Concerta (methylphenidate) is a brand-name prescription medication. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved it to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the following age groups:
- children ages 6 years and older
- adults ages 18 to 64 years*
Concerta belongs to a class of drugs called stimulants.
Concerta comes as an extended-release oral tablet. With extended-release tablets, the active ingredient releases slowly into the body over time.
For information about the dosage of Concerta, including its strengths and how to take the drug, keep reading. For a comprehensive look at Concerta, see this article.
* Concerta has not been studied in adults ages 65 years and older.
This article describes typical dosages for Concerta provided by the drug’s manufacturer. When taking Concerta, always follow the dosage prescribed by your doctor.
The typically recommended dosages for Concerta are described below.
Concerta comes as an extended-release oral tablet that you take by mouth. With extended-release tablets, the active ingredient releases slowly into the body over time.
Concerta comes in the following strengths:
- 18 milligrams (mg)
- 27 mg
- 36 mg
- 54 mg
Typical dosages for adults
Typically, your doctor will prescribe a low dosage of Concerta at the start of treatment. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the dosage 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 taken by or recommended to adults who have not taken methylphenidate in the past. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
The typical starting dose for Concerta in adults is 18 mg to 36 mg, taken once per day. Your doctor may increase your daily dose by 18 mg each week until your dosage provides the desired effect. Concerta’s maximum dose per day in adults is 72 mg.
Methylphenidate is the active ingredient in Concerta. So, if you’re switching from a different form of methylphenidate to Concerta, your doctor will recommend a specific starting dose for you. And they may increase your dosage sooner. This is because your body may already have adjusted to it.
Concerta is approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children ages 6 and older.
The typical starting dosage for Concerta in children is 18 mg once per day. Your child’s doctor may increase their daily dose by 18 mg each week until the medication reaches the desired effect.
The maximum dosage for Concerta in children depends on their age as follows:
- Ages 6 to 12 years: Up to 54 mg once per day
- Ages 13 to 17 years: Up to 72 mg once per day
Your child’s doctor will determine the maximum daily dose of Concerta for the child. They likely won’t prescribe a maximum daily dose that’s higher than 2 mg per kilogram (kg) body weight. For reference, 1 kg is about 2.2 pounds (lb).
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.
Below are frequently asked questions about Concerta.
Is Concerta’s dosage calculated by weight?
No, Concerta’s starting dosage isn’t calculated by weight for adults. However, doctors calculate a child’s maximum daily dose by their body weight. For details, see the “Concerta dosage” section above.
If you have additional questions about how doctors determine Concerta dosages, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Does Concerta have a recommended dosage chart?
No, Concerta doesn’t have a recommended dosage chart for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Your doctor will determine the best dosage for you based on various factors. To learn more about these, see the “Factors that can affect your dosage” section below.
For typically recommended dosages, see the “Concerta dosage” section above.
If you have questions about health factors that may affect your Concerta dosage, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
What is the typical dose range of Concerta, including the highest dose and lowest dose?
Concerta’s dose range depends on your age and other factors. For most people, the lowest dose of Concerta is the same as the typical starting dose, which is 18 milligrams (mg). The highest dose ranges from 54 mg to 72 mg. The table below shows the typical dose range of Concerta by age:
|Concerta dose range
|6 to 12 years
|18 mg to 54 mg
|13 to 17 years
|18 mg to 72 mg
|18 to 65 years
|18 mg to 72 mg
Also, there’s no average dose for Concerta. Your doctor will determine the right dosage for you based on your individual needs. To learn more, see the “Concerta dosage” section above.
If you have questions about Concerta’s dosage or dose range, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Does Concerta have a recommended dosage for fatigue?
No, Concerta doesn’t have a recommended dosage for fatigue. This is because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved Concerta to treat fatigue. Concerta is FDA-approved to treat ADHD. However, Concerta may sometimes be prescribed off-label* for fatigue.
If your doctor prescribes you Concerta for fatigue, they’ll recommend the best dosage for you. Talk with your doctor if you have questions about taking Concerta for fatigue.
* Off-label drug use is when an FDA-approved drug is prescribed for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.
The Concerta dosage your doctor prescribes for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will depend on several factors. These include:
- the type and severity of the ADHD you’re taking Concerta to treat
- previous treatment with methylphenidate
- your age
- body weight for children
- side effects that occur during treatment
- risk of dependence*
- other medications you take
Other medical conditions you have can also affect your Concerta dosage.
* Concerta has a
Your doctor will monitor you or your child for side effects during Concerta treatment. To learn more about Concerta’s side effects, see this article.
If you take a medication that interacts with Concerta, your doctor may increase or decrease your dose. Examples of interacting medications include:
To learn what medications interact with Concerta, see this article.
Rarely, some people have worsening ADHD symptoms when they take Concerta. This is called a paradoxical effect. A paradoxical effect is when a drug has an opposite effect to the expected one. If this happens during Concerta treatment, your doctor may reduce your dosage. If you still have ADHD symptoms at the lower dose, your doctor may recommend a different medication for you.
Concerta comes as an oral tablet that you swallow. You’ll typically take your dose of Concerta once per day in the morning. Be sure to take it with water or another liquid.
You can take Concerta with or without food. Do not chew or crush the medication. If you experience an upset stomach when you take Concerta, your doctor may recommend taking it with food.
If you have trouble swallowing tablets, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
ACCESSIBLE DRUG LABELS AND CONTAINERS
If you’re having trouble reading your prescription label, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies offer labels with large print, braille, or a code you scan with a smartphone to convert text to speech. If your local pharmacy doesn’t have these options, your doctor or pharmacist might be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.
If you’re having trouble opening medication bottles, ask your pharmacist about putting Concerta in an easy-open container. They also may recommend tools that can make it easier to open bottles.
If you or your child missed a dose of Concerta, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about what you should do.
Typically, the decision to take or skip it depends on when you remember. Since Concerta is a stimulant, taking a missed dose too close to bedtime may cause trouble sleeping. So, if it is late the same day as your missed dose, you may want to skip it. Then, take your next dose at the regular time the following day. Do not take two doses to make up for the one you missed.
If you’re unsure whether to take or skip a dose of Concerta, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
If you take more Concerta than your doctor prescribes, you may develop serious side effects.*
It’s important that you do not use more Concerta than your doctor advises.
Symptoms of an overdose
Concerta overdose symptoms can include:
- dry mouth
- high blood pressure
- hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there)
- excess sweating
- fast heart rate
- heart palpitations
- eye pupil dilation
- muscle twitching
- pain or weakness in muscles
* To learn more about Concerta’s side effects, see this article.
If you take more than the recommended amount of Concerta
Call your doctor right away if you believe you’ve taken too much Concerta. Another option is to call America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. If you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.
In fact, Concerta is a controlled substance. This means the federal government regulates it due to the risk of misuse or dependence. (With misuse, a drug is taken in a way other than how it’s prescribed.) Be sure to keep your medication in a safe place where other people can’t access it.
For more information about this risk, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
* A boxed warning is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. To learn more, see “Boxed warning: Risk of drug dependence” at the top of this article.
Concerta and withdrawal
If you stop taking Concerta after your body has become dependent on it, you may have withdrawal symptoms. They can start right away when you stop taking the drug. However, they typically do not last longer than 7 days after your last dose.
Withdrawal symptoms include:
- changes in appetite
- severe depression (depression that interferes with your ability to function)
- priapism (a painful, long lasting erection)
Due to the risk of withdrawal symptoms, you should not stop taking Concerta suddenly. If you’re interested in no longer taking Concerta, talk with your doctor. They’ll typically reduce your dosage slowly to reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms.
If you have concerns about withdrawal and dependence while taking Concerta, talk with your doctor.
The dosages in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Concerta for you, they will prescribe the dosage that’s right for you. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes.
As with any drug, never change your dosage of Concerta without your doctor’s recommendation. If you have questions about the dosage of Concerta that’s best for you, talk with your doctor.
Besides learning about dosage, you may want other information about Concerta. These additional articles might be helpful:
- More about Concerta. For information about other aspects of Concerta, refer to this article.
- Side effects. To learn about side effects of Concerta, see this article. You can also look at the drug’s prescribing information.
- Drug comparison. Learn how Concerta compares with Adderall XR, Vyvanse, and Ritalin LA.
- Interactions. For details about what Concerta interacts with, see this article.
- Details about ADHD. For details about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), see our ADHD hub.
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 another 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.