ADHD Home > Ritalin LA Uses

How Does Ritalin LA Work?

Ritalin LA is a stimulant, although it has effects that are opposite from what would be expected of a stimulant. While stimulants (like caffeine) can cause hyperactivity, the drug has a calming effect in the doses used to treat ADHD. While it is not known exactly the medication achieves this, it is known that it affects certain chemicals in the brain (see Methylphenidate and D2 Receptors).
Ritalin LA capsules consist of tiny beads that contain the medication. Half of these are immediate-release beads, and the other half are delayed-release beads, which do not dissolve until they reach the small intestine (about four hours later). This allows the medication to be taken just once a day instead of twice a day.

Ritalin LA Uses in Young Children

Ritalin LA has not been approved for use in children less than six years of age.

Off-Label Ritalin LA Uses

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend Ritalin LA for treating something other than the condition discussed in this article. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, there are a few off-label Ritalin LA uses, such as:
  • Treating ADHD in teenagers or adults 
  • Treating narcolepsy (a condition that involves falling asleep uncontrollably at unusual times)
  • Helping with weight loss (see Ritalin LA and Weight Loss).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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