Quillivant XR: ADHD Medication FAQ

Quillivant XR is a liquid, extended-release ADHD stimulant medication that was especially designed for children who have a tough time swallowing pills. Learn more about side effects, dosages, warnings, and more here.

Boy with ADHD holdng liquid medication in hand while doctor stands near by with bottle

What is Quillivant XR?

Quillivant XR is a central nervous system stimulant approved by the FDA for the treatment of attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) in children ages 6-12, adolescents, and adults. It is the only liquid, extended-release methylphenidate product available. It is especially useful for the one-third of children who can’t swallow pills and for adults who need very low doses of methylphenidate medication. Quillivant XR became available in January 2013.

Quillivant XR may improve focus, and decrease impulsivity and hyperactive behavior, two hallmark symptoms in some patients with the condition. It contains the same active ingredient as medications like Ritalin and Daytrana.

Read the full Quillivant XR medication overview and patient reviews here.

How is Quillivant XR taken?

Quillivant XR is a banana-flavored liquid formulation that slowly releases methylphenidate (the molecule found in Ritalin and Concerta). According to the drug’s manufacturer, Quillivant XR works in 45 minutes and slowly keeps working for up to 12 hours.*

The recommended starting dose of Quillivant XR for patients 6 years and above is 20mg once daily in the morning. The dose may be titrated weekly in increments of 10mg to 20mg. Daily doses above 60mg have not been studied and are not recommended. The medication is taken orally with a plastic syringe packaged with the medication. Shake the bottle well for at least 10 seconds, and then measure the medicine with the included syringe.

[Free Download: The Ultimate Guide to ADHD Medications]

Why would someone take Quillivant XR instead of another methylphenidate like Ritalin?

All side effects of stimulant medications occur when the medications are either entering the body or leaving the body at the end of the dose. The slower that blood levels change, the less likely that side effects will occur. People may prefer extended-release formulations, such as Quillivant XR, because they are smoother (better tolerated). Quillivant XR may be preferred for children who can’t swallow pills and for adults who need very low doses of methylphenidate medication.

Who should avoid Quillivant XR?

People with mild cases of hypertension should avoid Quillivant XR use until high blood pressure is well controlled. People with more serious heart conditions should consult their doctor, and perhaps a cardiologist, before starting Quillivant XR. Stimulant medications can trigger mania in people with bipolar disorder. People with a history of drug abuse should use extreme caution when taking this medication.

What are the side effects of Quillivant XR?

The most common side effects of Quillivant XR include decreased appetite, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, abdominal pain, weight loss, anxiety, dizziness, irritability, mood swings, blurred vision,  affect lability, fast heartbeat, increased sweating, and increased blood pressure.

[The 5 Most Common Med Side Effects — and Their Fixes]

Is Quillivant XR addictive?

Quillivant XR has a high potential for misuse, abuse, and addiction, especially among people who do not have ADHD.

Quillivant XR is a “Schedule II Stimulant.” What does that mean?

“Schedule II” is the classification used by the Drug Enforcement Agency to indicate drugs with a high potential for abuse. Other Schedule II drugs include the opiate painkillers and cocaine. The ADHD stimulants, amphetamine and methylphenidate, originally came on the market as over-the-counter decongestants, becoming prescription drugs in 1959. They were classified as controlled or “scheduled” medications in 1978. CHADD has petitioned the DEA several times for these medications to be returned to the least restrictive category of Schedule IV, but their request has so far been denied.

Is Quillivant XR the right medication for my child?

The first step is to get an accurate diagnosis by a healthcare professional. Discuss your questions about medications with your physician, and come to a decision that works for you.

For more information about Quillivant XR, see the FDA’s Quillivant XR Medication Guide.

*In a clinical study, Quillivant XR was measured using the SKAMP-Combined score and found effective at 45 minutes, 2, 4 (primary endpoint), 8, 10, and 12 hours after taking. This study was performed in a laboratory classroom setting. At the end of each week, school teachers and raters used the SKAMP rating scale to evaluate the efficacy of Quillivant XR on changes in attention and behavior in children with ADHD aged 6 to 12 years.

More Information on Quillivant XR and Other ADHD Medications:

Quillivant XR: Full Medication Overview
Free Download: The Ultimate Guide to ADHD Medication
5 Rules for Treating Children with Stimulant Medications
Making the Switch: Trying a New ADHD Medication