When Does Ritalin Start Working?

Ritalin® (methylphenidate hydrochloride) is a prescription drug licensed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as narcolepsy (a condition in which a person has trouble staying awake). It comes in tablet form, and is usually taken either two or three times a day.
There is no definitive answer as to when Ritalin starts working. This will depend on certain factors, such as your specific dosage, the condition being treated, and how closely you follow your healthcare provider's treatment recommendations. For example, ADHD is a complex condition, often requiring behavioral therapy in addition to medication, so it could take longer for Ritalin to start working in this situation, compared to someone who is taking it for narcolepsy.
The important thing is to be patient and give the medication a chance to work. If you are not experiencing the results you expect, however, or if you are experiencing bothersome side effects, do not be afraid to discuss dosing adjustments -- or even an alternate form of treatment -- with your healthcare provider.
(Click Ritalin Dosage to learn more about the various dosing guidelines for this medication, as well as tips that can help ensure a safe, effective treatment process.)
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