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What is Concerta® Medication?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Concerta® medication is a brand name stimulant used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This medication is available by prescription only, and it is intended to be used as part of a therapeutic regimen which includes counseling and support at home and at school. While this drug is often used in children, it is also taken by adults who suffer from ADHD and ADD.

This drug is based on methylphenidate, the same chemical compound used in the popular medication Ritalin®. Concerta® medication is a time release drug, which allows people to take a single dose at the start of the day, rather than having to take several pills throughout the day to control ADD or ADHD. It is similar to Ritalin LA®, another extended-release form of methylphenidate, but the formulation is slightly different, with a patent which is scheduled to expire in 2018.

Patients can take Concerta® medication in 18, 27, 36, and 54 milligram doses. When switching from an ADD or ADHD medication which requires taking multiple doses over the course of the day, patients finish a complete day on the old medication, and then take the Concerta® medication in the morning on the next day. The medication should not be crushed or broken, as this will disrupt the time release coating. Because dosages for these medications can be variable, people should be aware when starting Concerta® medication that it may be necessary to adjust the dosage up or down to achieve the desired effects, and if the medication does not work immediately, this does not mean that it will not be effective for the patient.

Some side effects of Concerta® medication can include: headaches, abdominal pain, coughing, upper respiratory infections, weight loss, dizziness, insomnia, vomiting, nausea, sinus infections, and loss of appetite. In addition to being used in the treatment of ADD and ADHD, this drug may also be prescribed for off-label uses. If a doctor is recommending the drug for an off-label use, patients should make sure to ask about why the drug is being prescribed and how it should be used. Patients should also report side effects to their doctors.

As with many prescription medications, Concerta® medication can conflict with other medications and it can be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions. Patients should always make sure that their doctors are aware of their complete medical history, as something which does not seem important to a patient may be very relevant to a prescribing doctor's decision. When patients collect their Concerta® medication at the pharmacy, they should also confirm that the medication which was dispensed matches the doctor's prescription.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Read more
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