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Important Note

The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.



COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Metadate CD, Ritalin LA

WARNING: Methylphenidate should be used cautiously if you have emotional problems (e.g., a history of alcohol or drug abuse). Such patients may be more likely to increase their doses unnecessarily. Abuse of this medication can lead to abnormal behavior. If methylphenidate must be stopped, it should be stopped gradually over time. Do not suddenly stop this medication because severe depression or hidden overactivity may occur. In some people, side effect (e.g., depression) monitoring may be required for a period of time after the medication is stopped.


This medication increases mental alertness. It is used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This medication should not be used to treat severe depression, or simple fatigue symptoms.



This medication may also be used to treat narcolepsy (problems staying awake).

How To Use

Swallow whole. Chewing or crushing the capsule can destroy the long action and may increase side effects. This medication is best taken 30-45 minutes before breakfast. If loss of appetite or stomach upset occurs, it may be taken with food. Some brands of this medication allow the capsule to be opened and sprinkled on applesauce. Check with your pharmacist to determine if your brand may be taken this way. If so, you may sprinkle the contents of the capsule onto a spoonful of applesauce and take immediately. Do not chew the applesauce mixture. Do not mix up a dose ahead of time for later use. Drink a glass of liquid with each dose. Use this medication exactly as prescribed. Do not increase your dose, use it more frequently or use it for a longer period of time than prescribed because this drug can be habit-forming. Also, if used for a long period of time, do not suddenly stop using this without first consulting your doctor. When used for extended periods, this medication may not work as well and may require different dosing. Consult your doctor if the medication isn't working well.

Side Effects

Loss of appetite, blurred vision, dizziness, lightheadedness, dry mouth, stomach upset, sleeplessness, irritability or (rarely) drowsiness may occur. If these effects persist or worsen, inform your doctor promptly. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these serious side effects occur: weight loss, headache, chest pain, pounding/fast/irregular heartbeat, mental/mood changes, muscle control problems. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these highly unlikely but very serious side effects occur: seizures, yellowing eyes and skin, dark urine, easy bruising or bleeding. In the unlikely event you have an allergic reaction to this drug, seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.


This medication is not recommended for use if you have the following medical conditions: severe anxiety/agitation/tension disorders, glaucoma, motion or verbal tics (Tourette's syndrome). Tell your doctor your medical history, especially of: seizures, high blood pressure, heart disease (e.g., abnormal heart rate or rhythm), alcoholism, drug dependence, mental/mood conditions (e.g., depression, psychosis), high thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), any allergies. If this medication makes you dizzy, lightheaded or (rarely) drowsy, use caution driving or engaging in activities requiring alertness. Use of alcohol may intensify these side effects. Prolonged use of stimulants such as methylphenidate could possibly hinder growth (weight gain and height) in children; monitor closely for this unproven but possible effect. Methylphenidate should be used during pregnancy only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. It is not known if methylphenidate passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Drug Interactions

Certain medications taken with this drug could result in serious, even fatal, drug interactions. Avoid taking MAO inhibitors (e.g., furazolidone, linezolid, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, selegiline, isocarboxazid, tranylcypromine) within 2 weeks before or after treatment with this medication. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for additional information. Before using this medication, tell your doctor of all nonprescription and prescription drugs you may use, especially: "blood thinners" (e.g., warfarin), medications for seizures, medicine for depression (tricyclics such as amitriptyline), high blood pressure medicine (e.g., guanethidine). Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.


If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include dilated pupils, mental/mood changes, tremors, flushing, unusual sweating, severe or persistent headache, irregular heartbeat, seizures, or loss of consciousness.


Do not allow anyone else to take this medication. It is against the law. Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., blood counts) may be performed to monitor your progress.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as remembered; do not take it if it is near the time for the next dose, instead, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not "double-up" the dose to catch up.


Store at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 - 30 degrees C). Store away from moisture and heat. Do not store in the bathroom.