Can the Daytrana Patch Be Abused?


"Why is the Daytrana skin patch considered less likely to be abused than pills? And is it just for kids?"

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

The Daytrana transdermal patch contains methylphenidate, the same drug found in Ritalin. It's less likely to be abused because it releases the methylphenidate very slowly.

The Daytrana patch comes in 10, 15, 20, and 30 mg. dosages. (Each number represents the number of milligrams released over nine hours.) The 10 mg. patch releases 1.1 mg. of methylphenidate per hour and contains 27.5 mg. per patch; the 15 mg. patch delivers 1.6 mg. per hour and contains 41.3 mg.; the 20 mg. patch delivers 2.2 mg. per hour and contains 55 mg.; and the 30 mg. patch delivers 3.3 mg. per hour and contains 82.5 mg. of methylphenidate. People who wish to abuse stimulants prefer pills, which can be swallowed (or crushed and snorted) for a rapid onset of action.

Although the Daytrana patch has been heavily marketed as an option for kids who cannot swallow pills, it can be used by adults as well as children. There isn't large-scale research based on the benefits and risks of treating adult ADHD with Daytrana, but the patch should also work for teens and adults with the condition.

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.

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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