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Side Effects of Methylphenidate (Ritalin)


Description: Methylphenidate, commonly known as Ritalin, Concerta,and Quillivant, is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant used primarily in the treatement of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Ritalin is generally a well-tolerated medication, but a small portion of individuals will suffer potentially serious, even life-threatening adverse reactions. This interpatient variation is partially accounted for by the genetic differences between individuals.

Serious Side Effects and Warnings

Serious side effects of Ritalin include heart rhythm changes that are potentially fatal, and psychosis in susceptible individuals. Ritalin also carries a very high potential for abuse and addiction.

Common Side Effects of Ritalin

A number of side effects have been reported when taking Ritalin, according to the Ritalin drug label as reported by the FDA. Nervousness and insomnia are the most common adverse reactions but are usually controlled
by reducing dosage as needed. Other common and less serious side effects of Ritalin include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Mild rash
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness
  • sweating
  • Nervous feeling
  • Insomnia
  • Weight loss

Less Common Side Effects of Ritalin

According to the Ritalin drug label, rare side effects include:

  • Allergic rhinitis (stuffy nose)
  • Epistaxis (nose bleeds)
  • Upper abdominal pain

Understand Your Risks with the Rxight® Genetic Test

The Rxight® pharmacogenetics test is an anlysis of how well you are able to metabolize drugs based on your genes. It tests for 18 genes which control the body’s processing of over 180 and clinically relevant medications, thus allowing the patient and prescriber the ability to see how the medication affects their body and whether it is suitable for them, obviating potentially severe adverse reactions or inefficacy. If not, a more appropriate medicine will be offered. The prescriber may lower the dose or not prescribe Ritalin at all.

Contributors to this Article:
Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

Read more about Rxight® genetic testing for ADHD medications