Concerta is a central nervous system stimulant used to treat the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Concerta's main ingredient is methylphenidate , better known under the brand name Ritalin.
Methylphenidate treats ADHD by inhibiting the reuptake of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. It increases neurotransmitter levels, increasing activity in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain responsible for thinking, analyzing thoughts, and regulating behavior .
Concerta is a controlled-release tablet that provides a constant dose of methylphenidate throughout the day .
Concerta was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000 as the first ADHD medication to be taken once a day. It is approved for use in children over the age of 6 and adults under the age of 65.
In its traditional form, methylphenidate has been shown to be effective in managing ADHD symptoms, such as difficulty sitting, attention problems, and length of tasks. Research shows that methylphenidate also improves teacher-reported fidgeting, interruptions, and finger tapping, and improves homework behavior, compliance, and academic performance in hyperactive children.
The downside to methylphenidate is that it is short-lived, which means that it works quickly and requires multiple doses per day. In children, for example, this means taking the medicine in the morning, again at lunchtime, and sometimes another dose after school.
Concerta, on the other hand, requires only one dose a day and lasts for 10 to 12 hours.
Concerta, available by prescription, is the first line of treatment for ADHD. Some patients may use other medications before Concerta is prescribed, although health professionals may prescribe it as the first drug they try.
Concerta is sometimes prescribed by a pediatrician for children, although many patients are first seen by a psychiatrist or neurodevelopmental pediatrician to confirm a diagnosis of ADHD. As part of the evaluation, your child's school may be asked to complete a student behavior evaluation questionnaire prior to treatment. Another screening questionnaire may be needed after a child has been taking medications for a while to determine if they are effective at the current dose.
In adults with ADHD, Concerta is often prescribed by a psychiatrist or neurologist, although some primary care providers can safely prescribe ADHD medication with a documented diagnosis from a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist, or clinical social worker.
Precautions and contraindications.
Do not take Concerta if you have a sensitivity or allergic reaction to methylphenidate.
Central nervous system stimulants such as Concerta should not be used in people with structural heart abnormalities or other serious heart problems, as serious cardiovascular events and sudden death have been reported. All patients should be monitored for changes in heart rate and blood pressure. It is also contraindicated in people with glaucoma .
Stimulant use can cause adverse mental symptoms, including psychotic or manic symptoms, in people with or without a history of mental illness. Patients should be screened for bipolar disorder before being diagnosed with a stimulant.
Concerta should be used with caution in patients with high levels of anxiety, tension, and agitation, as the drug can aggravate these symptoms. People with a history of drug addiction or alcoholism should be careful when taking Concerta, as psychological dependence can occur.
Concert should also be used with caution in people with a family history or a diagnosis of tics or Tourette syndrome .
Concerta comes in 18, 27, 36, and 54 mg tablets . The maximum dose is 72 mg, adolescents and older adults can be prescribed two 36 mg tablets per day.
When switching from a short-acting version of methylphenidate like Ritalin to Concerta, the starting dose is usually the closest to the total daily dose. For example, a patient taking 5 mg of methylphenidate three times a day should probably start Concerta 18 mg .
How to take and store
Concerta should be taken in the morning with or without food. Do not break, crush or chew the tablet as it is coated for an extended release.
Concerta is a controlled substance and should be stored at room temperature, out of the reach of children. Stimulants like Concerta are highly regulated in many states. You may need a new prescription from your healthcare provider for each refill, and you may be asked to provide a photo ID when you get it at the pharmacy.
The most common side effects of Concerta are:
- Headache (14%)
- Upper respiratory tract infection (8%)
- Abdominal pain (7%)
- Vomiting (4%)
- Loss of appetite (4%)
- Insomnia (4%)
- Increased cough (4%)
- Pharyngitis (4%)
- Sinusitis (3%)
- Dizziness (2% )
Stimulants like Concerta can reduce appetite and slow growth. Children taking stimulants such as Concerta should be monitored for appropriate height and weight.
Warnings and interactions
Concerta should not be taken with MAO inhibitors (medicines used to treat depression and anxiety); Patients should wait at least two weeks after stopping MAOIs (as recommended by a doctor) before taking Concerta.
If you or your child have serious side effects from Concerta, a lower dose or a change to another medicine may be required. But it is important to check with your doctor before making any changes.
Abruptly stopping the Concert drug after taking a higher dose for a long period of time can cause withdrawal symptoms and should be monitored by a doctor.