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Using the Daytrana Patch
"How does the Daytrana skin patch work? What side effects does it cause?"
The Daytrana patch contains methylphenidate, the same stimulant found in Ritalin and Concerta. It’s available in 10, 15, 20, and 30 mg doses. As with stimulant pills, your doctor should start with the lowest dose and increase it until the most effective one is found.
The Daytrana patch should be applied to an area of clean, dry skin that’s free of lotions, powders, and so on. Do not touch the exposed adhesive after removing the backing from the patch. Hold the patch firmly in place for 30 seconds after applying. If you place the patch on the hip, as the manufacturer recommends, be sure you don’t place it directly under a waistband — friction can cause it to loosen.
After application, the Daytrana takes anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to begin working, and lasts for about nine hours. If symptoms don’t need to be controlled for this long, the patch can be removed and discarded. Patches should not be reused.
The patch can cause any of the side effects that are normally associated with methylphenidate, including appetite loss, sleep problems, nausea, vomiting, and tics.
In addition, some patients experience skin irritation at the patch site. Mild redness is considered normal, and can be minimized by ensuring that the patch site is free of cuts or irritation and placing the patch in a different spot each day (that is, alternating hips). If contact dermatitis (swelling, itching, severe redness, small bumps) develops and does not improve within 48 hours, or spreads beyond the patch site, stop using the patch and consult a dermatologist.
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.