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The proper way to use

Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. If too much is taken, it may become habit-forming. If you or your child think this medicine is not working properly after you have taken it for several weeks, check with your doctor first and do not increase the dose.

This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one.

To help prevent trouble with sleeping, take the last dose of the short-acting tablets before 6 p.m., unless your doctor gives you a different time.

If you or your child are taking the long-acting forms of this medicine:

  • The Ritalin LA® capsules and Ritalin SR® tablets are to be swallowed whole. Do not break, open, crush, or chew them before swallowing.
  • If you are taking the Concerta® brand of the extended-release tablets, you may sometimes notice what looks like a tablet in your stool. This is the empty tablet shell that is left after the medicine has been absorbed into your body.
  • If you or your child are unable to swallow the Ritalin LA® extended-release capsule whole, carefully open the capsule and sprinkle the small beads over a spoonful of applesauce. The mixture of drug and applesauce should be taken right away without chewing. The drug and applesauce mixture can not be stored for future use.

For patients using the transdermal system (skin patch):

  • Methylphenidate patches come with patient instructions. Read them carefully before using this medicine. Methylphenidate patches will work only if applied correctly.
  • Do not remove the patch from its sealed pouch until you are ready to put it on your skin. The patch may not work as well if it is unwrapped too soon.
  • Apply the patch 2 hours before the desired effect.
  • Do not try to trim or cut the patch to adjust the dose. Check with your doctor if you think the medicine is not working as it should.
  • Apply the patch to a clean, dry area of skin on your hip. Choose an area that is not very oily, has little or no hair, and is free of scars, cuts, burns, or any other skin irritation. A different place on either hip should be used each day. The patch should not be applied to the waistline or where tight clothing may rub it.
  • Press the patch firmly in place with the palm of your hand for about 10 seconds. Make sure there is good contact with your skin, especially around the edges of the patch.
  • The patch should stay in place when you are showering, bathing, or swimming. Apply a new patch if one falls off. But, the total amount of time you wear a patch for that day should not be longer than the amount of time your doctor ordered for each day.
  • Remove the patch about 9 hours after it was applied, or as directed by your doctor.
  • After removing a used patch, fold it in half with the sticky sides together. Place the folded, used patch in its protective pouch or in aluminum foil. Make sure to dispose of it where children and pets will not find it.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD):
    • For the short-acting oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults and teenagers—5 to 20 milligrams (mg) two or three times a day, taken 30 to 45 minutes before meals.
      • Children 6 years of age and older—To start, 5 milligrams (mg) two times a day, taken before breakfast and lunch. If needed, your doctor may increase the dose once a week by 5 to 10 mg a day until symptoms improve or a maximum dose of 60 mg is reached.
      • Children up to 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by the doctor.
    • For the long-acting oral dosage form (sustained-release tablets):
      • Adults, teenagers, and children over 6 years of age—The dose must be determined by the doctor.
      • Children up to 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by the doctor.
    • For the long-acting oral dosage form (extended-release capsules):
      • Adults, teenagers, and children over 6 years of age—10 to 20 milligrams (mg) once a day, taken in the morning before breakfast. If needed, your doctor may increase the dose once a week by 10 mg a day as needed up to 60 mg a day.
      • Children up to 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by the doctor.
    • For the transdermal (stick-on) skin patch:
      • Adults, teenagers, and children over 6 years of age—The dose must be determined by the doctor.
      • Children up to 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by the doctor.
  • For narcolepsy:
    • For the short-acting oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults and teenagers—5 to 20 milligrams (mg) two or three times a day, taken 30 to 45 minutes before meals.
    • For the long-acting oral dosage form (sustained-release tablets):
      • Adults and teenagers—The dose must be determined by the doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

If you forget to wear or change a patch, put one on as soon as you can. If it is almost time to put on your next patch, wait until then to apply a new patch and skip the one you missed. Do not apply extra patches to make up for a missed dose.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Store the patches at room temperature in a closed container, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.