Ritalin is a prescription central nervous system stimulant available in 5, 10, and 20 milligram tablets. Ritalin is most commonly used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) but is also occasionally prescribed to treat narcolepsy, which is a condition that causes uncontrollable periods of daytime sleep.

Ritalin and ADHD

Ritalin is most widely known for treating ADHD, a condition in which a person has trouble paying attention and focusing on tasks. Ritalin relieves ADHD symptoms by reducing impulsive behavior, and facilitating concentration on work and other tasks. Adults who have ADHD often report that Ritalin increases their ability to organize their lives.

While there is no cure for ADHD, symptoms can be diminished with ADHD treatment. ADHD treatment usually requires a combination of counseling and ADHD medication, such as Ritalin, Concerta, or Adderall. It is unclear what causes ADHD and there is no single diagnostic test. However, without treatment, ADHD can cause problems at home, school, work, and with relationships.

Common Ritalin Side Effects

Like other stimulants used to treat ADHD, Ritalin has effects similar to but less potent than amphetamines and more potent than caffeine. The most common side effects associated with taking ADHD medications, such as Ritalin, are:

  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • stomach pain
  • trouble sleeping

Ritalin Serious Side Effects

In addition to the side effects listed above, Ritalin and other ADHD medications have been linked to more serious side effects. To begin with, Ritalin has a high potential for abuse due to the stimulant effects it produces including appetite suppression, wakefulness, euphoria, and increased focus and attentiveness. Moreover, Ritalin can cause physical chemical dependency, making it difficult to stop taking the medication after extended use without experiencing adverse withdrawal symptoms.

According to reports from the FDA, Ritalin has also been associated with serious side effects that could result in sudden death. In fact, several adults and children have already died after taking the ADHD drug. While a definitive link between these deaths and Ritalin has not been established, people with preexisting heart conditions generally should not take Ritalin. Ritalin side effects that can cause sudden death include:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure

Contact us today if you have been injured by an ADHD medication, such as Concerta, Ritalin, or Adderall. 

Published November 17, 2011 by