Ritalin and Depression
During clinical studies, a number of side effects were reported with Ritalin, and depression was one of them. However, Ritalin is also sometimes used in an off-label fashion to treat the condition. Because of this, it is difficult to say with certainty if there is a link between Ritalin and depression. If you are taking the drug and symptoms of depression occur, notify your healthcare provider immediately.
Several side effects are possible when taking Ritalin® (methylphenidate hydrochloride), and depression is one of the side effects reported in clinical studies. Interestingly, Ritalin is also sometimes used to help treat depression.
Before medicines are approved, they must go through several clinical studies in which thousands of 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 people taking Ritalin, 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 the drug to experience depression. Depression can also be a side effect of Ritalin withdrawal.