Adults with narcolepsy typically start with 20 mg to 30 mg of Ritalin a day, divided into two or three doses. For children ages six and over who are receiving ADHD treatment, dosing guidelines call for 5 mg, taken twice a day. If needed, the dosage of Ritalin for both conditions can be increased up to a maximum of 60 mg a day.
The dose of Ritalin® (methylphenidate hydrochloride) your healthcare provider prescribes will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
- Your age
- Other narcolepsy or ADHD medications you may have tried
- Other medical conditions you may have
- Other medications you may be taking.
As is always the case, do not adjust your dosage unless your healthcare provider specifically tells you to do so.
For children age six and over, Ritalin should be started at 5 mg twice daily (before breakfast and lunch). If necessary, your child's healthcare provider may slowly increase the dosage up to Ritalin 60 mg per day.
For adults with narcolepsy, the total dosage of Ritalin per day is usually 20 mg to 30 mg (divided into two or three doses). Some people may need less Ritalin, while others may need as much as 60 mg per day.
Considerations for people taking Ritalin include the following:
- For people who have trouble sleeping, taking the last Ritalin dose of the day before 6 p.m. may be helpful. In general, for people taking the drug twice a day, the best times to take it in order to avoid insomnia are before breakfast and lunch.
- If you do not take your Ritalin as scheduled, take your missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed one and continue with your regular schedule. Taking a dose after 6 p.m. may cause you to have trouble sleeping. Do not take a double dosage.
- The medication can be taken with or without food, although it is usually taken 30 to 45 minutes before meals.
- For your Ritalin dose to work properly, you have to take it as prescribed. The drug will not work if you take it differently than how your healthcare provider recommends.
- If you are unsure about anything related to Ritalin or your dosage of Ritalin, talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. Do not stop taking the medication without first discussing it with your healthcare provider.