Quillivant XR is a brand-name powder prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Quillivant XR contains the active drug methylphenidate and belongs to the central nervous system stimulants drug class.
Quillivant XR is FDA-approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children ages 6 years and older.
You’ll find key information about Quillivant XR below.
- Drug form: A powder that your pharmacist will make into a liquid suspension for you to swallow
- Generic available? No
- Prescription required? Yes
- Controlled substance? Yes*
- Year of FDA approval: 1955
* Quillivant XR is classified as a Schedule II prescription medication. These medications are drugs with an acceptable medical use, and that also have a high risk of misuse and dependence. Quillivant XR has a
Quillivant XR is available only as a brand-name medication. It’s not currently available in generic form.
A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics typically cost less than brand-name drugs.
Quillivant XR contains the active ingredient methylphenidate.
Quillivant XR can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Quillivant XR. These lists do not include all possible side effects.
For more information about the possible side effects of Quillivant XR, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage 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 Quillivant XR, you can do so through MedWatch.
Mild side effects
Below is a partial list of mild side effects of Quillivant XR. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Quillivant XR’s prescribing information.
Mild side effects of Quillivant XR can include:
- decreased appetite
- nausea and vomiting
- upset stomach
- abdominal pain
- weight loss
- dry mouth
- mood shifts, which can include feeling nervous, anxious, sad, irritated, or restless
- vertigo (a sensation of spinning when you’re standing still)
- muscle tremor (shaky or twitchy muscles)
- excessive sweating
- mild allergic reaction*
Most of these side effects may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. However, if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
* For more information about allergic reaction and Quillivant XR, see “Allergic reaction” below.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Quillivant XR aren’t common, though 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:
- Psychosis (losing contact with reality). Symptoms can include:
- hearing voices
- feeling suspicious or uneasy around others
- lacking emotions or having trouble regulating them
- significant drop in school or work performance
- Mania (a dramatic behavioral change that affects your ability to function). Symptoms can include:
- having extremely high energy
- feelings of euphoria (extreme pleasure or happiness)
- being very talkative or speaking quickly
- racing thoughts
- an increase in reckless behaviors, such as excessive spending
- Priapism (a painful, prolonged erection that doesn’t go away). Symptoms can include:
- penile pain that worsens with time
- penile shaft that is erect, though not fully rigid
- Blood vessel problems, including Raynaud’s syndrome. Symptoms can include:
- cold or numb fingers or toes
- fingers or toes that become very pale, then a blue tinge
- a numb, prickly, or stinging sensation upon warming your fingers or toes
- Cardiovascular problems, such as fast resting heart rate, increased blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Symptoms vary depending on the problem. They can include:
- pain, tightness, pressure, or squeezing in your chest
- numbness or inability to move your face, arm, or leg, typically on one side of your body
- Slowed growth rate in children.*
- Risk of drug misuse and dependence.†
- Severe allergic reaction.‡
* For more information, see “Side effects in children” just below.
† Quillivant XR has a
‡ For details about allergic reaction and Quillivant XR, see “Allergic reaction” below.
Side effects in children
Quillivant XR is approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children ages 6 years and older. Children taking this medication can experience side effects similar to those in adults listed above.
In clinical trials, the following side effects were also reported in children taking Quillivant XR:
- skin picking
- tics (repetitive sounds or movements that you can’t control)
- eye pain
- skin rash
- motion sickness
Slowed growth and weight loss have also been reported in children taking Quillivant XR. The risk of these side effects appears to be highest during the first year of treatment.
Your child’s doctor will regularly monitor your child’s height and weight while they take Quillivant XR. They may suggest stopping treatment with the drug if your child’s height or weight is below what’s typical for their age.
If you have questions or concerns about side effects Quillivant XR may cause in children, talk with your child’s doctor.
As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Quillivant XR. This side effect wasn’t reported in clinical trials of this drug. However, allergic reactions have occurred since the drug was approved for use.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
A more severe allergic reaction is rare. However, it is 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 an allergic reaction to Quillivant XR, 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 Quillivant XR dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:
- the severity of your attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms
- other medical conditions you may have
Typically, your doctor will start you taking 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 prescribed or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your individual needs.
Drug forms and strengths
Quillivant XR comes as a powder. XR is short for extended release. Extended release means that the active ingredient slowly releases into your body over time after you take your dose.
Your pharmacist will use the powder to make a liquid suspension that you’ll swallow. The liquid mixture will contain 25 milligrams (mg) of powder per 5 milliliters (mL) of water, for a strength of 5 mg/mL. To learn more about how to take the drug, see the “How to take Quillivant XR” section below.
Dosage for ADHD in adults
For treating ADHD, the recommended Quillivant XR starting dosage is 20 mg once per day. Your doctor may increase your dosage by 10 mg to 20 mg each week until it has the desired effect. The maximum recommended dosage is 60 mg once per day.
Quillivant XR may be prescribed to treat ADHD in children ages 6 years and older.
For treating ADHD in children, the recommended starting dosage is 20 mg once per day. Your child’s doctor may increase the dosage by 10 mg to 20 mg each week until it has the desired effect. The maximum recommended dosage is 60 mg once per day.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Quillivant XR, talk with your doctor. They can advise you whether to take or skip the missed dose.
Will I need to take this drug long term?
Quillivant XR is meant to be taken as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Quillivant XR is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.
As with all medications, the cost of Quillivant XR can vary. 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 Quillivant XR. 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, pharmacist, or insurance company.
Before approving coverage for Quillivant XR, 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 whether the drug will be covered.
If you’re not sure whether you’ll need to get prior authorization for Quillivant XR, contact your insurance company. You can also ask about the cost of Quillivant XR without insurance.
Financial and insurance assistance
If you need financial support to pay for Quillivant XR, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.
To learn more about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.
Quillivant XR 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 Quillivant XR, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or 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.
Quillivant XR is not available in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Quillivant XR.
Can Quillivant XR be prescribed for autism symptoms?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved Quillivant XR to be prescribed for treating symptoms of autism. (Autism may also be called autism spectrum disorder.) The drug is only FDA-approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
However, Quillivant XR may be prescribed off-label for treating symptoms of autism. Off-label drug use is when an FDA-approved drug is prescribed for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.
If you’re interested in taking Quillivant XR as a treatment for symptoms of autism, talk with your doctor.
Is Quillivant XR’s dosage calculated by weight?
No, Quillivant XR’s dosage is not calculated by weight. Most times, doctors start by prescribing a dosage of 20 milligrams (mg) once per day. They’ll adjust your dosage over time to find the dosage that works best for your ADHD symptoms.
To learn more about Quillivant XR’s recommended dosages, refer to the “Quillivant XR dosage” section above.
How does Quillivant XR compare with Adderall?
Quillivant XR and Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine) are similar drugs. However, they have some differences. Their similarities include the following:
- Both drugs are stimulants prescribed to treat ADHD in adults and certain children.
- The two medications can cause many of the same side effects. Examples include decreased appetite, insomnia, and mood shifts. (For details, see the “Quillivant XR side effects” section above.)
- Both drugs have a
boxed warningabout the risk of misuse and dependence.* Because of these risks, they’re both controlled substances. This means the federal government regulates how they’re prescribed and dispensed from pharmacies.
The main difference between Quillivant XR and Adderall is the drug form. Quillivant XR comes as a powder. Your pharmacist will make it into a liquid suspension that you swallow. (For details, see “Quillivant XR dosage” above.) Adderall comes as tablets that you swallow.
To learn more about how Quillivant XR and Adderall compare, talk with your doctor. You can also read this article for more information about Adderall.
* A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. For details about this boxed warning, see the “Quillivant XR misuse, withdrawal, and dependence” section below.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Quillivant XR to treat certain conditions. Quillivant XR may also be prescribed off-label for other conditions. Off-label drug use is when an FDA-approved drug is prescribed for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.
Quillivant XR is prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children ages 6 years and older.
ADHD is a mental health condition that typically begins in childhood. Symptoms often continue into adulthood. And some people may not realize they have ADHD until adulthood.
Symptoms of ADHD can cause trouble with school, work, and relationships. These symptoms can include:
- difficulty staying focused on a task
- difficulty staying still or seated
- difficulty with waiting or taking turns
- being impulsive (acting without thinking)
- being easily distracted
- being overly active
It’s not known what causes ADHD, although researchers think genetics play a role.
To learn more, you can visit our ADHD hub.
Effectiveness for ADHD
Quillivant XR has been found to be effective in treating ADHD in adults and certain children. For information on how the drug performed in clinical trials, see Quillivant XR’s prescribing information.
In its ADHD treatment guidelines, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends Quillivant XR as a treatment option in children. Likewise, American Academy of Family Physicians guidelines recommend stimulant drugs such as Quillivant XR as an ADHD treatment option in adults.
Quillivant XR and children
Quillivant is approved to treat ADHD in children ages 6 years and older. For more information about ADHD, see “ADHD explained” above.
It’s recommended that you do not consume alcohol while taking Quillivant XR.
This is because drinking alcohol can raise the level of Quillivant XR in your body. And a higher Quillivant XR level may increase your risk of side effects from the drug. (To learn more, see the “Quillivant XR side effects” section above.)
If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor. They can tell you how much alcohol, if any, is safe for you to consume while taking Quillivant XR.
* Quillivant XR has a
Quillivant XR can interact with several other medications.
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. Drug-condition interactions can also cause certain effects. For information about these interactions, see the “Quillivant XR precautions” section below.
Quillivant XR and other medications
Below is a list of medications that can interact with Quillivant XR. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Quillivant XR.
Before taking Quillivant XR, 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.
Drugs you should not take with Quillivant XR
Certain drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) should not be taken in combination with Quillivant XR. Doing so can cause life threatening health problems, including stroke and heart attack.
Due to this interaction, doctors typically won’t prescribe Quillivant XR with an MAOI drug. They likely won’t prescribe Quillivant XR until at least 14 days after your last MAOI dose.
Examples of MAOIs include:
- tranylcypromine (Parnate)
- phenelzine (Nardil)
- isocarboxazid (Marplan)
Other drugs that could interact with Quillivant XR
Other drugs that can interact with Quillivant XR include blood pressure drugs. Taking Quillivant XR with these medications could make blood pressure drugs less effective. Examples of blood pressure drugs include:
- angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, such as lisinopril (Qbrelis, Zestril)
- angiotensin II receptor blockers, such as valsartan (Diovan)
- beta-blockers, such as metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
In addition, Quillivant XR may interact with the antipsychotic medication risperidone (Risperdal, Rykindo, others). Taking Quillivant XR with risperidone could increase the risk of risperidone’s side effects occurring.
Quillivant XR and herbs and supplements
There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Quillivant XR. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Quillivant XR.
Quillivant XR and foods
There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Quillivant XR. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Quillivant XR, talk with your doctor.
You should take Quillivant XR according to the instructions your doctor gives you.
Quillivant XR comes as a powder that your pharmacist will make into a liquid suspension. You’ll take the liquid by swallowing it.
Be sure to vigorously shake the Quillivant XR bottle for at least 10 seconds before each dose. This helps make sure the suspension is fully mixed before you take your dose.
For more information about how to take Quillivant XR, you can refer to these step-by-step instructions.
When to take
You should take Quillivant XR once a day in the morning. Taking the medication around the same time of day helps keep a steady level of the drug in your body. This helps Quillivant XR work effectively. Also, taking your dose in the morning can help reduce the risk of certain side effects of Quillivant XR.* This may include insomnia.
To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.
* For details about the side effects of Quillivant XR, see the “Quillivant XR side effects” section above.
Accessible labels and containers
Some pharmacies offer labels that have 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 may be able to direct you to one that does.
If you have trouble opening medication bottles, ask your pharmacist whether they can put Quillivant XR in an easy-open container. They also may be able to recommend tools that can make it simpler to open lids.
Taking Quillivant XR with food
You may take Quillivant XR with or without food.
Quillivant XR contains the active ingredient methylphenidate. This drug is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. CNS stimulants such as Quillivant XR increase the levels of chemicals in your brain called dopamine and norepinephrine. It’s thought that increased levels of these brain chemicals help manage ADHD symptoms.
How long does it take to work?
Quillivant XR typically begins working to manage your ADHD symptoms within 4 hours of taking a dose. In the drug’s clinical trials, some people reported reduced ADHD symptoms in as little as 1 hour after taking a dose.
Your doctor can tell you more about how soon Quillivant XR may work for you.
It isn’t fully known whether it’s safe to take Quillivant XR during pregnancy.
There’s not enough information to know for sure whether Quillivant XR is safe to take during pregnancy. That’s because there have been only a small number of clinical trials looking at methylphenidate’s effects on pregnant people. (Methylphenidate is the active drug in Quillivant XR.)
If you and your doctor agree that you’ll take Quillivant XR while pregnant, consider joining a drug registry. The pregnancy registry for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications helps collect information on the safety of taking drugs such as Quillivant XR during pregnancy. You can learn more or sign up by calling 866-961-2388 or by visiting the registry website.
If you have questions about Quillivant XR and pregnancy, talk with your doctor.
It’s not known whether Quillivant XR is 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 taking Quillivant XR.
For more information about taking Quillivant XR during pregnancy, see the “Quillivant XR and pregnancy” section above.
It isn’t known whether it’s safe to breastfeed while taking Quillivant XR.
Methylphenidate, the active drug in Quillivant XR, is known to pass into breast milk. So it’s possible for a child who is breastfed to experience side effects from the drug. Examples include:
- sleep problems
- decreased appetite
- increased fussiness
These side effects appear to be rare. However, the long-term effects of Quillivant XR on a child who is breastfed aren’t known.
If you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, talk with your doctor before starting Quillivant XR treatment. They can help determine whether the drug is right for you. Your doctor can also suggest ways to feed your child.
If you and your doctor agree that you’ll breastfeed while taking Quillivant XR, they’ll advise you on next steps.
If you have questions about breastfeeding while taking Quillivant XR, talk with your doctor.
This drug comes with several precautions. These are known as drug-condition interactions.
FDA warning: Risk of drug misuse and dependence
This drug has a
Risk of drug misuse and dependence. As with other stimulants, Quillivant XR has a high risk of misuse and dependence. For more information on this warning, see the “Quillivant XR misuse, withdrawal, and dependence” section below.
Before taking Quillivant XR, talk with your doctor about your health history. Quillivant XR may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include the ones mentioned below.
Cardiovascular problems. Quillivant XR can cause serious heart-related side effects, including stroke and heart attack. If you have a cardiovascular condition, such as high blood pressure, you may have an increased risk of heart-related side effects from Quillivant XR. Your doctor can provide more information on whether Quillivant XR is safe for you to take.
Mental health conditions. Quillivant XR can cause or worsen mental health problems, such as depression or bipolar disorder. If you have a mental health condition, talk with your doctor. They can help determine whether Quillivant XR is safe for you to take.
Circulation problems in your fingers or toes. Quillivant XR can cause or worsen circulation problems, including Raynaud’s phenomenon. If you have circulation problems in your fingers or toes, taking Quillivant XR could worsen the condition. Your doctor can provide more information on whether Quillivant XR is safe for you to take.
Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Quillivant XR or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Quillivant XR. Ask your doctor what other medications may be better options for you.
Pregnancy. It’s not known whether it’s safe to take Quillivant XR while pregnant. For more information, see the “Quillivant XR and pregnancy” section above.
Breastfeeding. It’s not known whether it’s safe to breastfeed while taking Quillivant XR. For more information, see the “Quillivant XR and breastfeeding” section above.
Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Quillivant XR, see the “Quillivant XR side effects” section above.
Taking more than the recommended dosage of Quillivant XR can lead to serious side effects. Do not take more Quillivant XR than your doctor recommends. (For information on the recommended dosages of Quillivant XR, see the “Quillivant XR dosage” section above.)
Quillivant XR overdose symptoms can include:
- nausea and vomiting
- feeling anxious, agitated, confused, or restless
- muscle tremors, jerking, or twitching
- irregular heartbeat
- high or low blood pressure
- euphoria (a sense of extreme happiness or well-being)
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 America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
Quillivant XR has a
As with other stimulant medications, Quillivant XR has a high risk of misuse and dependence. With misuse, a medication is taken in a way other than how it’s prescribed. With dependence, your body needs a drug in your system in order to feel and function as usual.
Side effects of Quillivant XR misuse
Quillivant XR misuse can cause serious side effects, including:
- hostility or aggression
- psychosis (losing contact with reality)
- suicidal thoughts
- thoughts of harming others
Quillivant XR misuse can also cause sudden cardiac death (a condition that occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating). Due to these risks, Quillivant XR is a controlled substance. This means there are special rules and regulations in place that direct how doctors and pharmacists prescribe and dispense Quillivant XR.
For example, doctors cannot write a prescription for Quillivant XR that can be refilled. If you take the drug long term, your doctor will write a new prescription for each refill.
Because Quillivant XR is a controlled substance, there are also strict laws against giving your medication to anyone else. Be sure to store Quillivant XR in a secure, safe place where other people can’t easily access or find it.
If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
- Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
- Listen to the person without judgment.
- Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
- Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
- Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.
Withdrawal from Quillivant XR
Withdrawal symptoms can happen if you suddenly stop taking Quillivant XR after your body has become dependent on it.
Examples of withdrawal symptoms include:
If you’re interested in stopping Quillivant XR treatment, talk with your doctor first. If they tell you it’s safe to stop taking the drug, they may lower your dosage slowly over time. This will help reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms.
Before Quillivant XR is prescribed
Before prescribing Quillivant XR, your doctor will ask if you currently have or have ever experienced drug or alcohol misuse or dependence. This is because these conditions can increase the risk of dependence on Quillivant XR.
They may want you to complete a urine drug test before or during treatment. And they’ll monitor you for symptoms of drug misuse or dependence while you’re taking Quillivant XR.
When you get Quillivant XR from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the packaging. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.
The expiration date indicates how long the medication remains effective. The
How long a medication remains effective can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.
Quillivant XR should be stored at a room temperature of 77°F (25°C) in the tightly sealed original container. If needed, you can keep the drug at 59ºF to 86ºF (15ºC to 30ºC) for brief periods, such as when traveling. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.
If you no longer need to take Quillivant XR 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.
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.