Ritalin LA is commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The medicine reduces hyperactivity and inattention in children with the condition by affecting chemicals in the brain to produce a calming effect. The drug comes in capsule form and releases half of the medication immediately and the other half about four hours later. Potential side effects of Ritalin LA include headache, insomnia, and loss of appetite.
What Is Ritalin LA?
Ritalin LA® (methylphenidate extended-release) is a prescription medication that is used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Ritalin LA capsules are specially designed to release half of the medication immediately and the second half after approximately four hours, allowing the medication to be taken just once a day.
Ritalin LA is a stimulant, although it has effects that are opposite from what would be expected of a stimulant. While stimulants (like caffeine) can cause hyperactivity, Ritalin LA has a calming effect. While it is not known exactly how the drug achieves this, it is known that the drug affects certain chemicals in the brain (see Methylphenidate and D2 Receptors).
Ritalin LA capsules consist of tiny beads that contain the medication. Half of these are immediate-release beads, and the other half are delayed-release beads, which do not dissolve until they reach the small intestine (about four hours later). This allows the medication to be taken just once a day (instead of twice a day).
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Ritalin LA [package insert]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation;2013 June.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed July 25, 2012.
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