Ritalin (Methylphenidate) is a psychostimulantdrug approved for treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. It increases the attention span in children with ADHD. Ritalin is not found in nature. It is a synthetic drug, created by chemist in the laboratory. All the Ritalin produced in the United States is produced by one company, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
Methylphenidate is a Class II stimulant according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Ritalin’s ranking as a class II drug means that it is a controlled substance-legally available only with a prescription from a doctor. It also means that while it has a high level of usefulness as a prescription medication, Ritalin also poses a risk for abuse as an illegal stimulant.
Excessive doses of this drug over a long period of time can produce addiction. It is also possible to develop tolerance to the drug, so that larger doses are needed to produce the original effect. It is important that taking and withdrawing this medication should be under a doctor’s supervision.
As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Ritalin(methylphenidate hydrochloride). However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. the most common Ritalin side effects include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
- Weight loss
Ritalin can also temporarily stunt the growth of children. This slowing down of growth is usually small (less than an inch and less than two pounds), and children usually catch up to their normal growth rate with time.
Although Ritalin is well tolerated by most children, there are some children who should not take Ritalin, including children:
- under 6 years old
- with marked anxiety, tension, and agitation
- who are known to be hypersensitive to Ritalin
- who have glaucoma
- with motor tics, Tourette’s syndrome, or a family history of Tourette’s syndrome
- taking MAO inhibitors
There are many potential positive effects of Ritalin. They include:
• Less problematic impulsive behavior
• More attention to other people
• Less hostile aggression
• An increased ability to stick with reading, writing and other projects until they are completed
• Increased self-esteem
• More appropriate social interactions (e.g., listening well to others or sharing)
• Task completion ability
• Enhanced math skills
These are only some of the potential positive effects for those who lack effective levels of the neurotransmitter missing in persons with ADD/ADHD when they receive stimulants. There are possible negative effects as well so it is important to work with a knowledgeable clinician.