Medication and Treatment Reviews

Aptensio XR

Generic Name: Methylphenidate hydrochloride

Uses

Aptensio XR 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

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

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 and Safety

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

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.

Sources:

http://www.aptensioxr.com/resources/Aptensio-XR-Medication-Guide.pdf
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2015/205831s000lbl.pdf

2 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.

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