Does Ritalin Expire?
Ritalin, like most prescription medications, has an expiration date. Taking it after that date can be risky and lead to the drug not being as effective as it once was.
Ritalin is the brand name for methylphenidate, a central nervous system stimulant medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.
It works by increasing the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain similar to other ADHD meds like Ritalin and Vyvanse.
Ritalin is also classified as a schedule II controlled substance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means it has a high potential for abuse and can lead to psychological and physical dependence.
Taking Ritalin After The Expiration Date
Taking Ritalin after the expiration date is not recommended. The expiration date is there for a reason. It’s put there by drug manufacturers to tell you the last day they can guarantee the full potency and safety of the medication.
Taking expired Ritalin can be risky and even harm your health. The medication can be less effective, making the symptoms of ADHD or narcolepsy come back or increase in intensity. This is especially the case if the active ingredient, methylphenidate hydrochloride, has decreased in potency.
Studies have shown that some medications are still effective after the expiry date but knowing that for sure is almost impossible. It’s better to go by the expiry date and know what you’re taking is effective and active.
Shelf Life Of Ritalin
Ritalin has a shelf life of approximately two years, but you should always look at the bottle or package your prescription comes in for the exact day of expiration.
What Is The Best Way To Store Ritalin?
Storing Ritalin correctly can ensure your medication lasts until the drug expiration date. Proper storage includes keeping it at room temperature in a dry place. This means anywhere from 59 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
It should also be kept in a relatively dark place away from light.
A medicine cabinet is preferred but anywhere that’s dark, away from children, and not too hot or too cold should be fine.
What To Do With Expired Ritalin
If you have any expired Ritalin or any other prescription drugs, there are quite a few places that take expired medication. There are drug take-back programs and even containers at pharmacies where you can drop off expired drugs.
If those aren’t available, you can mix the expired medicine with dirt or kitty litter and then seal it in a container and throw it away. Some prescription medicines can be flushed down the toilet, but ADHD medication is not one of them.
Side Effects Of Ritalin
Whether expired or not, if you’re taking Ritalin, there are some side effects you should look out for. Some are mild while others can be more serious. Some of the most common side effects include:
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- abdominal pain
- increased heart rate
- increase in blood pressure
- dry mouth
Drug Interactions With Ritalin
There are also certain drugs that shouldn’t be mixed with Ritalin as they can cause serious medical issues. Some of the drugs you shouldn’t take with Ritalin include:
- MAO inhibitors
- medications containing dexmethylphenidate
- amphetamines like Adderall
- blood thinners
- heartburn and high blood pressure medications
- medications for seizures
- some over-the-counter cough and cold medications
- certain vitamins and supplements
If you are taking any of these drugs, it’s important to let your healthcare professional know before they prescribe Ritalin.
If you or a loved one struggles with stimulant drug use or other mental health issues, please call our helpline today.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.