Methylphenidate is a stimulant medication used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopmental disorder that is usually diagnosed during the childhood stage. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), once it is diagnosed in childhood, the condition lasts into adulthood. Those who have the condition have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behavior, and being overly active.
If you feel your child has ADHD, knowing the symptoms of the disorder could provide you some clarity. However, a medical professional must make a formal diagnosis. These symptoms include:
- Forgetting or losing things a lot
- Constant squirming or fidgeting
- Talking too much
- Trouble with resisting temptation
- Careless mistakes or unnecessary risks
- Frequent daydreaming
- An inability to get along with others
According to the CDC, millions of children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD. It cites a parent survey that found an estimated 6.1 million children have been diagnosed with the disorder. The study goes on to say that boys are more likely to be affected than girls at a rate of 12.9 percent to 5.6 percent.
How the Body Absorbs, Metabolizes Methylphenidate
Although all medications come with inherent risks, methylphenidate is considered safe when used as prescribed. The drug has been used for decades to successfully treat ADHD. According to RxList, methylphenidate is metabolized primarily by de-esterification to alpha-phenyl-piperidine acetic acid (ritalinic acid), which has little or no pharmacologic activity.
Once the medication is consumed orally, an estimated 78 to 97 percent of the dose is excreted through urine, while another 1 to 3 percent is excreted through feces in the form of metabolites within 48 to 96 hours.
How Methylphenidate Treats ADHD
Methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, is one of the most common treatment options for ADHD. Despite its ability to improve symptoms of this condition, it can also cause side effects. When the medication is misused, it could lead to more severe side effects in the body. Methylphenidate must only be used under strict medical supervision.
The drug works to treat ADHD by influencing both norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for affecting movement, pleasure, and attention span. Norepinephrine is considered a stimulant. Methylphenidate helps you concentrate and gain control of actions in your body. Children or adults will find it easier to focus and listen at work or in school.
Side Effects of Methylphenidate
Like we mentioned above, all medications come with risks. It’s important to note that you may experience side effects when you start taking the drug, but these will lessen over time as your body adjusts to methylphenidate. If you continue to experience severe side effects, you must immediately call your doctor or go to the hospital.
The most common side effects of methylphenidate include:
- Loss of appetite
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Weight loss
- Visions problems
- Skin rashes
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
Call a medical professional immediately if these side effects cause discomfort.