Dangers of Ritalin
Although most people tolerate Ritalin® (methylphenidate hydrochloride) well, it is not free of side effects and other potentially serious problems. Some of the most common side effects of Ritalin include weight loss, headaches, and insomnia. In most cases, side effects of Ritalin are typically minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. However, there are also potentially serious side effects of Ritalin that require immediate medical care, such as chest pain, seizures, and hallucinations.
Other dangers of Ritalin can include abusing the medication. As a stimulant, Ritalin can be habit-forming when used in higher doses than recommended or for extended periods of time. Stimulants such as Ritalin can increase alertness, attention, and energy, which are accompanied by increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. The consequences of Ritalin abuse can be extremely dangerous. Taking high doses of a stimulant can result in an irregular heartbeat, dangerously high body temperatures, and/or the potential for cardiovascular failure or seizures.
Ritalin should not be mixed with antidepressants or over-the-counter common cold medicine containing decongestants. Antidepressants may enhance the effects of Ritalin, and taking Ritalin with decongestants may cause blood pressure to become dangerously high or lead to irregular heart rhythms.
(Click Ritalin Abuse and Ritalin Side Effects for more detail on other possible dangers of Ritalin, including information on possible side effects, when to notify your healthcare provider for help, and potentially life-threatening consequences of abusing this medication.)