Methylphenidate (also known as Ritali or Concerta®) is a medicine used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also used to treat a type of sleep disturbance called narcolepsy. Methylphenidate is available in immediate-release form as a 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg tablet. Methylphenidate is also available as a sustained-release 20-mg white tablet known as Ritalin SR® and as a sustained release capsule known as Ritalin LA® in 20 mg, 30 mg, and 40 mgs. In addition, Methylphenidate is available as an extended-release tablet (called Concerta®) in the following strengths:

  • 18-mg yellow tablet
  • 27-mg gray tablet
  • 36-mg white tablet
  • 54 mg brown-red tablet

Possible side effects

Early (usually within 24 hours)

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Allergic reaction: including rash, itching, swelling in the face or hands, tightness in the chest, or trouble breathing


  • Headache
  • Decreased appetite, weight loss
  • Slower than normal growth
  • Stomach pain
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Blurred vision
  • Nervousness
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Uncontrollable muscle movements or twitching
  • Mood or mental changes

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call 595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions

  • Tell the doctor before you take methylphenidate if you:
    • Are being treated for depression, anxiety, tension, or agitation
    • Have repeated twitching of any part of your body
    • Have repeating of sounds or words
    • Have been diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome or a family member has
    • Have abnormal thoughts or visions, hear abnormal sounds, or have been diagnosed with psychosis
    • Have glaucoma
    • Have seizure disorder
    • Have high blood pressure
    • Have a narrowing or blockage of your esophagus, stomach, or small or large intestine
    • Have taken an monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor, such as phenelzine, isocarboxazid, or tranylcypromine, within the past 14 days
  • Methylphenidate may be taken with or without food.
  • If you forget to take a dose of methylphenidate, take the dose as soon as you can. If you miss a dose, do not take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.
  • Your height, weight, and nutrition status will be monitored every 3 months while you are taking methylphenidate.
  • For children taking methylphenidate, a responsible adult should administer the medicine.
  • Store methylphenidate at room temperature in a safe place.
  • Tell the doctor right away if you take more methylphenidate than prescribed by the doctor.
  • Methylphenidate may interact with other medicines, including:
    • phenytoin
    • phenobarbital
    • carbamazepine
    • primidone
    • MAO inhibitors
    • warfarin
    • clonidine
    • fluoxetine
    • paroxetine
    • sertraline
    • imipramine
    • desipramine
    • amytriptiline
  • Concerta® tablets should be:
    • Swallowed whole and should not be chewed, crushed or cut
    • Taken with a full glass of liquid, such as water, milk, or juice
    • Taken once each day in the morning
  • Concerta® tablets do not dissolve completely after you take them. You may notice Concerta® tablets in your stool. This is normal.
  • Ritalin SR® tablets should be swallowed whole and should not be chewed, crushed, or cut.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).