Here at MindMed we receive numerous questions from people regarding not only natural treatments of ADHD such as ADHD Treatment, but also plenty with respect to medication specifics as well. In our ADHD Medication FAQ series, we try to address the most frequent of these.
Of course when considering trying a new medication, whether switching from another prescription or starting medicinal treatment all together, it is important to be well informed when discussing options with your medical practitioner. Hopefully this will help you in that endeavor.
1. What is Concerta?
Concerta is a relatively recent reissue of what is technically Ritalin. Approved by the FDA in 2000 for public use in the USA, Concerta (who’s chemical name is methylphenidate) is a psychostimulant drug belonging to the amphetamine class of pharmaceuticals and is designed to combat symptoms of the disorder.
2. What’s the difference between Concerta and Ritalin?
Both Concerta and Ritalin have the exact same active ingredient, namely methylphenidate. I detailed overview of this compound can be found here: http://www.pnas.org/content/95/24/14494.short.
In terms of how the medication is felt by patients however, which is what most are really asking, is that Concerta is basically longer and slower release than Ritalin, and as such it avoids the common ‘come down’ effect felt by many Ritalin users.
3. How do I take Concerta?
Simple, tablets are taken (orally) once a day in the morning with or without food, depending of course on the dosage and tablet size prescribed by your doctor. Concerta tablets vary in size from 18 to 72mg, but starting doses tend to be 30mg for the most part.
4. Can I take Concerta?
For the large majority of people, yes you can. It is approved to be prescribed to individuals aged 6 and over, but there are certain restrictions, such as during pregnancy or within two weeks of any MAOI medications. The former should avoid Concerta all together.
5. Does Concerta have any side effects?
Like all drugs, Concerta is not without its side effects, both serious and mild, and common and uncommon. Among the common are issues such as restlessness, headaches, weight loss and dry mouth. These are usually short lasting and not serious.
More infrequently effects such as euphoria, constipation and/or diarrhea are felt, as well as motor tics, blistering, confusion, and high blood pressure. Stop taking Concerta immediately and consult your health care practitioner if any of these side effects are observed.
6. Is Concerta addictive?
Concerta has the potential for addiction, but this is mostly among people who do not have ADHD.
7. Is Concerta the right medication for my child?
To truly know the answer to the question, one must consult a medical professional. To help you become better informed before that meeting however, be sure to read message boards of people with ADHD who have taken it before, as they can tell you from first had experience.
To help you better understand the drug Concerta, Viveck Baluja, M.D. gives a great overview in the following video: