Methylphenidate IR oral tablet is a generic prescription medication. IR refers to immediate release, which means the medication is released all at once into your body.

Methylphenidate IR is approved to treat the following conditions:

This drug can be used in adults or children ages 6 years and older. See the “Methylphenidate IR oral tablet uses” section below for details about how the drug is used.

Drug details

Methylphenidate IR tablets are typically taken two or three times per day. The tablets are available in strengths of 5 milligrams (mg), 10 mg, and 20 mg.

Methylphenidate IR is classified as a stimulant drug. Stimulants increase the activity of your brain and body.

Note: Methylphenidate also comes in other forms: extended release (ER)* tablets or capsules, patches that are applied to your skin, orally disintegrating tablets, oral solutions, and chewable tablets. This article addresses only IR oral tablets. For information on methylphenidate’s other forms, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* ER drugs release their active drug into your body gradually, over time.

Brand-name versions

Methylphenidate IR oral tablets are also available as a brand-name medication called Ritalin. Brand name medications are usually more expensive than generics. In addition to IR tablets, Ritalin comes as ER capsules.

Be sure to talk with your doctor about the best form of the medication for you.

Note: The different forms of methylphenidate have other brand-name drug versions. For information on those versions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Is methylphenidate IR oral tablet a controlled substance?

Yes, methylphenidate IR is a Schedule 2 controlled substance. This means that the medication is regulated by the government because it has a risk of misuse or dependence. Misuse refers to using a drug differently than how it’s prescribed. And dependence means that your body needs the drug to function normally.

Methylphenidate IR has boxed warnings about misuse and dependence. For more information on these warnings, see the “Methylphenidate IR oral tablet side effects” section below.

If you have a history of drug misuse or dependence, talk with your doctor before taking methylphenidate IR. They may recommend frequent monitoring of your treatment or a different medication to treat your condition.

Effectiveness

For information about the effectiveness of methylphenidate IR oral tablets, see the “Methylphenidate IR oral tablet uses” section below.

Methylphenidate IR oral tablet is a generic drug. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Methylphenidate IR oral tablets are based on the brand-name drug called Ritalin. A generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

If you’re interested in using Ritalin instead of methylphenidate IR oral tablets, talk with your doctor. They can tell you if Ritalin comes in strengths that can be used for your condition. If you have insurance, you’ll also need to check whether your plan will cover Ritalin.

To learn more about how generics compare with brand-name drugs, see this article.

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

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

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with methylphenidate IR oral tablets, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of methylphenidate IR oral tablets can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from methylphenidate IR oral tablets. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view methylphenidate IR oral tablet’s prescribing information.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from methylphenidate IR oral tablets aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

  • Changes in mood, such as an elevated or excited mood. Symptoms can include:
    • new or worsening aggression or hostility
    • hearing voices that aren’t actually there
    • new or worsening problems with behavior or thinking
  • Sexual side effects, specifically priapism (prolonged erection). Symptoms of priapism can include:
    • painful erections
    • erections that don’t go away
  • Allergic reaction.*
  • Heart problems.*
  • Misuse and dependence.*†

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.
Methylphenidate IR oral tablet has boxed warnings for these effects. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For more information, see the “Side effect details” section below.

Side effects in children

Methylphenidate IR oral tablets can be used in children ages 6 years and older. Children experience many of the same side effects as adults when taking methylphenidate IR. In addition to the side effects that are listed above, children may also experience slowing of growth. This means that your child’s height and weight may be less than they should be if they’re taking methylphenidate IR.

Talk with your child’s doctor for more information about slowed growth and other side effects of methylphenidate IR in children.

Side effect details

Here are some details on certain side effects this drug may cause.

Misuse and dependence

Methylphenidate IR has boxed warnings for misuse and dependence. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Misuse refers to using a drug differently than how it’s prescribed. Misuse (also called abuse) can include taking more than your prescribed dosage. For example, taking too much of the drug or taking doses too frequently would be misuse. Sharing a drug with someone who the drug isn’t prescribed for is also considered misuse. Misuse of methylphenidate IR can cause symptoms such as:

Dependence means that your body needs the drug for you to function normally. This may lead to withdrawal (unpleasant symptoms when you stop taking the drug). In addition to dependence, methylphenidate IR may also cause you to develop a tolerance to the drug. Tolerance refers to needing more of the medication over time to get the same effects.

Methylphenidate IR is a controlled substance. This means that the medication is regulated by the government due to its risk of misuse and dependence.

Methylphenidate IR oral tablets should not be shared with anyone. People who may have a history of drug misuse or dependence should let their doctor know before they start taking methylphenidate IR. They may be monitored more closely than usual while taking the drug. Or a different medication may be recommended.

To find out how often misuse or dependence occurred in clinical trials, see methylphenidate IR oral tablet’s prescribing information.

Weight loss

Weight loss is a common side effect of methylphenidate IR. The drug can also cause a decreased appetite and nausea, which may increase your risk for weight loss.

Weight gain is not a side effect of methylphenidate IR. In fact, the drug may cause reduced weight gain. This means that if you’re gaining weight, methylphenidate IR may slow down your weight gain. To find out how often weight loss occurred in clinical trials, see the drug’s prescribing information.

If you’re unintentionally losing weight while taking methylphenidate IR, or if you have weight loss that’s significant or bothers you, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to reduce this side effect. In some cases they may recommend a different medication to treat your condition.

Heart problems

People taking methylphenidate IR may experience heart problems. In some rare cases, these heart problems may be serious or even life threatening.

Many people taking methylphenidate IR may experience an increase in blood pressure or heart rate. The drug can also cause heart palpitations (a feeling of skipped or extra heart beats). Rarely, adults taking methylphenidate IR may experience a stroke or heart attack. To find out how often heart problems occurred in clinical trials, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Your doctor will likely do some testing before having you take methylphenidate IR, to be sure that your heart is healthy. They’ll also likely monitor your blood pressure and heart rate throughout your treatment. If you develop high blood pressure or an increased heart rate, your doctor may recommend a different medication to treat your condition.

Note: If you have heart problems or a heart defect, you should talk with your doctor before starting methylphenidate IR. In some rare cases, sudden death has occurred in people with heart problems or heart defects taking methylphenidate IR.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking methylphenidate IR oral tablets.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

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

Allergic reactions have been reported in people taking methylphenidate IR since the drug was released. Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to methylphenidate IR, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

The methylphenidate IR oral tablet dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using the drug 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 lowest 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 fit your needs.

Drug strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg

Methylphenidate IR comes as tablets that are taken orally. It’s available in the following strengths: 5 milligrams (mg), 10 mg, and 20 mg.

Dosage for ADHD

The methylphenidate IR dosage for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults is 20 mg to 30 mg per day. Usually this is taken as 2 or 3 doses per day. For example, your doctor may have you take 10 mg of methylphenidate IR two or three times daily for ADHD. The drug’s maximum dosage for ADHD is 60 mg per day.

Your doctor may increase your dosage as needed, to further reduce your symptoms. In some cases, your doctor may recommend temporarily stopping methylphenidate IR and testing your ADHD symptoms. This helps determine whether your dosage should be adjusted.

Sometimes, taking methylphenidate IR late in the day may cause sleeplessness at night. In this case, it’s recommended that you take your last dose of methylphenidate IR before 6 pm. But make sure to follow your doctor’s dosing instructions.

Dosage for narcolepsy

The methylphenidate IR dosage for narcolepsy in adults is 20 mg to 30 mg per day. Usually these doses are divided into 2 or 3 doses per day. For example, your doctor may have you take 10 mg of methylphenidate IR two or three times daily for narcolepsy.

Your doctor may increase your dosage as needed, to further reduce your symptoms. The drug’s maximum dosage for narcolepsy is 60 mg per day.

Sometimes, taking methylphenidate IR late in the day may cause sleeplessness at night. In this case, it’s recommended that you take your last dose of methylphenidate IR before 6 pm. But make sure to follow your doctor’s dosing instructions.

Children’s dosage

Methylphenidate IR is approved for use in children ages 6 years and older. The children’s dosage of the drug starts at 5 mg taken twice per day, for a total of 10 mg per day. One dose should be taken before breakfast, and the other dose before lunch.

Your child’s doctor may increase your child’s dosage by 5 mg to 10 mg each week, until the medication causes the desired effects. The maximum dosage of methylphenidate IR in children is 60 mg per day.

What if I miss a dose?

If you or your child forget to take a dose of methylphenidate IR, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about what to do.

In some cases, if you missed taking a dose by an hour or two, you may be instructed to take the dose when you remember. Then, you can continue with your next dose as scheduled. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, your doctor or pharmacist may recommend skipping the missed dose and taking your next dose as scheduled.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or timer on your phone or downloading a reminder app. A kitchen timer can work, too.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Methylphenidate IR oral tablets are meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that methylphenidate IR oral tablets are safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take the drug long term.

Your doctor will monitor your heart rate and blood pressure during your treatment with methylphenidate IR. If your child is taking the drug, their doctor will also monitor your child’s height and weight. If there are any changes in these measurements, your doctor may recommend stopping methylphenidate IR oral tablets and trying a different medication.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about methylphenidate IR oral tablets.

Do methylphenidate IR oral tablets come in strengths of 18 mg, 27 mg, 30 mg, 36 mg, 40 mg, or 54 mg?

No. Methylphenidate IR oral tablets only come in strengths of 5 milligrams (mg), 10 mg, and 20 mg. IR refers to immediate release, which means the medication is released all at once into your body.

However, methylphenidate is also available in extended-release (ER) forms. Extended release means that the medication is released slowly over time into your body. With ER drugs, you don’t have to take multiple doses during the day. Instead, one dose works throughout the day to decrease your symptoms.

ER forms of methylphenidate are available in strengths of 18 mg, 27 mg, 30 mg, 36 mg, 40 mg, and 54 mg. These strengths may be available in brand-name or generic forms.

If you have questions about which form of methylphenidate is best for you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Does methylphenidate show up on a drug test? How long does it stay in your urine?

It’s possible that methylphenidate may show up on a drug test, but this depends on which drugs the test screens for. Also, the majority of methylphenidate IR will be cleared from your system through your urine within 48 to 96 hours after you take a dose.

If you’re concerned about drug testing while taking methylphenidate IR, talk with your doctor. They may discuss this with the testing facility or the organization doing the drug test.

How long does methylphenidate’s effects last?

The effects of methylphenidate IR don’t last very long. This is because the drug is absorbed into your body all at once when you take the medication. The half-life of the drug is about 3.5 hours. A half-life is how long it takes your body to get rid of half of the medication.

If you continue to have symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy while taking methylphenidate IR oral tablets, talk with your doctor. They may consider having you switch to a longer-lasting form of methylphenidate. For example, Concerta and Ritalin LA are brand-name forms of long-acting methylphenidate. Long acting means that the effects of the drug will last longer than they do with other forms of the drug.

Is methylphenidate an amphetamine?

No, methylphenidate is not an amphetamine.

Both methylphenidate and amphetamines are classified stimulant drugs. Stimulants work to stimulate (increase the activity of) your central nervous system. Methylphenidate IR and amphetamines are both used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. However, amphetamines work in a different way than methylphenidate to treat these conditions.

Examples of amphetamines include amphetamine salts (Adderall XR) and lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse).

If you have other questions about what type of drug methylphenidate is or its effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Will methylphenidate make me feel ‘high’?

When taken as prescribed by your doctor, methylphenidate should not cause you to feel “high.” However, since methylphenidate is a stimulant drug,* feelings of euphoria (intense happiness) are possible. Symptoms of euphoria may include:

  • confusion
  • disorientation
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t actually there)

If methylphenidate IR is misused, it’s possible for the drug to make a person feel “high.” Misusing a drug means using a drug in a way other than how it’s prescribed. (This can include taking more than the prescribed dosage or sharing the drug with someone who the drug isn’t prescribed for.) Drug misuse is illegal and can cause serious life-threatening side effects.

If you’re feeling “high” when taking methylphenidate IR, talk with your doctor. They may recommend decreasing your dosage so that you don’t feel this way.

* Stimulants work to stimulate (increase the activity of) your central nervous system.

Should you take methylphenidate by snorting it?

No, you should never take methylphenidate by snorting it. Snorting drugs can have long-term and damaging effects on your nose. These can include loss of smell, runny nose, nosebleeds, or permanent damage to the inside of the nose.

Methylphenidate IR tablets should be taken orally. If you’re having trouble swallowing your tablets, talk with your doctor. Methylphenidate is available in many different forms, including chewable tablets, oral liquids, or capsules that can be sprinkled into applesauce. So your doctor may be able to recommend a suitable form for you.

Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to methylphenidate IR oral tablets, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed below are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA.

Alternatives for ADHD

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) include:

* ER drugs are released into your body slowly, over time. Methylphenidate IR is an immediate-release (IR) drug, which means its active drug is released into your body all at once.
† This drug is approved for use as a cough medicine. But it may be prescribed off-label with methylphenidate IR to treat ADHD in some cases.

Alternatives for narcolepsy

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

* This drug is approved for use as a cough medicine. But it may be prescribed off-label with methylphenidate IR to treat ADHD in some cases.

Methylphenidate IR is approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

ADHD can cause difficulty with concentrating or completing tasks. And narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes drowsiness during the day and can cause you to fall asleep suddenly.

Methylphenidate IR is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. This means it stimulates (increases the activity of) your CNS. However, methylphenidate’s mechanism of action (how the drug works in your body) is unknown. It’s thought to work by increasing the amounts of certain chemicals in your brain. These chemicals are norepinephrine and dopamine. Increased levels of these chemicals may reduce symptoms of ADHD or narcolepsy.

How long does it take to work?

Methylphenidate IR works quickly, right after you take your first dose of medication. You might notice that the drug has its best effects on your symptoms within 1 to 3 hours after taking a dose.

How long does it stay in your system?

Methylphenidate IR doesn’t stay in your system for very long. The half-life of the drug is about 3.5 hours. A half-life is how long it takes your body to get rid of half of the medication. So it may take about 7 hours for the drug to completely leave your system.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as methylphenidate IR oral tablets to treat certain conditions. Methylphenidate IR oral tablets may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA.

Methylphenidate IR oral tablet for ADHD

Methylphenidate IR is approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (It’s also approved to treat the sleep disorder narcolepsy, which is described in the section just below.)

ADHD is a condition that may affect children or adults. ADHD is often diagnosed in school-age children who have trouble concentrating or completing tasks. However, symptoms of ADHD may continue throughout life. Symptoms may include:

  • lack of paying attention
  • trouble focusing
  • being easily distracted
  • fidgeting with hands or feet
  • interrupting others when they’re speaking

Methylphenidate IR is approved for use in adults and children ages 6 years and older with ADHD. It’s not known if this medication may be safe or effective in children younger than 6 years.

Methylphenidate IR can help decrease symptoms of ADHD, along with counseling or other treatments for this condition.

Effectiveness for ADHD

Methylphenidate IR has been shown to be an effective treatment option for ADHD. In fact, it’s recommended in the American Academy of Pediatrics treatment guidelines as an option for ADHD treatment in children. It’s also recommended in the American Academy of Family Physicians treatment guidelines as an option for treating ADHD in adults.

For more information on how this drug performed in clinical studies, see methylphenidate IR oral tablet’s prescribing information.

Methylphenidate IR oral tablet for narcolepsy

Methylphenidate IR is approved to treat narcolepsy, which is a sleep disorder. (It’s also approved to treat ADHD, which is described just above.) Symptoms of narcolepsy can include:

  • drowsiness during the day
  • suddenly falling asleep
  • paralysis (inability to move part or all of your body) right before or right after waking from sleep
  • cataplexy (loss of muscle control), which can cause slurred speech or falls

Effectiveness for narcolepsy

Methylphenidate IR has been shown to be an effective treatment option for people with narcolepsy. In fact, it’s recommended as a narcolepsy treatment option in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine treatment guidelines. It’s also recommended as a treatment option for narcolepsy in the Journal of Sleep Science.

For more information on how this drug performed in clinical studies, see methylphenidate IR oral tablet’s prescribing information.

Methylphenidate IR oral tablet and children

Methylphenidate IR oral tablets are approved for use in children ages 6 years and older. It’s not known if this medication may be a safe or effective treatment option for children younger than 6 years.

Taking more than your doctor’s recommended dosage of methylphenidate IR oral tablets can lead to serious side effects. Do not take more methylphenidate IR than your doctor recommends.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose of methylphenidate IR oral tablets can include:

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 your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

It’s possible for methylphenidate IR oral tablets to be misused,* which may lead to tolerance or dependence on the drug. Tolerance refers to needing more of the medication over time to get the same effects. For example, if you start out on a low dose, eventually you may need a higher dose of medication to have the same effects.

Dependence means that your body needs the drug to feel normal. If someone is dependent on methylphenidate IR and they don’t take their usual dosage, they may have more trouble with everyday tasks.

If you become dependent on methylphenidate IR, you may experience unpleasant symptoms when you stop taking the drug. These are called withdrawal symptoms, and they may include:

  • tiredness
  • increased appetite
  • vivid dreams

Methylphenidate IR oral tablets should not be shared with anyone. People who may have a history of drug misuse or dependence should let their doctor know before they start taking methylphenidate IR. They may be monitored more closely than usual while taking the drug. Or a different medication may be recommended.

* Misuse refers to using a drug differently than how it’s prescribed. For more information about misuse of methylphenidate IR, see the “Methylphenidate IR oral tablet side effects” section above.

You should avoid alcohol while you’re taking methylphenidate IR oral tablets.

Methylphenidate IR is a stimulant medication. This means the drug increases the activity of your central nervous system (CNS), and can increase your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate. However, alcohol is a CNS depressant, which has the opposite effects on your body. Alcohol may cause confusion, dizziness, and other symptoms.

Since both alcohol and methylphenidate IR affect your CNS, you may have an increased risk for side effects if you drink alcohol while taking this drug. Examples of these side effects include high blood pressure and sleep problems.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how your treatment may be affected by alcohol use. They may recommend a different medication to treat your condition if you want to drink alcohol.

As with all medications, the cost of methylphenidate IR oral tablets can vary. To find current prices for methylphenidate IR oral tablets 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.

Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of methylphenidate IR oral tablets. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor or your insurance company.

Before approving coverage for methylphenidate IR oral tablets, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for methylphenidate IR oral tablets, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

Financial assistance to help you pay for methylphenidate IR oral tablets may be available.

Medicine Assistance Tool and NeedyMeds are two websites offering resources that may help decrease the price you pay for methylphenidate IR oral tablets. They also offer tools to help you find low-cost healthcare, as well as educational resources. To learn more, visit their sites.

Mail-order pharmacies

Methylphenidate IR oral tablets may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.

If recommended by your doctor, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of methylphenidate IR oral tablets, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor and your insurance company. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications.

If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.

When you get methylphenidate IR oral tablets 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 that the medication is effective 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.

Methylphenidate IR oral tablets should be stored at a room temperature of 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C). If necessary, you may store the medication at temperatures of 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C). The tablets should be kept away from light in a tight, light-resistant container. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take methylphenidate IR oral tablets 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.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.

This drug comes with a few contraindications and several precautions. Contraindications are conditions or factors that prevent you from taking a drug. Methylphenidate is contraindicated in people who:

For more information about methylphenidate IR’s precautions, keep reading.

* MAOIs are a group of drugs used to treat depression and other mood disorders. See the “Methylphenidate IR oral tablet interactions” section below for more details and examples of these drugs.

FDA warnings

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

Misuse. It’s possible for methylphenidate IR to be misused. Misuse refers to using a drug differently than how it’s prescribed. Misuse can include taking more than the prescribed dosage or sharing the drug with someone it’s not prescribed for.

Dependence. Methylphenidate IR may cause dependence. This means that your body relies on the medication to function normally. This drug can also cause tolerance, which refers to needing more of the medication over time to get the same effects.

For more information about these boxed warnings, see the “Methylphenidate IR oral tablet side effects” section above.

Other precautions

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

  • Heart problems. If you have any heart problems, including heart defects, taking methylphenidate IR may make these problems worse. Serious heart problems have been reported in people taking this drug. These include heart attack, stroke, and in rare cases, sudden death related to heart problems. Tell your doctor about any heart problems that you have before starting methylphenidate IR. In some cases, they may recommend a different medication to treat your condition.
  • High blood pressure. Methylphenidate IR may increase your blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, taking this drug may increase your blood pressure to an unsafe level. This can be dangerous. Tell your doctor if you have high blood pressure before starting methylphenidate IR. They may recommend frequent monitoring of your blood pressure during treatment. Or they may recommend a different medication to treat your condition.
  • Mood disorders or psychiatric conditions. If you have any mood disorders or psychiatric conditions, such as bipolar disorder, methylphenidate IR may make your condition worse. Your doctor may recommend monitoring you for symptoms of your psychiatric condition during treatment with methylphenidate IR. Or they may recommend a medication other than methylphenidate IR.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to methylphenidate IR or any of its ingredients, you should not take methylphenidate IR oral tablets. Ask your doctor about other medications that might be better options for you.
  • Pregnancy. It’s not known if methylphenidate IR is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking methylphenidate. For more information, see the “Methylphenidate IR oral tablet and pregnancy” section below.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s not known if methylphenidate is safe to take while breastfeeding. If you’re breastfeeding, talk with your doctor before starting methylphenidate IR. For more information, see the “Methylphenidate IR oral tablet and breastfeeding” section below.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of methylphenidate IR oral tablets, see the “Methylphenidate IR oral tablet side effects” section above.

Methylphenidate IR oral tablets can interact with several other medications. It is not known to interact with supplements or foods.

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

Methylphenidate IR and other medications

Below are lists of medications that can interact with methylphenidate IR oral tablets. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with methylphenidate IR oral tablets.

Before taking methylphenidate IR oral tablets, 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.

Types of drugs that you should not take with methylphenidate IR include:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs are medications that may be used to treat depression or other mood disorders, such as panic disorder. Taking an MAOI with methylphenidate IR may cause a hypertensive crisis (a sudden, life-threatening increase in blood pressure). You should not take methylphenidate while you’re taking an MAOI. You should also avoid methylphenidate for at least 14 days after stopping an MAOI. Examples of these drugs include:
    • selegiline (Emsam, Zelapar)
    • tranylcypromine (Parnate)
    • linezolid (Zyvox)
    • phenelzine (Nardil)
    • isocarboxazid (Marplan)
    • methylene blue (Provayblue)

Types of drugs that may interact with methylphenidate IR include:

  • Blood pressure medications. Methylphenidate IR can make blood pressure medications less effective. Examples of these drugs include:
  • Certain anesthetics. Some drugs that are used as anesthetics (specifically halogenated anesthetics) may interact with methylphenidate IR. Anesthetics are drugs that cause loss of sensation in order to prevent pain. If you’re having surgery, make sure to tell your doctor that you’re taking methylphenidate IR. Examples of these drugs include:
    • sevoflurane (Sojourn, Ultane)
    • isoflurane (Forane)
    • desflurane (Suprane)

Methylphenidate IR oral tablet and herbs and supplements

No herbs or supplements have been specifically reported to interact with methylphenidate IR oral tablets. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking methylphenidate IR.

Methylphenidate IR oral tablet and foods

No foods have been reported to interact with methylphenidate IR oral tablets. If you have any questions about eating certain foods while taking this drug, talk with your doctor.

You should take methylphenidate IR oral tablets according to your doctor’s or healthcare professional’s instructions. Your doctor may adjust your methylphenidate IR dosage over time, to be sure that you’re getting the most effective dosage for your condition.

When to take

You should take methylphenidate IR oral tablets about 30 to 45 minutes before a meal. Usually you’ll take the drug two or three times per day.

Sometimes, taking methylphenidate IR late in the day may cause sleeplessness at night. In this case, it’s recommended that you take your last dose of methylphenidate IR before 6 pm. But make sure to follow your doctor’s dosing instructions.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or timer on your phone or downloading a reminder app. A kitchen timer can work, too.

Taking methylphenidate IR oral tablet with food

You should take your dose of methylphenidate IR about 30 to 45 minutes before a meal. It’s typically recommended for children to take the drug specifically before breakfast and before lunch.

Can methylphenidate IR oral tablet be crushed, split, or chewed?

The drug’s manufacturer does not make any recommendations on whether it is safe to crush, split or chew methylphenidate IR oral tablets. For this reason, do not crush, split, or chew methylphenidate oral tablets unless your doctor advises you to. The tablets should be swallowed whole.

However, there are chewable methylphenidate IR tablets available, as well as an oral solution. Extended release* capsules are also available, which can be opened up and sprinkled onto applesauce if needed. If you or your child are having trouble swallowing methylphenidate IR tablets, talk with your doctor. They may recommend a different form of methylphenidate that can be chewed or more easily swallowed.

* Methylphenidate IR is an immediate-release (IR) drug, which means its active drug is released into your body all at once. In contrast, extended-release (ER) drugs are released into your body slowly, over time.

It is not known if methylphenidate IR is safe to take during pregnancy. Some animal studies show that methylphenidate may cause harm to a developing fetus. However, it’s not known if these effects may also occur in humans.

There is a pregnancy registry that your doctor can register you for, if you become pregnant while you’re taking methylphenidate IR. A pregnancy registry is a collection of information about effects of certain medications taken during pregnancy, such as methylphenidate IR. Your doctor or healthcare professional can register you by calling 866-961-2388 or signing you up online.

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before you start taking methylphenidate IR. They may recommend a different medication for you to take during pregnancy.

It’s not known if methylphenidate IR oral tablets are safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using methylphenidate IR oral tablets.

For more information about taking this drug during pregnancy, see the “Methylphenidate IR oral tablet and pregnancy” section above.

If you’re breastfeeding, talk with your doctor before starting methylphenidate IR. They may recommend a different medication to treat your condition.

Methylphenidate IR passes into breast milk. This means that a child who’s breastfed would be exposed to the drug. However, it’s not known whether this might have long-term effects on a child’s development. At this time, no side effects have been reported that are unique to people taking the drug while breastfeeding.

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.