Concerta is a prescription drug that's used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This condition affects your ability to pay attention. It can also cause you to have impulsiveness and hyperactivity, as well as excessive movements.

Concerta is approved for use in children ages 6 years and older, and in adults up to age 65 years.

Concerta comes as tablets that are taken by mouth once each day. The tablets are extended release, which means they release the medication over time.

Concerta contains the drug methylphenidate. It belongs to a class of medications called stimulants. Concerta works by increasing levels in your brain of two neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) called norepinephrine and dopamine. Increasing these neurotransmitter levels helps to stimulate your brain, which can improve the symptoms of ADHD.

Effectiveness

Concerta has been shown in studies to be effective in treating ADHD in both adults and children. The results of some of these studies are described below.

Effectiveness in children

Three different clinical trials studied Concerta use in children ages 6 to 12 years. A significant decrease in inattention and overactivity was seen in children taking Concerta compared to those taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug).

One study that included adolescents (children ages 13 to 18 years) used the Investigator ADHD Rating Scale to measure ADHD symptoms. For this scale, lower scores indicate fewer ADHD symptoms, while higher scores indicate more ADHD symptoms. In adolescents taking Concerta, scores decreased by about 15 points. In comparison, in adolescents taking a placebo, scores decreased by less than 10 points.

Effectiveness in adults

A clinical trial also showed that Concerta significantly reduced inattention in adults taking the drug compared to people taking a placebo. The Connors' Adult ADHD Rating Scale (CAARS) was used to measure people's ADHD symptoms during these studies. For this scale, lower scores indicate fewer ADHD symptoms, while higher scores indicate more ADHD symptoms.

In adults taking 18 mg of Concerta once daily, their scores decreased by about 10.6 points. In adults taking 36 mg of the drug, scores decreased by about 11.5 points. In adults taking 72 mg of Concerta, scores decreased by 13.7 points. In comparison, scores were decreased by 7.6 points in people taking the placebo.

Is Concerta a controlled substance?

Yes, Concerta is a controlled substance. This means that Concerta is regulated by the federal government. It's regulated because people can sometimes become dependent on the medication. Dependence on a drug means that your body needs to have the drug in order for you to feel normal. This condition can lead people to misuse a drug.

Concerta is considered a Schedule II (CII) drug. Schedule numbers show how easily the drug may be misused. Schedule II drugs, such as Concerta, have a higher risk of being misused than drugs with a higher schedule number.

Always keep your medication in a safe place where other people can't access it. This helps prevent others from misusing the drug. It's against the law to sell or give your Concerta tablets to anyone who doesn't have a prescription for the drug.

Before you or your child start taking Concerta, talk with your doctor if you or your child has a history of drug misuse. Your doctor can recommend whether or not Concerta is a good treatment option.

Concerta is available in a generic form. The generic name for this medication is methylphenidate ER (extended release).

Generic medications are often cheaper than brand-name medications. However, generic and brand-name medications contain the same active drug, and they work the same way inside your body.

Concerta contains the active drug methylphenidate in a long-lasting formulation.

The Concerta dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you're using Concerta to treat
  • your age
  • other medical conditions you may have

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then they'll adjust it over time to reach the amount that's right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to suit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Concerta comes as a tablets that are taken once daily. This drug is only taken once each day since it lasts for about 12 hours in your body.

Concerta is available in these strengths:

  • 18 mg
  • 27 mg
  • 36 mg
  • 54 mg

Dosage for ADHD

The typical starting dosage for adults, ages 18 to 65 years, is 18 mg to 36 mg taken by mouth once daily in the morning. Your doctor may increase your Concerta dose by 18 mg daily each week after starting the drug.

For example, say you start taking 36 mg every day, and that dose isn't working for you. After at least a week, your doctor may increase your dosage to 54 mg per day. After another week, if that dosage is still not working for you, your doctor may increase your dosage to 72 mg daily. The maximum dosage of Concerta in adults is 72 mg each day.

Dosage of Concerta for ADHD when switching from other drugs

If you're already taking another form of methylphenidate (the active drug in Concerta) and you're switching to Concerta, your starting dosage of Concerta may be different from the typical starting dosage. Other drugs that contain methylphenidate include Quillichew and Ritalin.

If you're taking a drug that contains methylphenidate, you may start taking Concerta at a higher dose than typical (18 mg per day). This is because your body may already be adjusted to the medication. Your doctor will recommend a starting dosage for you depending on what medications you've used in the past.

Pediatric dosage

For children ages 6 to 17 years, the typical starting dosage of Concerta is 18 mg taken by mouth once daily in the morning. Their doctor may increase their dosage by 18 mg daily each week.

For example, you or your child may take 18 mg of Concerta for the first week of treatment. If after a week the 18 mg dose isn't improving ADHD symptoms, your doctor may increase the dosage to 36 mg daily. If after another week the medication is still not effective, they may increase it to 54 mg each day.

The maximum daily dosage of Concerta in younger children, ages 6 to 12 years, is 54 mg each day. In adolescents ages 13 to 17 years, the maximum daily dosage of Concerta is 72 mg daily.

What if I miss a dose?

If you or your child misses a dose of Concerta, it may be best to wait until the next day to take the drug. In this case, you'd just skip the missed dose.

Concerta works in you or your child's body for about 12 hours after you take it. If it's taken too late in the day, the drug can keep you awake at night.

Never take more than one dose of Concerta at a time to make up for a missed dose. Doing this can lead to an overdose of Concerta, which can be very serious.

If you or your child have missed more than one dose of Concerta, and you aren't sure when to take the next dose, call your doctor or pharmacist. They will be able to recommend the best time to restart the medication.

To help make sure that you don't miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Concerta is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Concerta is safe and effective for you, you'll likely take it long term. Sometimes your doctor may stop your medication to see if your symptoms have improved and whether you still need the medication.

Concerta can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Concerta. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Concerta, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

More common side effects

The more common side effects of Concerta in adults can include:

  • decreased appetite, which may lead to weight loss
  • nausea
  • stomach ache
  • anxiety
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • feeling irritable or easily annoyed
  • hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
  • headache
  • increased blood pressure
  • diarrhea
  • feeling tired

These side effects were reported in clinical studies of people taking Concerta in dosages that are approved to treat ADHA and in dosages that are not approved to treat ADHD. Your individual side effects may vary depending on your prescribed dosage of the drug.

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they're more severe or don't go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Concerta aren't common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you're having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Heart-related problems. Symptoms can include:
    • chest pain
    • trouble breathing
    • fainting
  • Increased blood pressure. Symptoms can include:
    • headache
    • feeling tired
    • trouble breathing
  • Seizures. Symptoms can include:
    • confusion
    • loss of consciousness
    • uncontrolled movements
  • Priapism. Symptoms can include:
    • having pain with an erection
    • erections that last longer than 4 hours
  • Psychiatric problems. Symptoms can include:
    • feeling depressed
    • hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that aren't real)
    • aggression
  • Problems with circulation in your fingers and toes. Symptoms in the area affected can include:
    • feeling cold or numb
    • changes in color (may appear very pale or blue)
    • pain
  • Changes in vision. Symptoms can include:
    • blurred vision
    • trouble focusing on objects both near and far away
  • Decreased growth in children. Symptoms can include:
    • lower height compared to the height of an average child
    • lower weight compared to the weight of an average child

Other serious side effects, which are discussed in the "Side effect details section" below, include:

  • depression
  • severe allergic reaction
  • alopecia (hair loss)
  • drug dependence

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug, or whether certain side effects pertain to it. Here's some detail on several of the side effects this drug may or may not cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Concerta. It's not known for sure how often people taking Concerta have an allergic reaction to the drug. Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Concerta. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you're having a medical emergency.

Drug dependence

Some people may develop dependence on Concerta when taking this drug. With drug dependence, your body needs the drug in order for you to feel normal. Not taking the drug could cause you to have abnormal behaviors.

Symptoms of drug dependence can include:

  • feeling that you need to take the medication daily
  • having urges to take the medication
  • feeling like you need to take higher doses of the medication to get the same effect

If you have a history of drug or alcohol dependence, you should be very careful when taking Concerta. This is because your risk of dependence on Concerta may be increased. If you have a history of drug or alcohol misuse, your doctor may prescribe a different medication for you. If you do take Concerta, you may be monitored more often while you're taking this medication.

If you have concerns about drug dependence while using Concerta, talk with your doctor. They can discuss your treatment options with you.

Weight loss

You may have weight loss while you're taking Concerta. This drug can decrease your appetite, which may cause weight loss. In clinical trials, weight loss occurred in 6.5% of adults taking Concerta. Of those taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug), 3.3% had weight loss.

If you're concerned about weight loss while you're taking Concerta, talk with your doctor. They can recommend diet tips to help you maintain a healthy weight during treatment.

Depression

Depression is a possible side effect of Concerta. However, in clinical trials, depression occurred in only 1.7% of adults taking the drug. Of those taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug), 0.9% had the same result.

Symptoms of depression can include:

  • feeling sad
  • not being interested in things that normally excite you
  • anxiety

If you begin to feel depressed or have changes in your mood while you're taking Concerta, talk with your doctor. They can monitor your symptoms and recommend if you should continue treatment with Concerta.

Headache

Headaches are a common side effect of Concerta. In clinical trials, headaches occurred in 22.2% of adults taking the drug. Of those taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug), 15.6% had the same result.

If you have new or worsening headaches while you're taking Concerta, talk with your doctor. They can recommend ways to help relieve your headaches.

Tiredness

Some people feel tired while taking Concerta. This side effect is also known as fatigue (lack of energy). However, in clinical trials, less than 1% of people taking Concerta felt tired.

If you're feeling fatigued during Concerta treatment, talk with your doctor. They can recommend ways to help you improve your energy levels.

Hair loss

Hair loss (alopecia) wasn't a side effect of Concerta in clinical trials. However, after Concerta was approved for use, some people taking the drug have reported hair loss.

Symptoms of alopecia can include:

  • patches of hair loss on your head
  • thinning of your hair
  • hair loss on your body

Hair loss isn't a common side effect of Concerta. And it usually improves once you've stopped taking the drug. However, if you notice that your hair is thinning or you're losing hair while taking Concerta, talk with your doctor. They can recommend ways to manage this side effect.

Insomnia

You may have insomnia (trouble sleeping), while you're taking Concerta. With insomnia, you can have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. This is a common side effect in people taking this drug, probably because Concerta is a stimulant. These types of drugs cause you to have increased energy and feel more awake.

In clinical trials, insomnia occurred in 12.3% of people taking Concerta. Of those taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug), 6.1% had insomnia.

If you have trouble sleeping while you're taking Concerta, talk with your doctor. They can recommend ways to improve the quality of your sleep.

Nausea

Nausea is a common side effect of Concerta. In clinical trials, nausea occurred in 12.8% of people taking Concerta. Of those taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug), 3.3% had nausea.

If you're bothered by nausea while you're taking Concerta, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can recommend ways to improve this side effect.

You can also try to avoid taking Concerta on an empty stomach. It might help you feel less nauseous if you eat breakfast before you take your Concerta dose, or if you take your dose with a large glass of milk.

Diarrhea

You may have diarrhea while you're taking Concerta. However, diarrhea wasn't a very common side effect in clinical trials of the drug. In studies, less than 1% of people taking Concerta had diarrhea.

If you're having diarrhea while taking Concerta, talk with your doctor. They can recommend ways to improve this side effect, and they may check to see if there's another reason why you're having diarrhea.

Dry mouth

Dry mouth was a common side effect of Concerta in clinical trials. During studies, 14% of people taking Concerta had a dry mouth. Of those taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug), 3.8% had the same result.

Dry mouth can be bothersome for some people. If you experience dry mouth as a side effect, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about ways to improve the condition. Sometimes chewing on gum or candy can help relieve dryness in your mouth.

Weight gain (not a side effect)

Weight gain isn't a side effect of Concerta, and it wasn't seen in clinical trials of the drug. Actually, Concerta can decrease your appetite, which may cause weight loss in some people.

In clinical trials, 6.5% of people taking Concerta experienced weight loss. Of those taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug), 3.3% had the same result.

If you're concerned about weight gain while you're taking Concerta, talk with your doctor. They can recommend diet and exercise tips to help you maintain a healthy weight.

Side effects in children

During clinical trials, the most common side effect of Concerta in children was upper belly pain. This side effect occurred in 6.2% of children taking Concerta. Of those taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug), 3.8% had the same result.

Other common side effects of Concerta that children ages 6 to 17 years may experience include:

If you're concerned about side effects in children taking Concerta, talk with your doctor. They can recommend ways to manage side effects of Concerta.

Other drugs are available that can treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some may be better suited for you than others. If you're interested in finding an alternative to Concerta, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed here are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that's approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat ADHD include:

  • mixed amphetamine salts (Adderall)
  • dexmethylphenidate (Focalin)
  • methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • atomoxetine (Strattera)
  • lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
  • clonidine (Catapres)
  • guanfacine (Intuniv)

You may wonder how Concerta compares to other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Concerta and Adderall are alike and different.

About

Concerta contains a long-lasting form of methylphenidate, while Adderall contains mixed amphetamine salts. Concerta and Adderall are both central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. These types of drugs change the level of certain chemicals in your brain.

Uses

Concerta is approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It's used in people ages 6 to 65 years with this condition.

Adderall is also approved to treat ADHD. It's used in people ages 3 years and older with this condition. Adderall is also approved to treat narcolepsy.

Drug forms and administration

Concerta is available as a long-acting tablet that's taken by mouth, in the morning. Concerta is available in the following strengths:

  • 18 mg
  • 27 mg
  • 36 mg
  • 54 mg

Your dosage of Concerta will depend on your age and certain ADHD treatments that you may have used in the past. For more information about dosages of Concerta, see the "Concerta dosage" section above.

Adderall is also taken by mouth, usually once to three times each day.

Adderall is available in two forms: an immediate-release tablet (called Adderall) and an extended-release tablet (called Adderall XR). Like Concerta, Adderall XR releases the medication over time. But the immediate-release form of Adderall releases the medication all at once.

Adderall (immediate-release form) is available in the following strengths:

  • 5 mg
  • 7.5 mg
  • 10 mg
  • 12.5 mg
  • 15 mg
  • 20 mg
  • 30 mg

Adderall XR (extended-release form) is available in the following strengths:

  • 5 mg
  • 10 mg
  • 15 mg
  • 20 mg
  • 25 mg
  • 30 mg

Your dosage of Adderall will depend on your age, the form of Adderall that you're taking, and certain ADHD treatments that you may have used in the past.

Side effects and risks

Concerta and Adderall both contain drugs that are central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. Therefore, both medications can cause very similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

More common side effects

These lists contain examples of more common side effects that can occur with Concerta, with Adderall, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Concerta:
    • belly pain
    • excessive sweating
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • cough
  • Can occur with Adderall:
    • unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Can occur with both Concerta and Adderall:
    • dry mouth
    • diarrhea
    • weight loss
    • decreased appetite
    • trouble sleeping (insomnia)

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Concerta, with Adderall, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Concerta:
    • seizures
    • blockage in your intestines
  • Can occur with Adderall:
    • severe rash (Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis)
  • Can occur with both Concerta and Adderall:
    • increased blood pressure
    • increased heart rate
    • heart attack
    • psychiatric problems, such as depression
    • tics (uncontrollable movements that you do repeatedly)
    • problems with your blood circulation
    • drug misuse and dependence
    • severe allergic reaction
    • prolonged and painful erections
    • blurry vision
    • decreased growth, which affects body height and weight

Effectiveness

Concerta and Adderall are both stimulant medications that are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

These drugs haven't been directly compared in clinical studies. But separate studies have found both Concerta and Adderall to be effective for treating ADHD.

Costs

Concerta and Adderall are both brand-name drugs. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics. Generic drugs are available for both Concerta and Adderall.

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Concerta is generally more expensive than Adderall. The generic form of Concerta (methylphenidate ER) is also more expensive than the generic form of Adderall (mixed amphetamine salts).

The actual price you'll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

You may wonder how Concerta compares to other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Concerta and Vyvanse are alike and different.

About

Concerta contains the drug methylphenidate, while Vyvanse contains the drug lisdexamfetamine dimesylate. Concerta and Vyvanse are both central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. These types of drugs change the level of certain chemicals in your brain.

Uses

Concerta is approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It's used in people ages 6 to 65 years with this condition.

Vyvanse is also approved to treat ADHD. It's used in people ages 6 years and older with the condition. In addition to ADHD, Vyvanse is approved to treat moderate to severe binge eating disorder.

Drug forms and administration

Concerta comes as long-acting tablets that are taken by mouth, once each day in the morning. Concerta tablets come in the following strengths:

  • 18 mg
  • 27 mg
  • 36 mg
  • 54 mg

Your dosage of Concerta will depend on your age and certain ADHD treatments that you may have used in the past. For more information about dosages of Concerta, see the "Concerta dosage" section above.

Vyvanse is also taken once daily every morning. It comes as capsules and as chewable tablets. These forms of Vyvanse are available in the following strengths:

  • capsules:
    • 10 mg
    • 20 mg
    • 30 mg
    • 40 mg
    • 50 mg
    • 60 mg
    • 70 mg
  • chewable tablets:
    • 10 mg
    • 20 mg
    • 30 mg
    • 40 mg
    • 50 mg
    • 60 mg

Vyvanse capsules can be swallowed whole. They can also be opened and sprinkled into yogurt, water, or orange juice, and then swallowed. Vyvanse chewable tablets must be chewed completely before they are swallowed.

Your dosage of Vyvanse will depend on your age, the form of Vyvanse you're taking, and certain ADHD treatments that you may have used in the past.

Side effects and risks

Concerta and Vyvanse both contain drugs that are central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. Therefore, both medications can cause very similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

More common side effects

These lists contain examples of more common side effects that can occur with Concerta, with Vyvanse, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Concerta:
    • cough
    • diarrhea
  • Can occur with Vyvanse:
    • trouble breathing
  • Can occur with both Concerta and Vyvanse:
    • decreased appetite
    • weight loss
    • trouble sleeping (insomnia)
    • belly pain
    • vomiting
    • dry mouth
    • excessive sweating
    • nausea

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Concerta, with Vyvanse, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Concerta:
    • prolonged and painful erections
    • seizures
    • blurry vision
    • blockage in your intestines
  • Can occur with Vyvanse:
    • serotonin syndrome (a dangerous condition caused by a buildup of serotonin in your body)
  • Can occur with both Concerta and Vyvanse:

Effectiveness

Concerta and Vyvanse are both used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The use of Concerta and Vyvanse in treating ADHD has been directly compared in a clinical study that looked at adolescents ages 13 to 17 years. People's ADHD symptoms were scored using the ADHD Rating Scale IV (ADHD-RS-IV). This scale measures people's ADHD symptoms, with scores ranging from 0 to 54. Lower scores indicate fewer ADHD symptoms.

In the study, people taking Vyvanse had a decrease of 25.4 points in their symptom score after treatment. People taking Concerta had a decrease of 22.1 points in their score. People taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug) had a decrease of 17 points in their score.

This direct comparison of Vyvanse and Concerta showed that Vyvanse was better at reducing ADHD symptom scores than Concerta was. However, each person will respond differently to the medications. Sometimes one medication may be preferred over another. You can discuss with your doctor which drug is better for your treatment.

Costs

Concerta and Vyvanse are both brand-name drugs. There is a generic form of Concerta available, which is called methylphenidate ER. Vyvanse does not have a generic form available. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics, but generics work in your body the same way as their brand-name parent drugs do.

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, brand-name Concerta is more expensive than Vyvanse. However, the generic form of Concerta is less expensive than Vyvanse. The actual price you'll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

You may wonder how Concerta compares to other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Concerta and Ritalin LA are alike and different.

About

Both Concerta and Ritalin LA are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Concerta is approved for use in adults and children ages 6 to 65 years. Ritalin LA is approved for use only in children ages 6 to 12 years.

Concerta and Ritalin LA both contain a long-acting form of the drug methylphenidate. Although these medications contain the same drug, they don't act exactly the same way in your body.

Concerta releases the drug over the course of about 12 hours. This way, you can take Concerta in the morning and you'll have symptom relief for most of your day. Ritalin LA also releases the drug over time. However, it only lasts for about 6 hours in your body. After this period of time, you may notice an increase in your ADHD symptoms.

Effectiveness and safety

Concerta and Ritalin LA were compared in a small clinical study. This study showed that Ritalin LA was more effective in treating ADHD symptoms in the morning, within the first 4 hours after it was taken, than Concerta was.

However, because Ritalin LA wears off after about 6 hours, Concerta may be a better option for some people. This is because the effects of Concerta last for about 12 hours in your body.

In the study, both Ritalin LA and Concerta were effective in treating ADHD symptoms. However, because the medications release differently in your body, there are differences in their effectiveness after certain amounts of time since they were taken.

Costs

Concerta and Ritalin LA are both brand-name drugs. There are currently generic forms of both drugs available. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Concerta generally costs more than Ritalin LA. The generic form of Concerta (called methylphenidate ER) is also more expensive than the generic form of Ritalin LA (called methylphenidate LA).

The actual price you'll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Concerta.

Is Concerta a stimulant?

Yes, Concerta is a stimulant medication. It works by stimulating your central nervous system (CNS), which includes your brain and spinal cord. It's thought that Concerta stimulates your CNS by increasing the levels of two brain chemicals: norepinephrine and dopamine. Both of these chemicals help your brain to pay attention and focus.

Will I have withdrawal symptoms if I stop using Concerta?

You may have withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking Concerta. This is because Concerta affects certain brain chemicals called norepinephrine and dopamine. Once you stop taking Concerta, your brain will have less of these chemicals, which can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Examples of withdrawal symptoms include:

  • anxiety
  • nausea
  • headaches
  • feeling tired
  • increased appetite
  • feeling irritable

Withdrawal symptoms can begin within 24 hours of your last dose of Concerta. But the symptoms usually don't last for more than 7 days after your last dose of the drug.

If you're taking a high dose of Concerta, your doctor may make a schedule for you to slowly decrease your dose. This can help to reduce the withdrawal effects that you may have by quickly stopping your higher dose of Concerta.

If you're having withdrawal symptoms, talk with your doctor about ways to reduce your symptoms.

Can Concerta make me 'high'?

It possibly can. Concerta affects levels of a brain chemical called dopamine. An increase in dopamine can cause a "high" feeling. This feeling is often called euphoria (a feeling of extreme happiness).

However, in clinical studies, Concerta caused less euphoria than Ritalin, another drug that also contains methylphenidate. This is because Concerta releases the drug slowly over time, while Ritalin releases all of drug at once. Ritalin's quicker release of the drug causes a faster increase in your dopamine level. This faster rise in dopamine levels can cause more of a "high" feeling.

When you take Concerta, only about 22% of the drug is released right away into your body. Because of this, your dopamine levels are increased slower than they are with Ritalin. Concerta can cause a "high" feeling, but not as often as other medications do.

If you have concerns about feeling "high" while you're using Concerta, talk with your doctor. They can discuss this risk with you and review all of your treatment options.

Will Concerta stunt my child's growth?

Yes, Concerta can affect your child's growth. Your child's height and weight will be monitored while they're taking the drug. If your child isn't growing like they should be, your doctor may stop treatment with Concerta.

In clinical trials, decreased height and weight were seen in children taking Concerta.

After 3 years of treatment with the drug, children were shorter by an average of 2 centimeters (about 0.7 inches) than children who weren't taking the drug.

Those taking Concerta also had a lower body weight by an average of 2.7 kilograms (almost 6 pounds) than those not taking the drug.

If you're concerned about your child's height or weight during Concerta treatment, talk with your doctor.

Can I take Concerta if I have heart problems?

You possibly can. Concerta is a stimulant medication that can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Before starting Concerta, your doctor will make sure that your heart is healthy enough for you to take a stimulant medication.

If you have high blood pressure, heart failure, or a history of heart attack, your doctor may do extra testing to be sure your heart is healthy enough for you to take Concerta.

Adults have a higher risk of heart problems while taking stimulants. Adults with certain heart problems should avoid taking stimulant medications. These heart problems include:

Concerta should also be avoided in children with structural heart issues or other serious heart problems. Sudden death, stroke, and heart attack have occurred in people taking stimulant medications.

Talk with your doctor about any history of heart problems before you begin taking Concerta.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Concerta to treat certain conditions. Concerta may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that's approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Concerta is FDA-approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children ages 6 to 65 years.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a common condition that's usually diagnosed in childhood. But it can continue into your adult life. Symptoms of ADHD include:

  • having trouble paying attention, or focusing on and completing tasks
  • getting easily distracted
  • acting impulsively, without thinking of the consequences
  • constantly fidgeting and being overactive

To be diagnosed with ADHD, your symptoms must cause trouble in multiple settings, such as at home, work, or school. Your symptoms must also be present before the age of 7 years.

It's not known for sure what causes ADHD. However, genetics probably play a role in the development of this condition. This means that if someone in your immediate family has ADHD, you're more likely to also have ADHD than if no one in your family had the condition.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 10.6% of children ages 5 to 17 have ADHD. The FDA estimates that ADHD is also present in about 4% of adults.

Types of ADHD

There are three different types of ADHD, which can all be treated with Concerta. To be diagnosed with any type of ADHD, you'll need to have had certain symptoms of the condition for at least 6 months. The three types of ADHD are described below.

  • Mostly inattentive. With this type of ADHD, it may be hard for you to pay attention or finish a task. You might also get easily distracted.
  • Mostly hyperactive/impulsive. With this type of ADHD, you can't sit still for long periods of time. You feel restless and impulsive, and have trouble waiting for your turn or following directions.
  • Combined inattentive and hyperactive. With this type of ADHD, it may be hard for you to pay attention and finish a task, but you're also hyperactive, and feel restless and impulsive.

Effectiveness of Concerta for ADHD

Concerta has been shown in studies to be effective in treating ADHD in both adults and children. The results of some of these studies are described below.

Effectiveness in children

Three different clinical trials studied Concerta use in children ages 6 to 12 years. A significant decrease in inattention and overactivity was seen in children taking Concerta compared to those taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug).

One study that included adolescents (children ages 13 to 18 years) used the Investigator ADHD Rating Scale to measure ADHD symptoms. For this scale, lower scores indicate fewer ADHD symptoms, while higher scores indicate more ADHD symptoms. In adolescents taking Concerta, scores decreased by about 15 points. In comparison, in adolescents taking a placebo, scores decreased by less than 10 points.

Effectiveness in adults

A clinical trial also showed that Concerta significantly reduced inattention in adults taking the drug compared to people taking a placebo. The Connors' Adult ADHD Rating Scale (CAARS) was used to measure people's ADHD symptoms during these studies. For this scale, lower scores indicate fewer ADHD symptoms, while higher scores indicate more ADHD symptoms.

In adults taking 18 mg of Concerta once daily, their scores decreased by about 10.6 points. In adults taking 36 mg of the drug, their scores decreased by about 11.5 points. In adults taking 72 mg of Concerta, their scores decreased by 13.7 points. In comparison, scores were decreased by 7.6 points in people taking the placebo.

Concerta for children

Concerta is approved for use in children ages 6 years and older with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Concerta shouldn't be used in children under 6 years of age.

You may wonder if Concerta is used for other conditions. Below we describe conditions that shouldn't be treated with Concerta.

Concerta for weight loss (not an appropriate use)

Although weight loss is a side effect of Concerta, this drug isn't approved for weight loss and it shouldn't be used for this purpose.

Using Concerta for weight loss is not an appropriate use of the drug. If you'd like to discuss weight loss aids, talk with your doctor.

Concerta for anxiety (not an appropriate use)

Concerta isn't approved for use in people with anxiety or to treat anxiety. Sometimes stimulant medications such as Concerta can make anxiety symptoms even worse. If you have both anxiety and ADHD, Concerta may not be the right medication for you, because it can make your anxiety even worse.

If you have anxiety and ADHD, talk with your doctor about your treatment options.

Concerta for bipolar disorder (not an appropriate use)

Concerta isn't approved to treat bipolar disorder, and it shouldn't be used in people with this condition. With bipolar disorder, people can have extreme changes in their mood and energy levels.

Concerta is not an appropriate treatment for people with ADHD who also have bipolar disorder. Taking Concerta can make your bipolar disorder worse. If you have bipolar disorder and take Concerta, you may have manic symptoms, which include hearing or seeing things that aren't real.

Your doctor may check to be sure that you don't have bipolar disorder before you start treatment with Concerta. If you have bipolar disorder and ADHD, talk with your doctor about your treatment options.

Concerta for narcolepsy (not an appropriate use)

Concerta isn't approved to treat narcolepsy. With this condition, you may feel unusually tired and fall asleep suddenly.

Sometimes Concerta is prescribed off-label to treat sleep disorders when typical treatments don't work. However, Concerta is not approved to treat narcolepsy.

If you have narcolepsy and ADHD, talk with your doctor about your treatment options.

Concerta shouldn't be taken with alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it decreases the activity of your nervous system. Concerta, on the other hand, is a stimulant medication. It increases the activity of your nervous system. This means that Concerta can mask the effects of alcohol in your body and make difficult for you to know how much alcohol you've drunk.

Concerta can also cause dependence in some people. With dependence, your body needs the drug in order for you to feel normal. It's not recommended that you take Concerta if you have a history of alcohol or drug dependence.

Alcohol can also worsen certain side effects caused by Concerta. These side effects include:

You should avoid alcohol while you're taking Concerta. If you have questions about drinking alcohol while you're taking Concerta, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Concerta can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain supplements as well as certain foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase the number of side effects or make them more severe.

Concerta and other medications

Below are lists of medications that can interact with Concerta. These lists do not contain all the drugs that may interact with Concerta.

Before taking Concerta, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Concerta and Prozac

Taking Concerta with Prozac (fluoxetine) can possibly cause a drug interaction. Concerta can slow your body's breakdown of Prozac, causing your Prozac levels to be increased.

If you're taking Prozac, and you're going to start Concerta, your doctor may decrease your Prozac dosage. This can help make sure that your levels of Prozac don't get too high.

Concerta and caffeine

Concerta is a stimulant medication that acts on your central nervous system (CNS). Caffeine is also a stimulant. Products that contain caffeine include coffee, soda, and certain teas and headache or pain medications.

When caffeine and Concerta are taken together, you can have increased side effects, such as feeling irritable or anxious. Both caffeine and Concerta can cause trouble sleeping and can increase your heart rate and blood pressure.

It's best to avoid consuming caffeine while you're taking Concerta. If you enjoy drinking coffee, tea, or soda, try drinking decaffeinated forms while you are taking Concerta. If you feel that you need some caffeine, talk with your doctor about how much caffeine is safe for you to consume while you're using Concerta.

Concerta and Zoloft

Taking Concerta with Zoloft (sertraline) can cause a drug interaction. Concerta can block the breakdown of Zoloft in your body. This can increase your levels of Zoloft.

If you're taking Zoloft, your doctor may reduce your Zoloft dosage when you start using Concerta. This will help prevent you from having too much Zoloft in your body.

Concerta and Lexapro

Concerta can interact with Lexapro (escitalopram) if these drugs are taken together. It's possible that Concerta slows down the breakdown of Lexapro in your body. This can cause your levels of Lexapro to increase.

If you're taking Lexapro and planning to start Concerta, your doctor may lower your dosage of Lexapro. They may also monitor you for side effects, which helps them to be sure that you're not getting too much Lexapro.

Concerta and clonidine

Clonidine is a medication that can be used to lower high blood pressure. Concerta can cause an increase in your blood pressure. Taking Concerta with clonidine may decrease the effects of clonidine, which can increase your blood pressure. In rare instances, this increased blood pressure has resulted in death.

If you're taking both Concerta and clonidine, your doctor may monitor your blood pressure and heart health more often than usual.

Concerta and MAOIs

Concerta should never be used in combination with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), or within 14 days after you've taken an MAOI.

MAOIs are a class of medications that are used to treat depression and anxiety. Examples of MAOIs include:

  • isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • selegiline (Emsam)
  • phenelzine (Nardil)
  • rasagiline (Azilect)

These medications should never be taken with Concerta. If you're taking an MAOI, you must stop taking the MAOI for at least 14 days before you start Concerta.

Using Concerta along with an MAOI can cause stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and sudden death. These complications can occur due to a severe increase in your blood pressure, usually above 180/120 mmHg. When your blood pressure is increased this much, it's called a hypertensive crisis.

Concerta and warfarin

Taking Concerta with warfarin (Coumadin) can cause a drug interaction. Concerta can block the breakdown of warfarin in your body. This can cause your warfarin level to increase to a level that's not safe.

Because a small change in your warfarin dosage can cause serious problems, it's important to get your blood tested as your doctor prescribes. These tests will check the thickness of your blood, which is affected by warfarin.

You may have to have blood tests done more often when you first start Concerta than you did before you started the drug. Your doctor may also have to adjust your dosage of warfarin while you're taking Concerta. This is done to be sure that you aren't getting too much warfarin in your body.

Concerta and certain seizure medications

Certain seizure medications may interact with Concerta if they're taken with it. These seizure medications include:

  • phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • phenobarbital (Solfoton)
  • primidone (Mysoline)

Concerta can slow your body's breakdown of these seizure medications and cause you to have too much of the medication in your body. This can be very dangerous.

If you need to take Concerta in combination with a seizure medication, your doctor may decrease the dosage of your seizure medication. Your doctor may also do blood tests to make sure that levels of the seizure medication in your body are not too high.

Concerta and vasopressors

Taking Concerta with a vasopressor may not be safe. Vasopressors are a class of medications that are used to treat low blood pressure. Examples of vasopressors include:

  • epinephrine (EpiPen, Adrenalin)
  • vasopressin (Pitressin)
  • dopamine (Intropin)

Both vasopressors and Concerta cause your blood pressure to increase. Taking vasopressors with Concerta can cause your blood pressure to be even higher, which may become dangerous.

If you're taking a vasopressor in combination with Concerta, your doctor may monitor your blood pressure more often than usual. This allows your doctor to make sure your blood pressure doesn't get too high.

Concerta and herbs and supplements

There aren't any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Concerta. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Concerta.

Concerta and foods

Concerta is a stimulant medication that can cause an increase in your blood pressure and heart rate. Caffeine can also cause these same effects in your body.

While taking Concerta, you should avoid consuming foods and drinks that contain caffeine. Examples of foods and drinks that contain caffeine include:

  • coffee
  • tea
  • soda
  • cocoa beans
  • kola nuts

Consuming any of the foods or beverages listed above in combination with Concerta can increase your risk of side effects, such as:

  • increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • feeling anxious
  • insomnia (trouble sleeping)

If possible, you should avoid consuming products that contain caffeine while you're using Concerta. If you feel that you need some caffeine, talk with your doctor about how much caffeine is safe for you to consume.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Concerta can lead to serious side effects.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

  • vomiting
  • agitation
  • muscle twitches
  • seizures
  • feeling confused
  • hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that aren't real)
  • excessive sweating
  • headache
  • fever
  • fast heart rate
  • heart palpitations
  • high blood pressure
  • dry mouth
  • dilation (opening) of your pupils (the pupil being the part of your eye that lets light inside)
  • muscle pain or weakness

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you've taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Multiple treatment options are typically used together to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Concerta is meant to be used as part of a comprehensive treatment program, which means it's used with other forms of treatment.

Along with Concerta, treatment should include psychological, educational, and social therapies. Some other therapies that may be used in combination with Concerta include:

  • behavioral therapy
  • exercise
  • improved nutrition
  • music therapy
  • biofeedback (in which sensors attached to your body give information on certain functions inside your body)

If Concerta was prescribed for you or your child, your doctor may talk with you about other treatments that should be used with Concerta. If you have questions about other treatment options for ADHD, talk with your doctor.

As with all medications, the cost of Concerta can vary. To find current prices for Concerta in your area, check out GoodRx.com:

The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you'll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Financial assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Concerta, help is available. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the manufacturer of Concerta, can refer you to financial assistance programs. For more information and to find out if you're eligible for support, call 800-652-6227 or visit the program website.

You should take Concerta according to your doctor or healthcare provider's instructions.

When to take

Concerta should be taken once each day in the morning. It should be taken at about the same time every day.

To help make sure that you don't miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.

Taking Concerta with food

Concerta can be taken with or without food. In clinical trials, Concerta worked the same way when it was taken with a big meal as it did when it was taken on an empty stomach.

If Concerta upsets your stomach or causes nausea, it may be better for you to take it with food. Taking the medication with food in your stomach can reduce these side effects.

Can Concerta be crushed, split, or chewed?

No, Concerta should never be split, crushed, or chewed. Concerta tablets have special layers inside of them. Each layer releases some of the medication over the course of about 12 hours.

If you chew or break the tablets, these layers can release the medication all at once. This can be very dangerous and can even cause overdose.

If you or your child can't swallow Concerta tablets whole, talk with your doctor about switching to a different medication that can be broken or chewed.

Concerta is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). People with this condition have trouble focusing, concentrating, or paying attention for long periods of time. They can also have hyperactivity symptoms, which makes it difficult for them to be still for periods of time.

Concerta is a stimulant medication that works on your central nervous system (CNS) to treat ADHD. Concerta is believed to increase the levels of two brain chemicals: norepinephrine and dopamine. Both of these chemicals help you to pay attention and focus. It's thought that by increasing levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in your brain, Concerta helps you to focus better and improves other symptoms of ADHD.

How long does it take to work?

Concerta usually begins working within the first hour after you've taken the medication. Concerta continues to work for about 12 hours after it's taken.

It's not known if Concerta is safe to take during pregnancy. In animal studies, Concerta did cause problems with development in fetuses whose mothers were given the drug. In these studies, the pregnant animals were given between 40 and 100 times the maximum dose of Concerta that's given to humans.

However, in another animal study, no problems in development were seen in fetuses when pregnant animals were given only 3 to 15 times the maximum dose of Concerta that's used in humans.

Keep in mind that animal studies don't always predict what will happen in humans. More studies are needed to know if Concerta can be harmful to a developing baby. If you're taking Concerta and you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your treatment options.

It's not known if Concerta is safe to take during pregnancy. If you or your sexual partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you're using Concerta.

It's not known if Concerta passes into human breast milk, or if can be absorbed by children who consume it in breast milk. In an animal study, Concerta did pass into the breast milk of lactating females. However, animal studies don't always predict what will happen in humans.

More studies are needed to know whether Concerta can be harmful to a breastfeeding child. If you're taking Concerta, talk with your doctor before you breastfeed.

This drug comes with several precautions.

FDA warning: Drug dependence

This drug has a boxed warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

People with a history of drug or alcohol dependence should be very cautious when they're taking Concerta. Using Concerta on a regular basis can cause dependence. With dependence, your body needs the medication in order for you to function well. Dependence can cause abnormal behavior to occur in some people.

If you have a history of drug or alcohol misuse or dependence, your doctor may monitor you more closely while you are taking Concerta.

Other precautions

Before taking Concerta, talk with your doctor about your health history. Concerta may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Glaucoma. If you have glaucoma, you shouldn't use Concerta. The drug can increase your blood pressure, which can also increase the pressure inside of your eye. Using Concerta may worsen your glaucoma. Talk with your doctor about any history of glaucoma before starting Concerta.
  • Tics or Tourette's syndrome. If you have a tic or Tourette's syndrome, taking Concerta can worsen your symptoms. Concerta should not be used if you have a tic or Tourette's syndrome or if anyone in your family has these conditions. Concerta can increase your chances of developing a tic or Tourette's syndrome if you have a family history of these conditions. Before taking Concerta, talk with your doctor if you or any of your family members have a tic or have Tourette's syndrome.
  • Bipolar disorder/other psychiatric disorders. If you have bipolar disorder or any other psychiatric disorder, taking Concerta (or any other stimulant medication) can worsen your condition. Concerta can cause symptoms such as hallucinations or mania to occur in people with psychiatric disorders. Your doctor will screen you for any psychiatric disorders before you start Concerta. This helps you to avoid having these additional symptoms.
  • Gastrointestinal narrowing or other disorders. If you have narrowing in your intestines, you should be cautious when taking Concerta. Concerta tablets do not change shape after you swallow them. Because of this, Concerta can block your intestines if you have narrowing inside of them and the medication tablet becomes lodged. You should also be cautious when using Concerta if you have small bowel inflammatory diseases, short gut syndrome, cystic fibrosis, motility disorders, or a history of peritonitis. Talk with your doctor about any history of bowel problems before starting Concerta.
  • Heart abnormalities or other serious cardiovascular problems. If you or your child has an abnormal heartbeat, coronary artery disease, or any other serious heart-related problem, Concerta use should be avoided. Serious heart or blood vessel problems such as strokes, heart attacks, and sudden death have occurred in people with a heart abnormality or other heart problems who are taking Concerta. Talk with your doctor about any heart or blood vessel problems that you have before starting this drug.
  • Anxiety/agitation. If you have anxiety or agitation, Concerta should be avoided because it can worsen these conditions. People taking Concerta who have agitation or anxiety may experience psychotic behaviors, such as hallucinations or mania. Talk with your doctor about any history of anxiety or agitation before starting Concerta.
  • Seizures. If you have a seizure disorder or a history of seizures, taking Concerta may increase your risk of seizures. If you have a seizure disorder, your doctor may monitor you more often than usual while you're taking Concerta. If seizures do occur while you're taking Concerta, the medication should be stopped. Talk with your doctor about any history of seizures before starting Concerta.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Concerta should never be used in anyone taking an MAOI or who has taken an MAOI within the past 14 days. The combination of MAOIs and Concerta can cause a severe increase in your blood pressure that can lead to heart attack, stroke, or sudden death. If you're taking an MAOI, talk with your doctor before taking Concerta.
  • Allergic reaction. If you've had an allergic reaction to Concerta in the past, you should not take Concerta. Talk with your doctor about any medication allergies you have before starting Concerta.
  • Pregnancy. It's not known if Concerta is safe to take during pregnancy. More studies are needed to know whether or not Concerta is safe to take during pregnancy. If you're pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, talk with your doctor about using Concerta. For more information, please see the "Concerta and pregnancy" section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It's not known if Concerta passes into human breastmilk or if it would affect a breastfeeding child. If you're breastfeeding, talk with your doctor about using Concerta. For more information, please see the "Concerta and breastfeeding" section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Concerta, see the "Concerta side effects" section above.

When you get Concerta from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee the effectiveness of the medication during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk to your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Concerta tablets should be stored at room temperature (59°F to 86°F/15°C to 30°C). You should protect Concerta tablets from humidity. Also, avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as in bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Concerta and have leftover medication, it's important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

The FDA website provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information on how to dispose of your medication.

Never give your Concerta tablets to someone the medication wasn't prescribed for. This can be dangerous for that person, and it's also against the law.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Indications

Concerta is indicated to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults ages 6 to 65 years.

Mechanism of action

Concerta is a slow-release form of methylphenidate, which is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. Concerta blocks the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine in the presynaptic neuron. This increases the amount of norepinephrine and dopamine released in the brain.

Therefore, Concerta causes an increased level of both norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, which is thought to contribute to focus and attention.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

Concerta is absorbed quickly after the first dose is taken. Within 1 hour following administration, the medication reaches an initial maximum concentration. Over the following 5 to 9 hours, the medication concentration steadily increases.

About 9 hours after administration, the concentrations begin to decrease. Peak plasma concentrations occurred at an average of between 6 and 10 hours. Because Concerta releases slowly over the course of a 12-hour period, it has less fluctuation in concentration than immediate-release methylphenidate. The overall duration of Concerta is about 12 hours.

The average half-life of Concerta is 3.5 hours. There is no risk of significant accumulation of Concerta. As dose increases, proportional changes occur in the area under the curve (AUC) and the concentration of Concerta in the body.

Concerta is mainly metabolized by the liver and excreted in urine.

Contraindications

Concerta is contraindicated in people who:

  • have hypersensitivity or allergic reaction to Concerta
  • have anxiety, tension, or agitation, which could all be worsened by the use of Concerta
  • have glaucoma
  • are currently taking an MAOI or within 2 weeks of stopping an MAOI
  • have tics or Tourette's syndrome, or have a family history of Tourette's syndrome

Misuse and dependence

Concerta is a CNS stimulant that can cause euphoric feelings, especially when taken in high doses. Concerta has a black box warning for drug dependence. Therefore, it should be avoided in patients with a history of drug or alcohol dependence. Misuse of Concerta can lead to tolerance and dependence. This can lead to psychosis or manic symptoms.

Concerta produces less euphoria than immediate-release methylphenidate because only about 22% of Concerta is immediately released into the body after administration. Upon stopping Concerta, withdrawal symptoms may occur, including severe depression. Patients should be monitored when discontinuing this drug.

Storage

Concerta should be stored at room temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C to 30°C). Concerta tablets should be protected from humidity.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.