ADHD Medication and Treatment Reviews

Aptensio XR

Generic Name: Methylphenidate hydrochloride

What is Aptensio XR?

Aptensio XR (Generic Name: methylphenidate hydrochloride)is a once-daily, timed-release stimulant medication primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for children over age 6, adolescents, and adults. According to the FDA, Aptensio XR is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence.

It has the same active ingredient as do medications like Ritalin and Daytrana. Aptensio XR may improve focus for people with inattentive ADHD, and decrease impulsivity and hyperactive behavior, the hallmark symptoms in patients with the condition. It has not been studied in children under the age of 6.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends treatment with behavioral therapy before medication for children under the age of 6. For children ages 6 to 11, the AAP says “The primary care clinician should prescribe US Food and Drug Administration–approved medications for ADHD and/or evidence-based parent- and/or teacher-administered behavior therapy as treatment for ADHD, preferably both.” Likewise, the National Institute of Mental Health finds the most successful treatment plans use a combination of ADHD medication, like Aptensio XR, and behavior therapies.

Aptensio XR is also sometimes used to treat narcolepsy.

How to Use Aptensio XR

Before starting or refilling an Aptensio XR prescription, read the medication guide included with your pills, as it may be updated with new information.

This guide should not replace a conversation with your doctor, who has a holistic view of your or your child’s medical history, other diagnoses, and other prescriptions. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking the medication.

Dosage for Aptensio XR

As with all medications, follow your Aptensio XR prescription instructions exactly. Aptensio XR is taken orally, with or without food, once daily. The first dose is typically taken first thing in the morning; it should be taken at the same time each day for the best results.

Do not drink alcohol while taking this medication.

Capsules should be swallowed whole with water or other liquids. If your child is unable to swallow the capsule, it can be opened and sprinkled over a spoonful of applesauce. Taken this way, the mixture should be swallowed whole without chewing, followed by a drink of water or other liquid. Capsules should never by crushed or chewed.

Capsules are available in 10mg, 15mg, 20mg, 25mg, 30mg, 40mg, 50mg, and 60mg dosages. The time-release formulation is designed to maintain a steady level of medication in your body throughout the day.

The optimal dosage varies patient by patient; is not determined by age, weight, or height, but rather by how a person metabolizes the medication. Your doctor may adjust your daily dosage by 10mg increments until you or your child experiences the best response — that is, the lowest dosage at which you experience the greatest improvement in symptoms without side effects.

The FDA recommends screening for the presence of cardiac disease and substance-abuse problems before beginning treatment with Aptensio XR.

During treatment, your doctor may periodically ask you to stop taking your Aptensio XR so that he or she can monitor ADHD symptoms; check vital statistics including blood, heart, and blood pressure; or evaluate height and weight. If any problems are found, your doctor may recommend discontinuing treatment.

Some patients report developing a tolerance to Aptensio XR after long-term usage. If you notice that your dosage is no longer controlling your symptoms, talk to your doctor to plan a course of action.

Side Effects Associated with Aptensio XR

The most common side effects of Aptensio XR are as follows: stomach pain, decreased appetite, headache, and trouble sleeping.

Other serious side effects include priapism, circulation problems in fingers and toes, and slowed growth in children.

Taking Aptensio XR may impair your or your teenager’s ability to drive, operate machinery, or perform other potentially dangerous tasks. This side effect usually wears off with time. If side effects are bothersome, or do not go away, talk to your doctor. Most people taking this medication do not experience any of these side effects.

Report to your doctor any heart-related problems or a family history of heart and blood pressure problems. Patients with structural cardiac abnormalities and other serious heart problems have experienced sudden death, stroke, heart attack, and increased blood pressure while taking Aptensio XR. Stimulants can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Physicians should monitor these vital signs closely during treatment. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences warning signs such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Aptensio XR.

Also disclose to your physician all mental health issues including any family history of suicide, bipolar illness, or depression. Aptensio XR may create new or exacerbate existing behavior problems, bipolar illness, or psychotic symptoms. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences new or worsening mental health symptoms including hallucinations or sudden suspicions.

Discuss circulation problems with your doctor before taking Aptensio XR, which has been known to cause numbness, coolness, or pain in fingers or toes, including Raynaud’s phenomenon. Report to your doctor any new blood-flow problems, pain, skin color changes, or sensitivities to temperature while taking Aptensio XR.

Methlyphinidates like Aptensio XR have a high potential for abuse and addiction, especially among people who do not have ADHD. It is a “Schedule II Stimulant,” a designation that the Drug Enforcement Agency uses for drugs with a high potential for abuse. Other Schedule II drugs include Dexedrine, Ritalin, and cocaine. People with a history of drug abuse should use caution when trying this medication. Taking the medication exactly as prescribed can reduce potential for abuse.

The above is not a complete list of potential side effects. If you notice any health changes not listed above, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions Associated with Aptensio XR

Store Aptensio XR in a secure place out of the reach of children, and at room temperature. Do not share your Aptensio XR prescription with anyone, even another person with ADHD. Sharing prescription medication is illegal, and can cause harm.

You should not take Aptensio if you are allergic to methylphenidate or other ingredients, or if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Symptomatic cardiovascular disease
  • Moderate to severe hypertension
  • History of drug abuse
  • Treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

If you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, discuss the use of Aptensio XR with your doctor. Animal studies indicate a potential risk of fetal harm. Aptensio XR is passed through breastmilk, so it is recommended that mothers do not nurse while taking it.

The effects of Aptensio XR on children under six and on the elderly have not been studied.

Interactions Associated with Aptensio XR

Before taking Aptensio XR, discuss all other active prescription medications with your doctor. Aptensio XR can have a dangerous, possibly fatal, interaction with antidepressants including MAOIs.

Do not drink alcohol while taking this medication.

Exercise caution with medicines including antacids and dexmethylphenidates. Even over-the-counter medications may contain ingredients that raise or lower the level of the medication in your blood to a dangerous level.

Share a list of all vitamin or herbal supplements, and prescription and non-prescription medications you take with the pharmacist when you fill your prescription, and let all doctors and physicians know you are taking Aptensio XR before having any surgery or laboratory tests. The above is not a complete list of all possible drug interactions.


Aptensio XR: Next Steps

4 Aptensio XR Comments & Reviews

  1. We recently switched from Daytrana to Aptensio XR. We have experienced some good results but only for a short time (7 hours max vs. 12). The crash is tough and our evenings are difficult. We just added Focalin 5 mg at 3:00 pm.

  2. My 16 year old son has mild Tourette’s, ADD, and anxiety. He was on Prozac for many years which was given to him to control the tics, and it worked wonderfully. New psychiatrist just took him off Prozac and put him on Zoloft because he was experiencing more anxiety and depression that needed controlled. Just this week his psych put him on 30 mg of Aptensio to try to help with his ADHD. After only 2 days my son says he feels it kick in and he can tell he is more focused and able to complete work. However, it does wear off in 3-4 hours. No doubt he will need a high dose. Anyway, his psychiatrist also told us to start him on the supplement NAC, which he says is good for controlling tics. We are hoping with the combination that he will not see an increase in tics with the Aptensio. So far so good.

  3. Hi everyone,

    It has been really frustrating trying to find any sort of reviews for this drug. I hope this helps someone.

    I’m a recently diagnosed (6 months) 50 yr old woman—Combined type ADHD. I’ve been on Aptensio XR 30 mg for 3 weeks.

    A little history: This is my 4th med to try. First was immediate release Methylphenidate 10 mg and was told to play with the dose to see what worked. I blew thru 30 pills in 4 days. It didn’t work or last well at all. Next was Stratterra and it was a nightmare. It did nothing for ADHD and just made me physically feel like crap. Then Vyvanse for a couple of months—30 and then 40 mg. I thought I liked it until I started binge eating and gaining weight. I also got extremely irritable around 5pm each day. When I moved to 40 mg those side effects got worse; I woke up extremely irritated and kind of stayed that way all day. My doc was considering raising the dose but decided instead to try Aptensio XR 30 mg. And that’s what I’ve been taking the last 3 weeks.

    The first 2 days on Aptensio I was like a zombie and also tired. I just kinda stared into space a lot. I didn’t have any kind of feelings. I was just blah. Nothing. Nobody home. The 3rd day and for about 1 1/2 weeks after I felt really great. Except—I would get sleepy at 1-1:30 each day and have to nap. I mean I literally fell asleep. Didn’t matter what I was doing. I went to sleep. It was impossible to fight it. I would sleep for 1 1/2 to 2 hours and wake up completely refreshed. I’ve never been a napper. If I nap, I’m just going to bed—there was no getting back up, at least with any kind of functioning. I’d be “normal” until about 6 and then I’d realize I still had the energy, drive and focus that I did in the morning. Again, unheard of for me. At 11pm I am ready to sleep. I sleep to about 7 am. I’m getting some of the best sleep of my life.

    Going into the mid second week, the afternoon sleepiness stopped completely. I have energy, drive and focus all day. And something strange happened—I have FEELINGS. I take 450 mg of generic Wellbutrin each day for depression. I thought I was feeling FEELINGS just fine. Holy Crap! I’ve really been missing out! I’m more attentive to my husband, more physically affectionate. I FEEL. I don’t know how else to put it. It’s a great feeling. I have positive thoughts. I’m happy and actually have a better outlook on life.

    I go back to the doc next week to evaluate how I’m doing on Aptensio. I wonder if she’ll keep me on this dose or tweak it.

    I hope this was helpful to someone!


  4. Aptensio is a good addition to a regimen for timing methylphenidate. It works much faster than concerta. Aptensio is smoother than instant release methylphenidate. By that I mean it doesn’t feel like a jolt to the system that quickly wears off. Aptensio’s release is biphasic. The first dose lasts 3-4 hours. I can feel a little drop somewhere in hour 3 to 5. There is then a second release. I can’t feel the second release, but I can see the benefit in perseverance through monotonous tasks and less distractibility and impulsivity. At best it is an 8 hour medicine. For people looking for 16 hour medication coverage, this medication may work if given two doses without overshooting the 16 hours as can happen with two doses of Concerta. If Daytrana is covered by insurance, I think Aptensio and Daytrana combination could be very interesting to get long lasting steady coverage since Daytrana takes several hours to build up to therapeutic dose.

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