Medication and Treatment Reviews

Methylin

Generic Name: Methylphenidate hydrochloride

Uses

Methylin is a central nervous system stimulant primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children ages 6-12, adolescents, and adults up to age 65. Methylin may improve focus, and decrease impulsivity and hyperactive behavior — hallmark symptoms in some patients with the condition. It contains the same active ingredient as medications like Ritalin and Daytrana. According to the FDA, Methylin is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. 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 Methylin, and behavior therapies.

Methylin can also be used to treat narcolepsy.

How to Use Methylin

Before starting or refilling a Methylin 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 Methylin prescription instructions exactly. Taking Methylin after 6pm can disrupt sleep for some patients.

The optimal dosage varies patient by patient. It is not determined by age, weight, or height, but rather by how a person metabolizes the medication, and the condition treated. Your doctor may adjust your daily dosage 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.

Methylin is available in two formulations:

  • Chewable Tablet (Methylin ER): Taken two to three times daily, 30 to 45 minutes before a meal. Chew each tablet well and swallow with at least a full glass of water or another liquid. Tablets not taken with enough liquid can swell and become a choking risk. Available in 2.5 mg, 5 mg, and 10mg dosages.
  • Oral Solution: Colorless, grape-flavored liquid, taken two to three times daily, 30 to 45 minutes before a meal. The liquid should be measured with the included device and swallowed entirely with water or another liquid. Dosage does not typically exceed 60 mg per day.

Do not drink alcohol while taking this medication, as it can cause the medicine to be released too quickly. Taking Methylin after eating a high-fat meal can delay the release of the medication, and therapeutic effects.

During treatment, your doctor may periodically ask you to stop taking your Methylin 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.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of Methylin are as follows: nervousness, trouble sleeping, headache, stomach ache, fast heartbeat, nausea, decreased appetite, dizziness, and weight loss.

Other serious side effects include slowing of growth in children, seizures, priapism, and eyesight changes or blurred vision.

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 Methylin. 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 Methylin.

Also disclose to your physician all mental health issues including any family history of suicide, bipolar illness, or depression. Methylin may create new or exacerbate existing behavior problems, or bipolar illness. The FDA recommends evaluating patients for bipolar disorder prior to stimulant administration. It can cause psychotic or manic symptoms in children and teenagers. 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 Methylin, 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 Methylin.

Stimulants like Methylin 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

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

You should not take Methylin if you have any of the following conditions: allergy or hypersensitivity to Methylin or any of the ingredients in Methylin medications, anxiety/agitation, glaucoma, tics or history of Tourette’s syndrome, or if you are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

Chewable tablets can contain phenylalanine, and can be harmful to people with phenylketonuria.

You should use caution while taking Methylin if you have a history of heart or mental problems, seizures, abnormal brain wave tests, circulation problems, or esophagus/stomach/intestine problems.

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

The safety of Methylin for children under 6 has not been established.

Interactions

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

Tell your doctor if you are taking seizure medications, blood thinners, blood pressure medication, or any medication containing a decongestant.

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 Methylin before having any surgery or laboratory tests. Methylin can have a dangerous interaction with certain anesthetics. The above is not a complete list of all possible drug interactions.

Sources:

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/021419s001,021475s004lbl.pdf
https://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/drugsafety/ucm088639.pdf

2 reviews

  1. I am on Methylin (generic Ritalin) 10mg 2x a day. I take it with breakfast and lunch. Each pill lasts 4 – 6 hours. It is a low dose, but my body can not tolerate more. I have never slept well. But the less anxious my day, the better I sleep. The Methylin helps with focus, and my thoughts being more cohesive.

  2. I used to take Methylin but the pharmacy began making Methylphenidate 20 mg ER which last me through the day and in the evening. I try to walk or “cardio” for 20-30 minutes. By the time I go to bed at 11 I sleep almost dreamless til 6:30 am. There are still some nights that I just can’t quiet my mind, they are rare and not because of the medication.

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