ADHD Home > Ritalin LA and Depression

During clinical studies on Ritalin LA, depression was one of the reported side effects. Since it is a serious condition, notify your healthcare provider if you notice any symptoms of depression in you or your child. On the other hand, stimulants like Ritalin LA are sometimes used "off-label" to treat depression. The Ritalin LA manufacturer, however, warns against this, since the drug has not been studied for this use.

Ritalin LA and Depression: An Overview

Several side effects are possible for people taking Ritalin LA® (methylphenidate extended-release). Depression has been reported in clinical studies of methylphenidate (the active ingredient in Ritalin LA). However, medications like Ritalin LA are also sometimes used to help treat depression.

Ritalin LA and Depression: Understanding Clinical Studies

Before medicines are approved, they must go through several clinical studies in which people are given a particular medicine and compared to a group of people not given the medicine. In these studies, side effects are always documented. This way, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine. Side effects are then usually separated into those that occur in more than 1 percent of people (common side effects) and those that occur in less than 1 percent of people (rare side effects).
For Ritalin LA specifically, depression was not reported as a common side effect in short-term studies. For other forms of methylphenidate (which have been studied in larger groups of people), depression was a reported side effect (although the specific frequency was not reported). Based on this data, it is difficult to say how common it is for people taking Ritalin LA to experience depression.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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