Methylphenidate, Concerta®, Metadate CD®, Metadate ER®, Methylin®, Methylin ER ®, Quillivant XR®, Ritalin®, Ritalin® LA, Ritalin® SR
Ritalin is used as part of a treatment program to control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; more difficulty focusing, controlling actions, and remaining still or quiet than other people who are the same age) in adults and children. Ritalin is also used to treat narcolepsy (a sleep disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden attacks of sleep). Ritalin is in a class of medications called central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. It works by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain.
Ritalin tablets contain the active ingredient methylphenidate hydrochloride, which is a type of medicine called a stimulant.
Chemically and Mechanistically Related Drugs
There are two main kinds of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD medications: stimulants and non-stimulants.
Stimulants include Concerta, Ritalin LA, Focalin XR, Metadate CD, Daytrana, Adderall, and Vyvanse. They come as a liquid, pill, capsule, and even a patch. Stimulants work very quickly, and people with ADHD may see an improvement right away.
Non-stimulants work a little differently in the brain than stimulants. They may take longer to work, but they work better than stimulants for some people. Non-stimulants include atomoxetine (Strattera), extended release guanfacine (Intuniv), extended release clonidine (Kapvay), and certain antidepressants (such as Wellbutrin).
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that behavioral therapy be used as the first-line treatment for preschoolers, and that methylphenidate, better known as Ritalin or Concerta, be prescribed only after behavior management therapies have been tried without success.
Use in the Elderly
Depressive symptoms, apathy, and fatigue are common symptoms among medically ill older adults and patients with advanced disease, and are associated with morbidity and mortality. Methylphenidate has been used to treat these symptoms because of its rapid effect.
Methylphenidate U.S. retail sales in 2013 was $1,383,814,000
In the US, Delaware, Virginia and Michigan rank as the top three states for Ritalin use, and most of the prescriptions are for elementary and middle school age children. Doctors in these states prescribe at least 33 grams for every 1,000 residents, 56 percent more than the national average, according to figures compiled by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
During the past few years considerable debate has arisen within academic journals with respect to the use of smart drugs or cognitive enhancement pharmaceuticals. Some studies seek to examine the foundations of this cognitive enhancement debate using the example of methylphenidate use among college students.
The argument taken is that much of the enhancement debate rests upon inflated assumptions about the ability of such drugs to enhance and over-estimations of either the size of the current market for such drugs or the rise in popularity as drugs for enhancing cognitive abilities. Some studies overview empirical evidence that methylphenidate has the ability to significantly improve cognitive abilities in healthy individuals, and examine whether the presumed uptake of the drug is either as socially significant as implied or growing to the extent that it requires urgent regulatory attention. In addition, those studies review the evidence of side-effects for the use of methylphenidate which may be an influential factor in whether an individual decides to use such drugs. The primary conclusions are that neither drug efficacy, nor the benefit-to-risk balance, nor indicators of current or growing demand provide sufficient evidence that methylphenidate is a suitable example of a cognitive enhancer with mass appeal.