ADHD Home > Ritalin and Depression
Ritalin is also sometimes used to treat depression. Although not approved for this use, the drug can help to rapidly improve associated symptoms. Using Ritalin in this fashion is considered an "off-label use." Off-label is when a prescription medicine is used to treat a disease or condition for which the drug has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Although the FDA regulates how a medication can be advertised or promoted by the manufacturer, these regulations do not restrict a doctor's ability to prescribe medications in an off-label fashion: for different conditions, in different doses, or for different lengths of time. Your healthcare provider may prescribe a medicine for off-label use when he or she feels that it is appropriate for your situation.
While off-label uses for the treatment of many medical conditions are common, you should feel comfortable about asking your doctor if he or she is using a medication or combination of medications in a manner that is not approved by the FDA.
Even though Ritalin is sometimes used to treat depression, the condition has also been reported as a possible side effect of the medication. Therefore, it is important for people taking Ritalin (and their family members) to know the signs and symptoms of depression. If you notice any of these symptoms in either you or your child, or if something "just does not seem right," you should talk to your healthcare provider right away. He or she will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend treatment options.
(Click Depression Treatment for more information on the treatment of depression.)