Ritalin Vs. Concerta | Similarities & Differences
Ritalin (the brand name for methylphenidate hydrochloride) and Concerta (the brand name for methylphenidate extended-release) are prescription stimulant medications. Both forms of methylphenidate are similar but also have key differences as well.
Similarities Between Ritalin & Concerta
Ritalin and Concerta are both brand names for methylphenidate, a stimulant prescription drug. Ritalin and Concerta are also both useful in the treatment of symptoms brought on by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Other similarities between Ritalin and Concerta include:
In addition to treating the symptoms of ADHD such as inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, Ritalin and Concerta produce similar side effects when used. For instance, Ritalin and Concerta use may lead to side effects such as:
- dry mouth
- loss of appetite
- sleep problems
Many side effects of Concerta and Ritalin abuse may overlap, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Prescription stimulant drug abuse may cause an accelerated heart rate, high blood pressure, and stress on the cardiovascular system.
Although effective at treating ADHD symptoms, Concerta and Ritalin can have drug interactions that occur when certain medications are combined. Adverse effects such as psychosis can occur in those who take antidepressants along with these ADHD medications.
Those taking methylphenidate should notify their healthcare provider if they:
- take any monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- have a history of Tourette’s Syndrome or tics in their family
- take any blood pressure medication
- take supplements or vitamins
- have a family history of heart problems
- take stimulants or amphetamines such as Adderall
Combining drugs can lead to a number of serious medical conditions, including an increased risk of overdose and other adverse health effects.
Drug Class & Control Schedule
Used primarily for ADHD treatment, Ritalin and Concerta are both central nervous system (CNS) prescription stimulant drugs known as methylphenidate.
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these medications are both schedule II substances by the Controlled Substance Act, which means they have a high potential for abuse.
Differences Between Ritalin & Concerta
Despite having many similarities considering they’re both methylphenidate, Concerta and Ritalin are also different in some ways. To begin with, Concerta isn’t used to treat narcolepsy while Ritalin is approved for treating the sleeping disorder.
Other differences include:
Formulations & Mechanism Of Action
Although both increase the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, Concerta is long-acting and provides an extended-release form of methylphenidate. Ritalin, however, is an immediate-release drug and therefore short-acting.
Unlike Concerta, Ritalin comes in various forms such as Ritalin LA and Ritalin SR. Ritalin SR is a sustained release version of Ritalin and the most similar to Concerta.
Ritalin is an immediate-release tablet while Ritalin LA is offered as an extended-release tablet. Those who cannot swallow long-release capsules such as Ritalin LA can remove the contents and take it with food.
Potential Drug Abuse
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), stimulant prescription drugs may be abused with the or performance enhancement.
Because of this, as well as the feelings of euphoria one experiences when taking one of these drugs, both Concerta and Ritalin have a high potential for abuse.
However, despite Concerta abuse and Ritalin abuse presenting similar side effects and dangers, those abusing Ritalin may be more severe. This is due to the fact that Concerta is an extended-release tablet while Ritalin is more of an immediate-release tablet.
If you or a loved one live with stimulant addiction or abuse, please contact us today to learn about our outpatient healthcare options.
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — Methylphenidate
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — Concerta
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — Medication Guide - Ritalin
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Stimulant ADHD Medications
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Methylphenidate
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Treatment of Stimulant Use Disorders
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.