Ritalin LA

Ritalin LA treats symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This medication can cause a loss of appetite and cause difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

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Pharmacist Teresa Brucker, PharmD summarizes the uses, common side effects, and warnings for the CNS Stimulants class of medications
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Ritalin LA Overview

Reviewed: September 5, 2012
Updated: 

Ritalin LA is a prescription medication used to treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Ritalin belongs to a group of drugs called central nervous system (CNS) stimulants, which works by changing the amount of natural substances in the brain to decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity.

This medication comes in long-acting capsule form and is once a day in the morning, with or without food. Do not crush, chew, or divide Ritalin LA capsules. Swallow the capsules whole.

Common side effects of Ritalin LA are headache, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, decreased appetite, and stomach ache.

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Ritalin LA Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautionsprecautions

Uses of Ritalin LA

Ritalin LA is a prescription medication used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Manufacturer

Ritalin LA Drug Class

Ritalin LA is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Ritalin LA

Serious side effects have been reported with Ritalin LA. See “Ritalin LA Precautions” section.

Ritalin LA may cause serious side effects, including:

  • seizures, mainly in patients with a history of seizures
  • slowing of growth (weight and height)
  • eyesight changes or blurred vision

The most common side effects of Ritalin LA include:

  • poor appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • weight loss
  • tics
  • trouble sleeping
  • mood swings
  • dizziness

This is not a complete list of Ritalin LA side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Ritalin LA Interactions

Tell your doctor about all of the medicines that you or your child take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Ritalin LA and some medicines may interact with each other and cause serious side effects. Sometimes the doses of other medicines will need to be adjusted while taking Ritalin LA.

Your doctor will decide whether Ritalin LA can be taken with other medicines.

Especially tell your doctor if you or your child takes:

  • anti-depression medicines including MAOIs
  • seizure medicines
  • blood thinner medicines
  • blood pressure medicines
  • cold or allergy medicines that contain decongestants

Know the medicines that you or your child takes. Keep a list of your medicines with you to show your doctor and pharmacist.

Do not start any new medicine while taking Ritalin LA without talking to your doctor first.

Ritalin LA Precautions

The following have been reported with use of Ritalin LA and other stimulant medicines.

  • Heart-related problems:
    • sudden death in patients who have heart problems or heart defects
    • stroke and heart attack in adults
    • increased blood pressure and heart rate

Tell your doctor if you or your child have any heart problems, heart defects, high blood pressure, or a family history of these problems.

Your doctor should check you or your child carefully for heart problems before starting Ritalin LA.

Your doctor should check your or your child's blood pressure and heart rate regularly during treatment with Ritalin LA.

Call your doctor right away if you or your child has any signs of heart problems such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Ritalin LA.

  • Mental (psychiatric) problems:
    • All Patients
      • new or worse behavior and thought problems
      • new or worse bipolar illness
      • new or worse aggressive behavior or hostility
    • Children and Teenagers
    • new psychotic symptoms (such as hearing voices, believing things that are not true, are suspicious) or new manic symptoms

Tell your doctor about any mental problems you or your child have, or about a family history of suicide, bipolar illness, or depression.

Call your doctor right away if you or your child have any new or worsening mental symptoms or problems while taking Ritalin LA, especially seeing or hearing things that are not real, believing things that are not real, or are suspicious.

Do not take Ritalin LA if you or your child:

  • are very anxious, tense, or agitated
  • have an eye problem called glaucoma
  • have tics or Tourette’s syndrome, or a family history of Tourette's syndrome. Tics are hard to control repeated movements or sounds.
  • are taking or have taken within the past 14 days an anti-depression medicine called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor or MAOI.
  • are allergic to anything in Ritalin LA

Ritalin LA should not be used in children less than 6 years old because it has not been studied in this age group.

Ritalin LA Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Ritalin LA, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving Ritalin LA.

Inform MD

Before starting Ritalin LA, tell your or your child's doctor about all health conditions (or a family history of) including:

  • heart problems, heart defects, high blood pressure
  • mental problems including psychosis, mania, bipolar illness, or depression
  • tics or Tourette's syndrome
  • seizures or have had an abnormal brain wave test (EEG)

Tell your doctor about all of the medicines that you or your child take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Ritalin LA and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Ritalin LA will harm your unborn baby.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Ritalin LA falls into category C. There are no adequate animal or human studies; or studies in animals have shown a harmful and undesired effect on the unborn baby, yet there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.

This medication may be given to a pregnant woman if her healthcare provider believes that its benefits to the pregnant woman outweigh any possible risks to her unborn baby.

Ritalin LA and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Ritalin LA is excreted in human breast milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.

Ritalin LA Usage

Take Ritalin LA exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully

  • Take Ritalin LA exactly as prescribed. Your doctor may adjust the dose until it is right for you or your child. 
  • Take Ritalin LA once a day in the morning. Ritalin LA is an extended-release capsule. It releases medicine into your body throughout the day. 
  • Swallow Ritalin LA capsules whole with water or other liquids. If you cannot swallow the capsule, open it and sprinkle the medicine over a spoonful of applesauce. Swallow the applesauce and medicine mixture without chewing. Follow with a drink of water or other liquid. Never chew or crush the capsule or the medicine inside the capsule. 
  • Ritalin LA should not be taken with alcohol. This may result in a more rapid release of the dose of Ritalin LA
  • From time to time, your doctor may stop Ritalin LA treatment for a while to check ADHD symptoms. 
  • Your doctor may do regular checks of the blood, heart, and blood pressure while taking Ritalin LA. Children should have their height and weight checked often while taking Ritalin LA. Ritalin LA treatment may be stopped if a problem is found during these check-ups. 
  • If you or your child takes too much Ritalin LA or overdoses, call your doctor or poison control center right away, or get emergency treatment.

Ritalin LA Dosage

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated
  • other medical conditions you have
  • other medications you are taking
  • how you respond to this medication
  • your weight
  • your height
  • your age
  • your gender

The recommended starting dose of Ritalin LA (methylphenidate) is 20 mg once daily. Dosage may be adjusted in weekly 10 mg increments to a maximum of 60 mg/day taken once daily in the morning. Daily dosage above 60 mg is not recommended.

Ritalin LA Overdose

If you take too much this medication, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If this medication is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.

Ritalin LA FDA Warning

Ritalin LA is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Keep Ritalin LA in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. Selling or giving away Ritalin LA may harm others, and is against the law.

Tell your doctor if you or your child have (or have a family history of) ever abused or been dependent on alcohol, prescription medicines or street drugs.

Drug Dependence

Ritalin LA should be given cautiously to patients with a history of drug dependence or alcoholism. Chronic abusive use can lead to marked tolerance and psychological dependence with varying degrees of abnormal behavior. Frank psychotic episodes can occur, especially with parenteral abuse. Careful supervision is required during withdrawal from abusive use, since severe depression may occur. Withdrawal following chronic therapeutic use may unmask symptoms of the underlying disorder that may require follow-up.