|Type of medicine||A stimulant|
|Used for||Treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)|
|Also called||Equasym® XL
Medikinet®, Medikinet® XL
|Available as||Tablets, modified release tablets and capsules (modified release means it is released slowly over the day to give a more even effect)|
Methylphenidate stimulates part of the central nervous system which enhances the activity of certain underactive parts of the brain. It is used to treat a behavioural disorder known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children 6 years of age or over, and in adolescents.
This information leaflet is written for parents or carers of children who have been prescribed methylphenidate. Although adults too can have ADHD, methylphenidate is not licensed for use in people over the age of 18.
Before giving methylphenidate
Before giving methylphenidate to your child make sure your doctor knows:
- If your child has heart problems.
- If your child has blood circulation problems.
- If your child has ever had an eating disorder, anxiety, agitation, mood disorders, severe depression, or thoughts about suicide.
- If your child has a problem with drug or alcohol dependence.
- If your child has epilepsy.
- If your child has uncontrollable movements such as a nervous tic or Tourette's syndrome.
- If your child has high blood pressure.
- If your child has glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye).
- If your child has thyroid problems.
- If your child has phaeochromocytoma (a growth on the adrenal gland).
- If your child has ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
- If your child is taking any other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
- If your child could be pregnant.
How to take methylphenidate
- Before beginning treatment, read the manufacturer's information leaflet.
- Try to give methylphenidate at the same times each day to avoid missing any doses.
- The modified release forms of methylphenidate should be swallowed whole and must not be crushed or chewed. If you have been given modified release capsules (Equasym® XL or Medikinet® XL), the capsules can be opened and the contents sprinkled on to a tablespoon of apple sauce. This must then be swallowed straight away without chewing.
- If you forget a dose, give it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for the next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not give two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from this treatment
- Keep the regular appointments with your doctor. Your doctor will want to check your child's progress to ensure that the treatment is helping. Your doctor may also monitor your child's weight and height, and do blood tests.
- Do not stop methylphenidate without speaking with your doctor first. Your doctor may want to reduce the dose slowly to prevent the symptoms of ADHD from returning and to stop any side-effects.
- Your child must not drink alcohol while taking methylphenidate.
- Before buying any medicines for your child, check with your pharmacist which medicines are safe to take alongside methylphenidate.
- If your child is due to have any kind of surgery, including dental and emergency treatment, tell your doctor, dentist or surgeon that they are taking methylphenidate.
- Methylphenidate may give a positive result in drug testing which is sometimes used in competitive sports.
Can methylphenidate cause problems
Along with their useful effects, all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as our bodies adjust to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if my child experiences this|
|Nervousness and sleeplessness||Discuss the timing of your child's doses with your doctor|
|Lack of appetite, stomach pain or sickness||Taking methylphenidate with (or soon after) a meal may help|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues speak with your doctor|
|Drowsiness, dizziness||Make sure your child's reactions are normal before they do things which could be dangerous if they were not fully alert|
|Dry mouth||Chewing sugar-free gum or sugar-free sweets may help|
|Skin rash, itching, cough, palpitations, unusual body movements or tics, fever, muscle pain and hair loss||Discuss these with your doctor|
Important: if you notice any of the following symptoms tell your doctor straight away: severe rash, unexplained bruising or bleeding, persistent sore throat, high temperature, joint pain or chest pain.
How to store methylphenidate
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacist who will dispose of unwanted medicines for you.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 59th Edition (March 2010) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Equasym® XL 10 mg, 20 mg or 30 mg Capsules; Manufacturer's PIL, Equasym® XL 10 mg, 20 mg or 30 mg Capsules, Shire Pharmaceuticals Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated February 2011.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Concerta® XL 18 mg-36-54 mg Prolonged Release Tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Concerta® XL 18 mg-36-54 mg Prolonged Release Tablets, Janssen-Cilag Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated October 2010.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Ritalin®; Manufacturer's PIL, Ritalin®, Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated February 2010.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Adrian Bonsall|
|Last Checked: 13/06/2012||Document ID: 3641 Version: 27||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.