Ritalin Drug Facts

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    How it Works

    • Ritalin increases dopamine levels in the brain to calm hyperactivity and enable the patient to better focus and pay attention.

    Side Effects

    • Nervousness and insomnia are the most common side effects. Other side effects include nausea, dizziness, headaches, abdominal pain, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, and loss of appetite.

    Warning

    • Those with known cardiac abnormalities, high blood pressure or heart conditions should not use stimulant medications like Ritalin. Patients who have bipolar disorder should not take stimulant medication because it can induce manic episodes.

    Considerations

    • Ritalin is used for children 6 years and older. Ritalin also is prescribed for adults.

    Long-term Use in Children

    • Long-term use of Ritalin in children can suppress their growth. It's important for your child's doctor to monitor her growth and other possible changes in mood or worsening of aggressive behavior that can be common with ADD or ADHD.

    Long-term Use in Adults

    • Long-term use of stimulant medications like Ritalin can cause unhealthy rises in blood pressure in adults. Those at risk for heart attack or stroke need to be monitored.

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