What Is Methylphenidate? Side Effects of Methylphenidate Drugs

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Last Update Date: 15 April 2021

Methylphenidate is an active substance commonly prescribed to children for the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). The side effects of this drug can cause worry among parents. In this article, we compiled the following: what methylphenidate is, it’s usage areas and side effects.

What Is Methylphenidate?

Methylphenidate A type of central nervous system (CNS) stimulus. In our country, Ritalin and Concerta are the most commonly prescribed drugs in the treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. With ADHD; over-sleep tendency (narcolepsy) and advanced chronic fatigue syndromes are also prescribed.

Methylphenidate for children with ADHD

Methylphenidate has always been a question mark for parents in the treatment of children with ADHD. This is due to the various side effects caused by methylphenidate in drugs such as Ritalin, Concerta, Methylin, and others, and the fact that it could cause addiction over a period of time. In such cases, families have to make a profit-loss account.

To learn more about ADHD treatment methods, read our article: ADHD Treatment With and Without Medication

Many families refuse to use drugs when the side effects of the drugs, such as Ritalin and Concerta, are more prominent than the negative effects of the illness. Exactly the opposite situation can occur. Despite the side effects of drugs, if there are more negative effects of the illness than the adverse effects of the drug, methylphenidate-containing drugs may be favored.

The best thing to do is to let the psychiatrist make this decision, not the parents who are too emotional. However, medical experts do consider the family's opinion when prescribing the drug.

Children who receive treatment with methylphenidate-containing drugs can experience better results when the treatment is supported with mental exercises. MentalUP games are designed specifically for children with attention problems.

From boosting your children’s mental and cognitive skills to improving their visual and verbal intelligence, MentalUP has plenty to offer. Plus, the appealing design, which was developed by academicians specialized in their fields, is loved by millions of children around the world.

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So, in what situations is methylphenidate used, and what are the side effects? Let's go through these topics:

Methylphenidate-Containing Drugs

The most common drugs containing methylphenidate are Ritalin and Concerta.

Drugs with methylphenidate

What Is Ritalin?

Ritalin is one of the most commonly prescribed medications which contains methylphenidate. It helps increase learning and listening skills, concentration levels, as well as control behavior problems. It is also one of the most affordable drugs among brand name medications for ADHD.

What Is Concerta?

Like Ritalin, Concerta is a drug containing methylphenidate and is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs within the field, mostly used for treating attention deficit disorder and similar illnesses.

In Which Situations Is Methylphenidate Used?

Methylphenidate usage areas

Methylphenidate should be only prescribed by your doctor, usually in the following situations.

List of Cases

Here are some of the cases that methylphenidate can be prescribed for:

Lack of Concentration

Laziness is not the only reason for low grades in school. Lack of concentration can affect children’s grades greatly. Not every concentration problem needs medical treatment. However, in some cases, especially with children, lack of concentration can impair children’s learning ability. Therefore, your doctor may require treatment with methylphenidates.

Focusing Problems

Like concentration problems, severe lack of focus may cause damage to the mental, physical and social development of both children and adults (e.g. low grades, poor performance at work, etc.). Learn how to overcome focus and concentration problems from our article.

Lack of Attention

Attention is something that is required from adults and children on a daily basis. Lack of attention can cause accidents, learning deficiencies, and social disorders. Therefore, it is important to treat it adequately and with medication if deemed necessary by a medical professional.


Hyperactivity is most common among children. ADHD can affect many aspects of a child’s life, so it is important to consult a doctor for proper medication. You can also benefit from mental exercises MentalUP provides, along with medical treatment.

Impulsivity, Impulse Control Disorder

ICD is a psychological disorder, resulting in failure to resist or overcome temptation or an impulse.

Feeling Sleep-Deprived (Narcolepsy)

Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder that has a massive effect on both adults and children. A mind and body suffering from sleeping disorders will eventually start to dysfunction. Therefore, medication can help reboot and organize your sleep cycle.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

CFS is a state of body and mind when a person (usually adults) always feels extreme fatigue, which doesn’t go away with rest. It can affect school, work, and relationships. To establish the diagnosis, your doctor will first rule out other causes, because there are no tests for CFS, and start the necessary medical treatment.

Such complaints are the main usage areas of methylphenidate-containing medicines. When you look at the above items, an interesting detail must have attracted your attention.

Methylphenidate has the opposite effect according to the type of complaint. It reduces the excessive mobility of patients with hyperactivity disorder and increases the hyperactivity of patients with chronic fatigue symptoms. Because of these reasons, drugs like Ritalin and Concerta are generally thought to be some kind of balancers.

Children with ADHD may require special attention during learning. MentalUP helps children boost their success in school, improve their attention span, and enhance their cognitive skills!

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So, what are the side effects of drugs containing methylphenidates, such as Ritalin?

side effects of Ritalin

Methylphenidate Side Effects

As with any drug, drugs containing methylphenidate have a number of side effects. An important detail is that this drug is often prescribed to children with ADHD; therefore, its side effects are a common concern among parents. The side effects can vary from short-term to long-term ones.

The Ritalin and Concerta side effects are the most commonly experienced adverse effects of methylphenidate because they are the most commonly prescribed medications within the field. Here are some of the effects of the usage of methylphenidate.

  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Altered heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Respiratory depression
  • Chest pain
  • Raised or lowered blood pressure

Long-Term Side Effects

Frequent and long-term usage of drugs containing methylphenidate, such as Ritalin and Concerta, can cause an addiction. It is important to use as much and for as long as advised by your doctor. For instance, methylphenidate long-term side effects can be:

  • Disorientation and apathy
  • Delusions, hallucinations, and other signs of a psychotic disorder
  • Frequent seizure activity
  • Anorexia and marked weight loss
  • Alternating bouts of mania and depression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Addiction.

The adverse effects of methylphenidate above can be seen in a very small number of patients using the drug. That's why your doctor evaluates your child’s eligibility for using this drug with various tests and questions.

For example, people with congenital or postnatal heart disease are at risk of death. Therefore, it is vital that they are used under the supervision of a physician.

If you observe any unusual effects other than the side effects listed above, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Methylphenidate Side Effects in Children

As addressed before, methylphenidate is commonly prescribed to kids with ADHD. The common dosage for them is 5 mg tablets. The methylphenidate 5 mg tablet side effects are weaker than the methylphenidate 18 mg tablet side effects.

Methylphenidate side effects

Is it Possible to Treat Attention Deficit Disorder Without Medication?

The side effects of methylphenidate can drive people to seek non-medical treatment. Especially parents who are concerned about their children developing an addiction prefer other ways of treatment. Drug-free treatment methods are also available for attention deficit disorder, and they are more favored among parents, but a psychiatry specialist should decide whether medication is required or not.

This decision may vary depending on the severity of the problem and the nature of the patient. In some cases, treatment with medication and drug-free treatment process is carried out at the same time and it is thought to be the most effective method. So, behavioral therapies and exercises are recommended in addition to treatment with medication.

MentalUP, which is a worldwide PEDAGOGICAL application, contains attention exercises, and it is developed by academicians specialized in their fields. During the development of MentalUP, many medical specialists and game specialists supported the application.

MentalUP Attention Exercises are designed especially as games because the first priority is to appeal to children with attention problems. The results were quite satisfying. Children love MentalUP. And they gladly complete their daily exercises without missing anything.

MentalUP, which allows you to compare both your children’s attention levels and mental skills with their peers’, also automatically structures the personal daily work plan. Throughout this process, performance reports will give you very important statistics.

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"NOTE: This article is a research paper for informative purposes. No institution or person is targeted in the article. The information that is considered to be in the public's interest is provided from reliable sources but the accuracy is not 100% promised. Interpretations and misconduct is the responsibility of readers.”