What Is Ritalin Prescribed For?

As a type of stimulant medication, Ritalin® (methylphenidate hydrochloride) is prescribed for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. However, it is not approved for use in children younger than six years old, and it is not approved for treating adult ADHD.
On occasion, healthcare providers may prescribe Ritalin for other, unapproved uses (these are called "off-label" uses). Some of these off-label uses include the treatment of:
Although Ritalin is a stimulant, it can have effects that are opposite from what would be expected of a stimulant. Stimulants (like caffeine) can cause hyperactivity; however, when used at the doses intended for ADHD, Ritalin usually has a calming effect.
When used for treating narcolepsy, this medication has a stimulating effect because it is taken in higher doses, which helps people stay awake during the day.
(Click What Is Ritalin Used For? for a more in-depth look at prescribed uses for this drug, including information on why Ritalin is useful for ADHD and narcolepsy.)
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