How Much Ritalin Is Enough?


"I'm 39 and started taking Ritalin 2 weeks ago. I have been trying to find the right dose to take during the day. I feel better with a higher dose (15-20 mg every four hours), because a lower one gives me a headache. What should I do? How does someone determine the right dose of Ritalin?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

The goal with Ritalin is to find the dose that helps the most with no side effects. The dose is not based on age or body weight. It is based on how quickly each person metabolizes the medication. Thus, it appears that 15 or 20 mg every four hours may be best for you. If this dose is working with no side effects, it might be the plan to stay on.

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Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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