Ritalin Side Effects
Common side effects of Ritalin include headache, drowsiness, and nervousness. Rare side effects include hair loss, anemia, or changes in liver function. While most side effects of this drug are considered mild and do not require medical attention, you should talk to your healthcare provider immediately if you experience chest pain, heart palpitations, fainting, or hallucinations.
As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Ritalin® (methylphenidate hydrochloride). However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor, meaning they require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Ritalin. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Ritalin side effects with you.)
Ritalin has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials, with many people having been evaluated. In these studies, side effects occurring in a group of people taking the drug are documented and compared to side effects that occurred in a similar group of people not taking the medicine. 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.
Based on these studies, the most common Ritalin side effects include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
- Weight loss (see Ritalin and Weight Loss).
Ritalin can also temporarily stunt the growth of children. This slowing down of growth is usually small (less than an inch and less than two pounds), and children usually catch up to their normal growth rate with time.
(Click Long-Term Side Effects of Ritalin for more information on possible long-term side effects of the drug.)