ADHD Home > Ritalin

Ritalin is prescribed to treat both attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. By affecting certain chemicals in the brain to produce a calming effect, the medication is effective in treating ADHD. It can also work as a stimulant to help people with narcolepsy stay awake during the day and be more alert. Ritalin comes in tablet form, and is typically taken two to three times a day.

What Is Ritalin?

Ritalin® (methylphenidate hydrochloride) is a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also used to treat narcolepsy.
Because it is a stimulant and is commonly abused, there are special rules for prescribing the medication (see Ritalin Abuse and Ritalin: A Controlled Substance for more information).

Who Makes Ritalin?

It is manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Generic Ritalin is made by several different manufacturers.

What Is It Used For?

As mentioned above, Ritalin is licensed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD for short. In addition to hyperactivity (having trouble sitting still), people with ADHD also have problems paying attention, focusing, and controlling their behavior. While most people think of ADHD as a problem in children, it can also occur in adults (see Adult ADHD). However, Ritalin is not approved to treat ADHD in adults (see Ritalin for Adults).
The medication is also licensed for the treatment of narcolepsy. This is a condition that involves falling asleep uncontrollably and at unusual times. People who have narcolepsy often appear paralyzed when they are asleep and have hallucinations when falling asleep. These people also often fall asleep several times during the day.
(Click What Is Ritalin Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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