Your Complete Guide to Ritalin
Ritalin is a popular ADHD medication typically prescribed to children. Here’s our complete guide to Ritalin and how to use it safely and effectively.
What is Ritalin?
Ritalin is one of two main types of ADHD medications. It’s a methylphenidate, while other popular ADHD medications like Adderall are classified as amphetamines.
By taking Ritalin daily, children can reduce their symptoms of ADHD. Today, Ritalin is typically only prescribed to children who suffer from ADHD – although it’s also used recreationally by everyone from college students to those who work in competitive environments.
How Does Ritalin Work?
Ritalin relies on two critical neurotransmitters in your brain: dopamine and norepinephrine. Both of these neurotransmitters are essential for performing daily tasks and play a huge role in attention and focus.
ChildMind.org describes these neurotransmitters as like the “secretary of the brain” because they perform executive functioning tasks like how you plan, how you organize, and how you execute.
When our brain has the right levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, it’s functioning very efficiently and promoting a feeling of focus. Unfortunately, due to ADHD and other conditions, many brains can’t produce the right levels of either neurotransmitter: they may produce too much or too little of either one, for example.
When you take Ritalin, it raises levels of dopamine and norepinephrine to promote feelings of focus. Adderall and other stimulant medication works in an identical way.
Does Ritalin Actually Treat ADHD?
Not all people who have ADHD will be successfully treated by medication. Research has shown that those with ADHD have about an 80% chance of responding to medication. Within that group, about 50% will respond equally well to either Ritalin or Adderall (or their associated generics). The other 50% will respond better to Ritalin while responding half as well to Adderall.
One of the biggest challenges with Ritalin and other ADHD-curing stimulants is figuring out how to deliver the optimum dosage over a long period of time. Ritalin was first used in 1961 and was designed with kindergarten-aged children and first graders in mind. Today, the workload on children of this age has changed – not to mention the technological distractions.
All of these changes have made Ritalin alternatives more and more popular. Here are some of the other Ritalin-like (i.e. methylphenidate compounds) that are comparable to Ritalin:
— Concerta: This is one of the longest-lasting methylphenidate compounds on the market today, with the effects of a single dose lasting 10 to 12 hours (equal to three doses of Ritalin). Concerta also has a hard shell that prevents users from chewing it (you have to swallow it). This hard shell has a unique design that features a coated lining medicine on the outside, which means you get immediate effects within 10 to 15 minutes of taking the capsule. Then, the interior of the capsule has a sponge that expands in your stomach, gradually pushing out the remaining medication over a long period of time. The stomach never breaks down the capsule
— Metadate CD: Metadate CD is a type of ADHD medication that consists of a capsule filled with beads. Some parents will open the capsule and sprinkle the beads into a food – say, like applesauce. Metadate CD lasts about 6 to 8 hours and includes two types of beads. One type of bead, the ascending dose (30% of the capsule), is designed for quick release, while the second type of bead (70% of the capsule) is designed for slow release.
— Ritalin-LA: Ritalin LA is the beaded form of Ritalin. It features a 50/50 split between the ascending dose and the long-term dose, which means that its effects can feel stronger in the morning while still continuing into the afternoon. The effects last for about 6 to 8 hours.
— Focalin: Focalin is a relatively new ADHD medication (it’s been around for 8 years). It’s one of the strongest ADHD medications on the market today and lasts for about 12 hours with a 50/50 distribution between the ascending dose and the long-term dose. Because of its strength and lengthy effect span, Focalin is not typically prescribed to younger children.
— Daytrana (Patch): Daytrana is the first ADHD medication on this list that comes in the form of a methylphenidate patch instead of a capsule. Daytrana is ideal for kids who can’t swallow pills, but it’s also the slowest-acting medicine on this list. You won’t feel the effects until about 2 hours after application, although the effects will last for a total of 9 to 10 hours.
How to Buy Ritalin
Ritalin is covered under some health insurance plans. Regardless of your coverage, here’s how much you can expect to pay for different Ritalin doses:
— 5mg: From $80 for 100 tablets
— 10mg: From $110 for 100 tablets
— 20mg: From $120 for 120 tablets
All prices are in USD.
Availability of Ritalin Around the World
Ritalin is internationally labelled as a schedule II drug under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Legally, you need a prescription to buy Ritalin in all major countries.
Here’s how the drug is labeled in other countries:
— United States: Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is classified as a schedule II controlled substances, which is the designation used for substances that have a proven medical value – but also present a high potential for abuse.
— Canada: Canada classifies Ritalin as a Schedule III Controlled Drugs and Substances Act compound, which places it in the same category as LSD and psychedelic mushrooms. It is illegal to possess Ritalin without a prescription.
— Australia: Australia classifies Ritalin as a Schedule 8 controlled substance, which means that you need to keep it in a lockable safe before handing it out. Australia levees heavy fines and even prison sentences against those who carry Ritalin and other Schedule 8 substances without a prescription.
— New Zealand: New Zealand classifies methylphenidate as a class B2 controlled substance, which makes unlawful possession punishable by a six month prison sentence. Distribution of Ritalin is punishable by a 14 year sentence.
— United Kingdom: The UK classifies Ritalin as a Class B substance that carries 5 year prison sentences for possession without a prescription and 14 years for an intent to distribute.
Side Effects of Ritalin
Ritalin was first introduced in 1961 (approved by the FDA in 1955) and is backed by over 50 years of research. Over those 50 years, the drug has repeatedly demonstrated a strong efficacy and safety record for the treatment of ADHD.
Nevertheless, Ritalin is associated with some significant side effects, including all of the following:
— Sleep Problems
— Stomach Pain And Loss Of Appetite
— Weight Loss
— Nausea, Vomiting, And Dizziness
— Heart Palpitations And Increased Heart Rate
— Headache And Vision Problems
More serious side effects of Ritalin are less common but include sweating, skin rash, numbness, tingling, and psychosis.
Who Makes Ritalin?
Ritalin is made by a company named Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. The original patent for Ritalin was owned by CIBA, although that company later renamed itself to Novartis.
Novartis is publically traded on the NYSE under the ticker NVS.
Today, the company is headquartered in East Hanover, New Jersey. You can contact Novartis Pharmaceuticals at 1-888-669-6682 or learn more about the company at their official website here: http://www.us.novartis.com/