Ritalin® (methylphenidate hydrochloride) is a drug licensed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD for short, in children. In addition to its use as an ADHD treatment, it is used to help adults with narcolepsy (a type of sleep disorder) stay awake and alert during the day.
There are three strengths of Ritalin tablets:
- 5 mg
- 10 mg
- 20 mg.
When used for ADHD, Ritalin should be started at 5 mg twice daily (taken before breakfast and lunch). If necessary, your child's healthcare provider may increase this amount up to 60 mg per day. For narcolepsy, the total daily dosage of Ritalin is usually 20 mg to 30 mg (divided into two or three doses). This amount may also need to be adjusted, based on how you respond to the medication.
(To learn more, click Ritalin Dosage. This article tells you what you need to know about the different strengths of Ritalin and offers helpful tips for getting the most out of each dose.)