Ritalin is a mild psychostimulant (CNS stimulant), which has behavioral and mental effects. Ritalin also affects the locomotor activity, but to a lesser extent than the mental activity.
Today,the stimulant agent Ritalin is used to control symptoms of:
- Narcolepsy in adults.
- ADHD in patients older than 6 years.
As a rule, people who suffer from narcolepsy or ADHD have lower levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, compared to healthy individuals. Therefore, the main method of symptoms management in ADHD or narcolepsy is the increase of the neurotransmitters level or activity.
Ritalin (Methylphenidate) increases the level and activity of neurotransmitters (norepinephrine and dopamine) in the brain. Due to the stimulating effect of Ritalin,
- Daytime sleepiness reduces;
- Motor hyperactivity and distractibility decrease;
- Motivation, focus and attention increase.
For the treatment of behavioral and neurological disorders, doctors prescribe several solid oral dosage forms of Ritalin with different strength:
- Immediate-release Ritalin tablets of 5 mg, 10mg or 20mg.
- Sustained-release Ritalin tablets SR of 20mg.
- Sustained release Ritalin LA capsules of 10mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg or 60mg.
Ritalin tablets and capsules contain the active substance Methylphenidate, which improves the transfer of signals between brain cells.
- Tablets are prescribed to treat ADHD in children and narcolepsy in adults.
- Capsules are used to control the symptoms of ADHD in children and adults.
The pharmacokinetic properties of various Ritalin forms differ, thus providing certain advantages for the treatment:
- Ritalin tablets – quickly release the active substanceMethylphenidate.
- Ritalin SR tablets – dissolve in the gastrointestinal tract within the same period.
- Ritalin LA capsules – quickly release 50% of Methylphenidate, and the rest is released gradually.
Oral forms of Ritalindrug for the ADHD treatmentare interchangeable.
Depending on the severity of symptoms of a neurobehavioral disorder, patient’sage and weight, on or another form of Ritalin may be more preferable.
At the beginning of ADHD or narcolepsy treatment, patients should take:
- One Ritalin tablet of 5mg in the morning.
- One Ritalin tablet of 5 mg in the morning and another in the afternoon.
- One Ritalin LA capsule of 10 mg or 20 mg in the morning (for the treatment of ADHD only).
If the minimum effective dose of Ritalin does not allow controllingthe symptomsof your neurological disorder, the daily dose should be gradually increased. Recommended step of daily dose increase ranges from 5 mg to 10 mg, Not more often than once every 7 days.
Ritalin SR 20 mg tablets should not be used at the beginning of treatment. Typically, they are used in the middle or end of the treatment of ADHD or narcolepsy, when prompt stimulatory action must be replaced with a prolonged effect.
The total daily dose should not exceed 60mg in adultsand80mg in children. If symptoms of brain disorders persist for 4 weeks, the feasibility of further use of Ritalin should be re-evaluated.
Ritalin stimulant is approved for long-term use. If you take Ritalin several months in a row, remember that it can cause a decrease in appetite and weight loss. The intensity and frequency of these side effects should necessarily be tracked, particularly if the drug is administered to children.
If Ritalin causes growth retardation in children, we recommend the following measures to counter this effect:
- Ritalin should be takenafter meals.
- Reduce the total daily dosage.
- Suspend Ritalin for several months every year.
Ritalin can cause other adverse reactions, such as dry mouth, nausea, muscle spasms, insomnia, nervousness, headache, and tachycardia.
As a rule, side effects are mild to moderate, they disappear by themselves or with a decrease in the daily dose.
Ritalin is contraindicated in patients with Tourette’s syndrome, motor tics, some cardiovascular diseases (e.g., hypertension or heart disease), phaeochromocytoma, anxiety, agitation, or hyperthyroidism.
Ritalin should be used by pregnant women or nursing mothers, if the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks to the fetus or child.