ConcertaWhat is Concerta (methyphenidate HCl)?

Concerta is a stimulant used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults, and children over 6. Stimulants influence the parts of the brain and central nervous system that control hyperactivity and impulses.

When did the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve methylphenidate?

Methylphenidate was first approved by the FDA in 1955 for the treatment of what was then referred to as hyperactivity.

Is there a generic version of Concerta available?

Yes, there are a generic methylphenidate extended-release versions available for purchase. The tablet dosages, however, may be different than those for Concerta.

Are there any major differences between Concerta and other stimulants used to treat ADHD?

There are a lot of similarities between stimulants used to treat ADHD. They are all habit-forming and classified as Schedule II controlled substances.  Therefore, if you have a history of substance use problems, you should talk to your doctor about this before taking either medication. The major distinction is the different release formats of the medications. For example, Concerta is an extended release drug designed to last for 12 hours. Ritalin, meanwhile, comes in three formats: instant release (lasting 3-4 hours), sustained release (lasting 6-8 hours), and long-acting (lasting 8 hours).

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Can children take Concerta?

Children over age of 6 may be prescribed Concerta for ADHD. They should take the medication in the exact amount prescribed. It’s also important to tell your child’s doctor about other medication complications or past substance use history and to monitor their growth while on the medication.

How do you start Concerta therapy?

Talk to your doctor about whether you or your child are a good fit for the medication, and whether there are any medical conditions, mental health issues, or past substance use problems that might require a different medication. Also, monitor for potential side effects.

Are there potential interaction issues for people taking Concerta and any other drugs?

Do not take Concerta if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past two weeks, as a dangerous interaction effect could occur. There are also hundreds of drugs which are known to interact with Concerta in major, moderate, or mild ways, so let your doctor know what other medications you are taking before you begin taking the medication.

Are there any other medical conditions that would make someone ineligible for Concerta therapy?

You should not take Concerta if you have anxiety problems, glaucoma, or Tourette’s syndrome, or if you are allergic to the medication. Talk to your doctor if you or your child have heart problems, high blood pressure, seizures, stomach or esophagus problems, a history of mental illness, such as depression or bipolar disorder, or a history of substance use problems.

What is the typical dose that would be prescribed to someone taking Concerta?

Dosage typically starts at 18mg daily in the morning. The maximum recommended daily dose is 72 mg. Tablets come in dosage strengths of 18, 27, 36, and 54 mg. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor and not adjust dosage without their recommendation.

How long does it take for Concerta to work?

Concerta will begin working with the first dose, typically within an hour. The drug is designed to last for 12 hours.

 What do I do if I miss a dose?

Take the dose of Concerta when you remember, but skip the missed dose if it already or almost evening. You should never take extra doses of the medication to make up for missed doses.

What are Concerta’s physical side effects?

Common side effects of Concerta can include:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • decreased appetite
  • insomnia
  • dizziness
  • weight loss
  • increase sweating
  • dry mouth.

Children who take Concerta may experience a temporary slowing in their rate of growth. If you experience major side effects, report them to your doctor immediately and stop using the medication. Major side effects can include increased blood pressure, heart attack, other heart problems, stroke, blurred vision, circulation problems, prolonged or painful erections, seizures, and blockage of the small intestine, stomach, or esophagus. You can also report them to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or online.

Are there any possible psychiatric side effects that come from taking Concerta?

People who take Concerta may experience irritability and anxiety as common side effects. Concerta can also cause or worsen symptoms of mental illness, such as hallucinations, and it may increase aggressive behavior among children or teens.

Is it safe for a woman who is pregnant, about to become pregnant, or nursing to take Concerta??

There have been no human pregnancy studies on the effects of Concerta. It is not known whether the drug can be transferred via breast milk in small amounts or harm a baby. Therefore, talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are nursing, before you take Concerta.

Can symptoms occur if Concerta is discontinued?

Because Concerta is a stimulant, people can feel sluggish or drowsy as the drug begins to wear off. Many people however, do not experience withdrawal symptoms unless they have been abusing the drug in high doses. Withdrawal symptoms can also include depressed mood, increased appetite, confusion, irritability, lower blood pressure and forgetfulness. It’s important to eat healthy, exercise, and have a consistent sleep routine to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

What should I do if I overdose on Concerta?

An overdose of Concerta could be fatal, so seek immediately help or call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 if you overdose. Overdose symptoms can include headache, vomiting, palpitations, agitation, tremors, cardiac arrhythmias, hyperreflexia, muscle twitching, euphoria, sweating, hypertension, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, flushing, hyperpyrexia, tachycardia, mydriasis, dryness of mucous membranes, convulsions, and coma.

Is Concerta habit-forming?

Concerta is a Schedule II controlled substance and can be habit-forming, as users may develop a tolerance to the drug over time. Make sure that you keep track of the medication and never take more than prescribed. It is illegal to give or sell the medication to others. Talk to your doctor if you have a past history of substance dependence before you begin Concerta Therapy.

How much does Concerta cost?

Thirty 36 mg tablets of Concerta cost approximately $180.00

Are there any disadvantages to Concerta?

The biggest disadvantage of Concerta is that it is habit-forming. If you have a history of abusing substances or have a history of substance use in your family, then the drug may not be right for you. Also, common side effects such as slowed growth in children, decreased appetite, dizziness, nervousness, and headaches may outweigh the benefits.


DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider.  This article mentions drugs that were FDA-approved and available at the time of publication and may not include all possible drug interactions or all FDA warnings or alerts. The author of this page explicitly does not endorse this drug or any specific treatment method. If you have health questions or concerns about interactions, please check with your physician or go to the FDA site for a comprehensive list of warnings.




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Last Updated: Nov 25, 2018