ADHD Home > Methylphenidate Extended Release

How Does Methylphenidate Extended Release Work?

Methylphenidate extended release is a stimulant, although it can have effects that are opposite from what would be expected of a stimulant. While stimulants (like caffeine) can cause hyperactivity, methylphenidate extended release has a calming effect when used in the doses for ADHD. While the exact way methylphenidate extended release produces a calming effect is not known, it is known that the medication affects certain chemicals in the brain (see Methylphenidate and D2 Receptors).
 
For people with narcolepsy, methylphenidate extended release acts as a stimulant. This helps people to be alert and to stay awake during the day.
 
Methylphenidate extended release is a long-acting form of methylphenidate. All of the methylphenidate extended release products are taken just once a day, although there are differences in how long they last.
 

When and How to Take Methylphenidate Extended Release

Some general considerations for when and how to take methylphenidate extended release include:
 
  • Methylphenidate extended release comes in tablet, capsule, or liquid form, depending on the particular product. It is usually taken by mouth once daily in the morning (taking it later may cause insomnia).
     
  • Metadate ER, Metadate CD, and Ritalin SR should be taken before breakfast. Concerta, Quillivant XR, and Ritalin LA can be taken either before breakfast or with breakfast.
 
  • Quillivant XR should be shaken well for at least 10 seconds before each use. This is to ensure the medication is evenly mixed.
 
  • Methylphenidate extended release tablets and capsules must be swallowed whole. Do not chew, crush, or break the tablets or capsules.
     
  • However, for people that have difficultly swallowing, Ritalin LA and Metadate CD capsules may be opened and the beads can be sprinkled on a spoonful of applesauce. The applesauce should be eaten right away and should not be chewed. The applesauce should not be warm, because this may affect the delayed release beads. The dose should be followed by a glass of water or another beverage.
     
  • For methylphenidate extended release to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. The medication will not work if you stop taking it.
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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