ADHD Medication and Treatment Reviews

Quillivant XR

Quillivant XR (generic name: methylphenidate hydrochloride) is the only liquid, extended release methylphenidate product used to treat ADHD in children and adults. It contains the same active ingredient as Ritalin.

What Is Quillivant XR?

Quillivant XR (methylphenidate hydrochloride) is the only liquid, extended release methylphenidate product available to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) in children ages 6+ and adults. Quillivant XR may improve focus, and decrease impulsivity and hyperactive behavior.

It contains the same active ingredient as Ritalin. Quillivant XR is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence, according to the FDA. 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 Quillivant XR, and behavior therapies.

Quillivant XR can also be used to treat narcolepsy.

How Do You Use Quillivant XR?

Before starting or refilling a Quillivant 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.

What Is the Dosage for Quillivant XR?

As with all medications, follow your Quillivant XR prescription instructions exactly. Quillivant XR is a liquid formulation that is especially useful for the one-third of children who can’t swallow pills and for people of any age who need very low doses of methylphenidate medication.

Quillivant XR releases the first dose of methylphenidate in 45 minutes and slowly keeps working for up to 12 hours. It is taken once daily in the morning with or without food. Shake the bottle well for at least 10 seconds, and then measure the medicine with the included syringe. The time-release formulation is designed to maintain a steady level of medication in your body throughout the day.

The recommended starting dose of Quillivant XR for patients 6 years and above is 20 mg once daily in the morning. The dose may be titrated weekly in increments of 10 mg to 20 mg. Daily dosages above 60 mg have not been studied and are not recommended.

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.

During treatment, your doctor may periodically ask you to stop taking your Quillivant 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 Quillivant XR after long-term use. If you notice that your dosage is no longer controlling your symptoms, talk to your doctor to plan a course of action.

What Side Effects Are Associated with Quillivant XR?

The most common side effects of Quillivant XR are as follows: decreased appetite, weight loss, nausea, stomach pain, dry mouth, vomiting, trouble sleeping, anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, mood swings, agitation, irritability, dizziness, shaking, blurred vision, increased blood pressure, fast heart beat, increased sweating, and fever.

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 Quillivant 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 Quillivant XR.

Also disclose to your physician all mental health issues including any family history of suicide, bipolar illness, tics, or depression. Quillivant XR may create new or exacerbate existing behavior problems, bipolar illness, or Tourette’s syndrome. The FDA recommends evaluating patients for bipolar disorder, tics, and Tourette’s syndrome prior to stimulant administration, which 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 Quillivant 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 Quillivant XR.

Stimulants like Quillivant 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 the 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.

What Precautions Are Associated with Quillivant XR?

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

You should not take Quillivant XR if you have any of the following conditions: allergy or hypersensitivity to methylphenidate or any of the ingredients in Quillivant XR medications, or if you are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

You should use caution taking Quillivant XR if you have a history of heart or mental problems or circulation problems.

If you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, discuss the use of Quillivant XR with your doctor. It is not known if it will cause fetal harm. Quillivant XR is passed through breastmilk, so it is recommended that mothers do not nurse while taking it.

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

What Interactions Are Associated with Quillivant XR?

Before taking Quillivant XR, discuss all other active prescription medications with your doctor. Quillivant XR 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 Quillivant XR before having any surgery or laboratory tests. The above is not a complete list of all possible drug interactions.


More Information on Quillivant XR and Other ADHD Medications:

A Parent’s Guide to ADHD Medications
Free Resource: How Do We Know the Medication is Working?
Dear ADDitude: What Should We Expect from Quillivant?
Making the Switch: Trying a New ADHD Medication

25 Quillivant XR Comments & Reviews

  1. My son, who is almost 8 and diagnosed with ADHD combined type within the last six months, was switched to Quillivant XR a little over a month ago. We have been very pleased so far. He’s on the lowest dose, which is 4mg per day. At first it depressed his appetite considerably and he had brief headaches a few times as well. However, we’ve just started the second month on it and he is doing very well. Appetite’s returned, headaches seem to have gone away, and best of all his behavior when it wears off is not crazy. It lasts about 12 hours, which we find to be pretty optimal. Overall we’re happy with this medication.

  2. My son has been on this for about four and a half months and we are very pleased. He is 11. It lasts 10 hours, and he has none of the side effects that he had on other medications. Also, we just stopped it for the summer (his is inattentive add type) and he had no withdrawal symptoms at all. I like it also because his personality never seemed to change.

  3. My son is 9 has ADHD, we are on Day 2 of Quillivant XR 25mg. So far, the results are positive; the medicine kicked in within 45 minutes, my son feels good, he was focused and participating in class, he ate dinner, was asleep by 10:30pm and didn’t have that ravenous hunger just before bed. The negative side is by 5pm he’s unable to focus on homework.

  4. My son is 7, and he takes 3 ml of Quillivant. We started at 2ml and were not seeing any results so went to 3ml. We give it to him at 7 am, and it lasts about 10-12 hours.

  5. We started our 6 year old daughter on Quillivant. We gave her 3ml dose. It took about 45 minutes to kick in but we had to suspend Quillivant because of sleep deprivation and lack of appetite. She was also acting very strange complaining of itching throughout her body. She seemed very anxious and more hyper than ever.

  6. My 5 year old has been taking Quillivant XR for about a month. We’ve tried many ADHD medications and this is by far the best. My son’s mood is even and his hyperactivity is controlled. It lasts him 10 hours and he still needs a booster of methylphenidate around 5pm to get us through the evening.

  7. Our 13 year old daughter who doesn’t swallow big pills was put on Quillivant 2 months ago after being diagnosed with ADHD. We didn’t see much impact on 4 MG so dose was increased to 8 MG. We see an impact, and she sees an impact! Last month we started giving a booster dose of short-acting Ritalin (she can swallow a small pill) around 6 PM to last through to bedtime. This seems to be working out really well. We see some appetite suppression, so we just feed her when she’s hungry! She doesn’t like the after taste, but puts up with it.

  8. My six year old boy struggles with severe ADHD. We initiated a small dose of Quillivant XR (right now at 2ml). We are thrilled with the results. Although it’s only been one week, so far he has had no side effects.

  9. My 6 year old has been on 2.5 ml Quillivant for 4 months. He is starting to get silly and less focused in school. Additionally, afternoon and morning rebound behaviors are becoming a problem.

  10. My son is 9 years old and has been on Quillivant XR for almost two months. We stopped the meds because he started having irrational fears and started washing his hands all the time, having a lot of fear about food not being clean enough and that he was going to get sick.

  11. My son is 8 years old and we started him on Quillivant XR about two weeks ago. He was diagnosed at 5 years old with ADHD combined type and has been on Focalin XR ever since. He was started on 25mg/5ml Quillivant XR, on the down side we saw it only lasted about 4 hours and he was super hyper by the time we picked him up from school. The doctor doubled the dose, which extends the life to about 8 hours. The problem now is my son has to take two full syringes. He was ok with one but fighting taking two. We noticed is that Quillivant does not seem to be as effective as the Focalin XR. He is not as focused as he was on Focalin and when it wears off it’s like it completely leaves his system. Quillivant seems to be a milder form of Focalin which also leaves the system faster.

  12. My daughter was recently diagnosed with ADHD inattentive. Our pediatrician prescribed her Concerta, but we switched to Quillivant. Her teacher has noticed that she is more emotional since beginning the medicine. She seems to be getting upset very easily.

  13. My son just turned 7 years old last month. His doctor started him on Intuniv. We had to discontinue using it a bit because it seemed like he was falling back to his old ADHD behaviors after only a few weeks on it (lack of focus, some aggression, answering back and belligerence in school and at home). We switched my son to Quallivant. I gave him the prescribed dosage of 4 ml this morning. He went to school and appeared to have done very well. But when we arrived home, my son seemed overly alert to the point where his eyes looked buggy. He was talking very fast, which is uncharacteristic for him. It began to subside when we passed the 12 hour mark. However, he had difficulty falling asleep.

  14. My 13 year old son has been on Quillivant for about 9 months. He used to take Vyvanse. On Vyvanse, he became nervous and agitated. Quillivant has produced none of those side effects so far. Additionally, on Quillivant XR he retains his personality even when the medications are having their peak effect. Overall, we are very happy. We give him a small dose of Ritalin to get him through homework.

  15. My 8yo son has been taking Quillivant XR for four months. He is diagnosed ADHD with a bit of ODD. Although his behavior has noticeably improved, I started noticing that he had some facial tics – constantly blinking his eyes and moving his nose. We started with 6ml of Quillivant in the morning and 2mg of Intuniv at night. At first, he was angry with me because he didn’t want to take pills again, but he’s actually doing great taking them with applesauce. After playing with dosages, we are now at 4ml of Quillivant and 1mg of Intuniv twice a day (morning and before bed). The tics have stopped, he eats more and he’s falling asleep a little easier at night.

  16. My son is on Quillivant. It didn’t even last close to 12 hours for him. He is only 5, so he was getting 1.5 Ml in the morning. Now he gets 1.5 in the morning, and 1Ml at lunchtime at school. He still needs sensory breaks sometimes, but he’s not nearly as wiggly or impulsive.

  17. My 6 year old son has been taking Quillivant for 6-7 weeks. Ever since he started the med, he has become even MORE angry, defiant, violent, impulsive, uncontrollable.

  18. My 6 year old is not doing well on Quillivant. He has been on it for a little over 1.5 years. He took 4 ml and is now at 6.5ml. At first his only side effect was that he constantly licked the back of his top front teeth and the top of his mouth and this went away. He had extreme insomnia but has eventually gotten better. He has a loss of appetite. It takes between 30-45 minutes for the meds to work. He takes it about 7:15 am. When it wears off, he tends to act in a manic, energetic, and destructive state. He also becomes violent with his siblings. Just within the last few months, I noticed he developed extreme fears of the dark, of being left alone, and started hallucinating.

  19. My son is an 8 year Autistic boy,who was just diagnosed with ADHD. It’s he’s first day taking Quillivant (4mg). I gave it to him at 7:30 am and he just lay around all day, it’s 2:55 am and he still wide-awake.

  20. My son, who is almost 9yrs-old, just started on Quillivant three days ago, and so far it seems to be working very well. The only side effect I’ve observed is that he seems more talkative than usual, which can get annoying at times as he tends to interrupt others; he doesn’t usually do this as he’s well-mannered. The only problem I am encountering now is that he cannot take the taste; he almost vomits every time he takes it.

  21. I’m a 47 year old that takes Quillivant XR. I also have aggression issues that go along with my AD/HD. This medication works well for me. The first few days it caused a little anxiety but other than that I’ve had no problems.

  22. My son just started on Quillivant XR and I too am having great difficulty because he doesn’t like the taste. I currently mixing it with orange juice, but he still gives me a hard time and he is only four years old. My son is also quite chatty after taking this medication, but I’m not seeing that much of a difference in his behavior just yet.

  23. My7 year old has been on Quillivant for over 1 year. We had to start him on medication at the beginning of kindergarten because of his behavior. All the other kids were progressing and he was getting worse. It takes about 45 minutes to take effect. We give him 7.5 ml in the morning and school gives him another 3 ml at noon. We’re lucky to get about 6 hours of effect. The pediatrician says this is because of his high metabolism. We really don’t have many side effects but can sure tell when it’s wearing off

  24. My son was diagnosed with ADHD at 6 years old. I had him on Quillivant XR for 3 full months. He did really great on it as far as staying on task and focusing during school hours. Administered daily at 7am and it tapered off around 3-4pm. The rebound of energy was a lot and he didn’t tire until 9:30pm. Side effects for him was appetite suppression during the day, but he made up for it at around 5-6pm. On the weekends I had to schedule outings, otherwise he’d want to focus on his iPad through out the day. His anger subsided at school while on this medication, but his anger stemmed from frustration on not being able to focus and grasp what the other kids where grasping. He did exhibit bouts of emotions like crying about sad situations from either deaths in kid movies or something he heard on the news. (I really wish Disney would stop allowing parents to die in their movies). The last two weeks, on the 3rd month, he started to have vocal tics and not being able to sleep at night. So the pediatrician was concerned about the vocal tics and waking up in middle of night and switched him to Vyvanse. Lets see where that takes us.

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