Doctor didn’t believe Ritalin WASN’T amphetamine

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    • #87531

      My husband was diagnosed a while ago with ADHD and he’s been taking a small dosage of methylphenidate. He had to take a routine drug test and the doctor couldn’t find zany in his urine. Five urine tests later, the doctor asked if my honey was selling his prescription. My husband said if he really wanted to sell his prescription, why would he ask for the smallest dose possible and not a full dosage?! I had done my research and learned methylphenidate isn’t an ampetamine which is what the doctor kept testing him for.

      He sat us down and told us he couldnt find the drugs in his urine. I explained it wasn’t an amphetamine and that’s probably why they weren’t finding it in his test. He told me that was the OPPOSITE of what his pharmaceutical guy told him and it was absolutely impossible to have a false negative. He told me he would look up some actual case studies. I told him that was nice but demanded they test him for methylphenidate. He even tried to say that he had tested for it and pointed at the methamphetamine drug test. It was insulting. He didn’t even know if there was a Ritalin urine test. Sure enough there was one and my husband took it.

      We’re waiting on the results now, but does anyone have official sources stating that methylphenidate is NOT an amphetamine?!? I’m feeling frustrated and upset that this doctor doesn’t even understand what drug he’s prescribing and how to test for it. Thank goodness I was able to be there and advocate for my husband!!! Thanks for your help!!!!

    • #87564

      Indeed it is not an amphetamine. However, I’ve seen it referred to as one even in academic literature. It’s a nuance that many doctors probably don’t have the time to figure out. My own doctor tried to tell me that Ritalin and Adderall worked in the same way and neither is stronger than the other. This is not true, and I had done my research beforehand to know that. They each work a bit differently and Adderall is stronger per MG than Ritalin.

      Drug stores sell home drug tests, and you will indeed see that there are amphetamine tests and methylphenidate tests (and some have both in one, but the package will say so). Your doctor have had previous experience with a test that looked for both, but he may not have been aware that it was a combo test, leading him to believe one test can always detect either.

    • #87534

      From reading the following links, it sure looks like Methylphenidate and Amphetamine are distinct substances, and thus may not be detectable via the same test.

    • #87541

      How about the actual manufacturers’ sites and a distinguished university? Would that be “official” enough?

      Adderall is amphetamine:

      Ritalin is not:

      Oxford Univ article on differences:

      This doctor forgot his high school chemistry. “Methyl” means one carbon atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms. It is not a synonym for amphetamine, although both molecules contain a methyl group.

      Amphetamine is C9H13N. Methylphenidate is C14H19NO2.

      I could go on but that would be boring. The two drugs are as different as H2O (water) is from H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide), and also happen to have almost opposite actions on neurochemicals.

      I hope this is helpful! Also check out:

    • #87571
      Penny Williams

      It’s frightening when the doctors prescribing the medication don’t even know what they’re prescribing and how it works. I’d find a new doctor for ADHD treatment ASAP.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #100770

      I am so glad I am not the only one that this has happened too! My doctors office just told me today that they can’t refill my Ritalin because the drug test for Amphetamines comes back negative. I felt like my integrity is being challenged. I take it exactly like I’m supposed to or I’m all over the place. I called the dr’s office back and her nurse said I have to make an Appt. with my dr. to discuss it so I did. Thanks for the info!

      • #100794

        So when we went back to the doctor, I took the advice I had heard to have the doctor actually do a methylphenidate drug test. I am SO glad I was there to advocate for my husband. The doc kept fighting me but I demanded that he look it up. He did and was surprised to see there even was a test. My hubby took it and of course passed!!!! We were vindicated! The doc had even tried to say when I pointed out that none of the drug testing was for methylphenidate, he pointed at the “methamphetamine” test he had taken and said that should have shown he had it in his system!! 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄

        Before a follow up appointment, we passed on th info that was posted above explaining that methylphenidate is NOT an amphetamine. He actually believed us and said he was misinformed. After that whole debacle, we decided to get a new doctor who actually UNDERSTOOD what it was he was prescribing and how to test for it!!!!!

    • #100828

      I may end up having to find a new doctor myself. But I will definitely meet with my doctor and give her the info I have learned first. I just hate that I feel like I have to defend myself but I will just to clear my name. 😞

    • #100832

      Wow, I’ve never had to take a drug test to prove I was taking my methylphenidate, it’s bad enough that I have to see my doctor every month to get my prescription,

    • #100833

      I hadn’t either up until I had to find a new doctor a year ago closer to home. :-/

    • #101050

      I only go to a psychiatrist who specializes in ADHD. What a nightmare. How scary.

    • #136533

      I am having the same problem with my doctor. This is what I xposted in Reddit.
      So, I’ve been on and off stimulant and non-stimulant medication for the better part of 50 years.

      My doctor recently started doing routine drug testing of his patients who take Schedule II stimulants, of which Concerta is one. When he informed me of this, I did notify him of one other substance generally considered not dangerous that would show up, but he informed me that his concern was that the patients were not taking the drug but rather selling it. He even said he had one patient, in his 60s, who he removed from the medication because he didn’t test positive for Concerta.

      Here’s the deal, I know that I’ve been taking my Concerta at the same time every god-damned day. I went in, and did my drug test about 5 days before my visit. I went in, and he told me in the office that I would need to take another drug test, as I wasn’t testing “positive for Concerta.” (I am taking it, I have no reason to lie here). I took the second drug test. I do not recall if he said that I tested, “negative for amphetamines” or “negative for concerta.”

      I called in to request a renewal today. It was denied.

      I immediately went and did a drug test through a small company, which gives you real time results, but you can also send into a lab. I tested negative for Amphetamines.

      I called and talked to one of the lab technicians on the phone (a small company in PA) and described the above situation. He said that the situation seemed odd. He informed me that upon mailing in the sample, they will produce results that test specifically for Methylphenidate. He also told me to follow up with him on the results of this entire episode.

      This is my strategy:

      I intend to view the results of my test at the above site. If I test positive for Methylphenidate, I will do the following:

      Make an appointment with my doctor who denied my prescription.

      I will tell him of the above results. I will also say that while he has no way of knowing whether or not I am telling the truth, I will request a Hair Follicle TEST that specifically tests for Methylphenidate.

      In the meantime, I will ask him for a non-controlled substance for treating ADHD. I do have it.

      I will be seeking verification on the internet somewhere that demonstrates that Methylphenidate is NOT an amphetamine. I’ve seen it posted in this forum a few times, but I need an objective, peer-reviewed and/or clinical concrete statement to the equivalent, so that I can tell my doctor that the test is inadequate.

      If this fails, I will first file a complaint with the clinic in question

      The complaint will center around Methylphenidate vs Amphetamines. It will also include the anecdote that he told me about kicking another patient off of Methylphenidate.

      If the above complaint fails at the clinic, I will “take it higher.”

      Do you all have any other recommendations?

      • #136540

        I’m so sorry this is happening to you!! I actually sent the links that are posted above to my husband’s doctor. His doctor said that he “must have been misinformed” about Ritalin being methylphenidate. We have had this happen every year because there seems to be a new set of nurses, etc. It’s a pain, but you have facts on your side. Ritalin is methylphenidate and Adderall is an amphetamine.

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