to decide if you should go on taking it. Sometimes, blood tests are necessary to check for some unwanted results. 

You will also have to get your blood pressure and your heart rate measured by your physicians before starting to take in the medicine, and while you are using it so that you will have a comparison. If by any chance, you notice that there is a change in your blood pressure or heart rate, it is necessary to call your doctor right away. Make sure to also talk to your doctor about any of the questions you have about the medicine, so you do not get surprised. 

Another thing to remember is to tell your doctor everything, including allergies you had and have, and any uncomfortable feeling in taking medicine. You must also remember not to take any other medicine while taking medicine to avoid unwanted side effects. Remember to discuss to your doctor any medication you plan on taking in the future. This includes vitamins, sinus medicines, appetite control, and asthma medicine. 

You should also be aware of yourself while taking medicine. Once you have been taking medication for a long time, there is a slight possibility that you have become mentally and physically dependent on it. If you have felt a strong desire and need to continue using the medicine, or a need to increase the dose you have been receiving because it is not working for you anymore and you want to receive the same effects, or any withdrawal symptoms after not taking the medicine like irritability, anxiety, fatigue and weakness, nightmares, insomnia or oversleeping, feel agitation, increase in appetite or slowing of mental and physical activity, then there is a high chance that you have become dependent on the medicine. If you have noticed this, talk to your doctor right away. 

Medication Guide

The medicine, Methylphenidate, is a drug that is controlled by the Federal Government because it contains substances that can be abused and lead to dependence. You must know that selling or giving away of Methylphenidate can harm others and may lead you to prison. Remember to keep it in a safe place to prevent the abuse and the misuse of the drug. 

It is also vital for the doctor to know if a person has abused or have been dependent on any substances like alcohol, prescribed medicines, street drugs, among others, to avoid any unwanted side effects. 

In using methylphenidate hydrochloride or any other stimulant medicines, people with heart problems are reported to either has a sudden death if the patient has a heart problem, stroke, and heart attack, and increases in blood pressure. 

Patients with mental or any psychiatric problems will also need to be check by the doctors regularly because problems like new or worse behavior and thought problems may occur. New and worse bipolar behavior, new or more aggressive behavior or hostility, for all patients, while new psychotic symptoms like hearing voices, believing in unreal things, and new manic symptoms can also be experienced. It would help if you remembered to tell your doctor about the family history of mental illness, including suicide, depression, and bipolar illness, among others.

How does Methylphenidate work?

Methylphenidate, as said earlier, is a medicine used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or more commonly known as ADHD. This works by increasing the level of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine, in layman’s term, is a neurotransmitter, one responsible for transmitting signals in between your nerve cells, and plays a massive role in how we feel pleasure. 

The drugs work by blocking the activity of the dopamine transporters, thus raising the levels of dopamine female hormones. By blocking these transporters, the medicine keeps the dopamine level high enough for you to not lose interest and be focused. 

Debunking the sayings that Methylphenidate is addictive, research proves that if used correctly and according to prescription, the medicine is not addictive. Although the drug does increase the level of dopamine, just like many addictive drugs do, like cocaine, alcohol, and many others, Methylphenidate differs by the length of time, it reaches the brain.