A Parent's Guide to the Daytrana Patch

The Daytrana patch contains methylphenidate, the same stimulant medication found in Ritalin, Concerta, Focalin, and other commonly prescribed ADHD medications. But its delivery system is different. Dr. Larry Silver explains all of the other nuances of this treatment.

Daytrana Q&A

Q: How can I avoid these side effects?
A: Alternate the hip on which the patch is worn every day, to reduce potential irritation, placing it in a different spot on the child’s hip each time. Don’t apply the patch to irritated or damaged skin. Doing so may increase the amount of medication that goes into your child’s bloodstream.

Q: Why must the Daytrana patch be applied to the hip?
A: Different areas of the body absorb varying amounts of the medicine. The pharmaceutical company that developed Daytrana determined that the hip was the most effective place to apply it.

Q: What should I do if the patch gets wet while my child is wearing it?
A: When properly applied, the patch will stay on and keep delivering medicine, although exposure to water from bathing, swimming, or showering may affect its adhesion. If the patch falls off, discard it and apply a new patch to a different area of the same hip, making sure that the total daily length of use doesn’t exceed nine hours. Do not use tape, bandages, or other household adhesives to reapply the patch.

Q: I have difficulty removing the protective cover from the patch before applying it. I tried using scissors to remove the cover, and accidentally cut the patch. Can I use a damaged patch?
A: Many families have told me that they keep the patches in the refrigerator. Apparently, it is easier to remove the protective covering when the patch is cold. If you cut the patch, the manufacturer recommends that you throw it away and use a new one.

Q: What happens if I touch the sticky part of the patch?
A: No significant amount of medicine is lost. If you do touch the sticky part with your fingers, it’s a good idea to wash your hands immediately after application, to avoid absorbing any of the medicine.

Q: If the patch is not applied correctly, will all of the medication get into my child’s system?
A: The full surface of the patch must be exposed to the skin for the proper amount of medication to be absorbed.

Q: My child behaves great once her ADHD medication starts to work in the morning. But until then, she runs around screaming. What can I do?
A: Go into her bedroom, about two hours before you want to wake her up, and gently place the patch on her hip without disturbing her. When she awakes, the medication should be working, and she will be less impulsive and inattentive. If you decide to do this, discuss with your doctor how to get all-day coverage and when to remove the patch.

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Q: Is the patch more expensive than oral medication?
A: New medications are expensive as long as the manufacturer’s patent remains in effect. When the patent expires, however, and a generic form of the medication is produced, the price goes down. So, yes, Daytrana is more expensive than the generic forms of oral medication, but it may be no more expensive than oral ADHD medications that are still covered by a patent.

Q: My teenage son wears the patch and it works well. But he is embarrassed when he has to change or shower in phys-ed class, when he is at swim practice, or other times when the patch can be seen by friends. What can I do to relieve his embarrassment?
A: I can understand his not wanting others to see the patch. Perhaps he could seek more privacy when changing or in the shower. Or you could help him devise an explanation that will satisfy curious classmates. He might say, “I have a medical problem, and this is how the medicine is released into my body.”

Q. Can my child use the Daytrana patch for most of the day, but add a short-acting tablet to boost the effect when taking an exam, say, or when he is in a difficult class?
A: This approach would require in-depth knowledge of both medications, as well as of their absorption/peak, effect/fade cycle. Discuss this with your child’s prescribing doctor before trying it.

FDA is warning that permanent loss of skin color may occur with use of the Daytrana patch (methylphenidate transdermal system) for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). FDA added a new warning to the drug label to describe this skin condition, which is known as chemical leukoderma. See the FDA Drug Safety Communication for more information.

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TAGS: Daytrana, ADHD Stimulant Medications,

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