ADHD Home > Ritalin for Adults
The FDA has not approved Ritalin for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), although it has been approved to treat narcolepsy in adults. Although the drug is only licensed to treat children and teenagers with ADHD, healthcare providers may occasionally recommend it as an off-label ADHD medication. When prescribing stimulants such as Ritalin for adults, conditions such as high blood pressure or heart problems should be checked for first.
Ritalin® (methylphenidate hydrochloride) is a prescription medication licensed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and teenagers. The drug is not approved for use in adult ADHD, although it is approved to treat narcolepsy in adults.
Ritalin for ADHD treatment in adults has not been adequately studied, meaning that no large studies have been conducted on the benefits and risks of using it to treat adult ADHD. However, your healthcare provider may prescribe Ritalin for adult ADHD in certain situations. This is considered an "off-label" of the drug. Off-label is when a prescription medicine is used to treat a disease or condition (or in an age group) 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 the medication for off-label uses, such as 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 the medicine is appropriate for your situation.
Most stimulants (including Ritalin) should be used with caution in people with high blood pressure (hypertension) or heart problems (including heart disease and congestive heart failure). While this is not usually a concern for most children (who generally do not have high blood pressure or heart problems), it is definitely a cause for concern in adults. Be sure your healthcare provider checks you for high blood pressure or heart problems before you start Ritalin.