Concerta is a CNS stimulant that is used to assist in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD. This medication will not cure ADHD, but it can help make the symptoms less bothersome so the patient can function more effectively on a day to day basis. Though side effects to this medication are not usually dangerous or life threatening, they are quite common, so you should work closely with your doctor to monitor your dosage. This will help minimalize your risk of developing a negative reaction to the medication.
Indications and Usage
Concerta is the brand name for the stimulant methylphenidate HCI. The drug is given in extended release tablets that help patients manage their ADHD symptoms more effectively. Tablets are taken once a day with a full beverage. You can take Concerta with or without food. You should not crush, chew or split Concerta tablets when taking your dose. Concerta may be used alongside other methylphenidate medications if your doctor deems this necessary. The doses of each of these medications will need to be adjusted to compensate for these changes.
Concerta will affect your ability to concentrate and may change your reaction time. Until you know how your body will react to this medication you should not drive, operate any machinery that could be hazardous or perform any tasks that will require your full attention in order to be done safely and effectively. Keep an open communication with your doctor about how Concerta is affecting you so that you can work together to adjust your doses as necessary.
This medication is intended for those aged 7 or older that have shown intense symptoms of ADHD for a number of months. If your child has not shown multiple symptoms of this disorder on a regular basis for at least 6 months, then you should not start them on a Concerta regimen. Patients who appear to be reacting to an environmental stimulus which is contributing to their ADHD symptoms are not to be treated with Concerta, but may see better results from psychosocial therapy. Talk with your doctor about these stimulants or your treatment options before committing to your prescription or starting your child on any medication.
The recommended dose for adults using Concerta begins at 10 mg per day or 36 mg per day depending on the severity of the symptoms. Doses should not exceed 72 mg per day for adolescents or adults under the age of 65. Children using Concerta who have never used a methylphenidate product before are typically started on 18 mg daily, which can be increased in weekly intervals to 54 mg per day as necessary. Doses will be increased based on how the body reacts to the mediation and the severity of the symptoms the patient shows. Children under 6 should not use Concerta due to the increased risk of side effects. Similarly, the safety of prescribing Concerta to patients over the age of 65 has not been established, so this age group should use extreme caution.
Concerta is known to raise blood pressure in some patients so those with high blood pressure or a cardiovascular disorder may not be able to take this medication. Talk with your doctor about the potential risk before starting your prescription.
The safety of prescribing Concerta to nursing mothers has not yet been established. Use caution and work with your doctor to check for side effects in you or your infant when using this medication while breast feeding.
Concerta Side Effects
Side effects to Concerta are somewhat common, but not particularly dangerous. The most common side effects include loss of appetite, occurring in about 25 percent of users, headaches in about 22 percent, dry mouth in 14 percent, nausea in approximately 13 percent, tics in up to 9 percent, upper respiratory infections in about 8 percent and abdominal pain in up to 7 percent of users. These side effects usually decrease once the body has gotten used to the medication. If symptoms persist, talk to your doctor about whether or not your dose needs to be adjusted.
Less common side effects to Concerta include dizziness, accidental injury, vomiting, cough, sore throat, fever, painful menstrual periods, shakiness, runny nose or diarrhea. These side effects should be reported to your doctor to help ensure that you are not suffering from a more serious reaction to the medication. If these side effects are making it difficult for you to function, then your doctor may adjust your medication to help decrease your discomfort.
In less than one percent of the population, a negative reaction to Concerta has occurred. If you begin to experience suicidal thoughts, confusion, anxiety, chest pain, rapid heart rate, depression, shortness of breath, behavior that is out of character or excessively aggressive, hallucinations, fainting, or uncontrolled movements of the body, contact help right away. If your side effects are affecting your ability to rationalize or make you feel as though you will lose consciousness, contact emergency medical services immediately.
If you begin to experience unexplained rash, hives, itching, wheezing or unexplained swelling contact poison control and emergency medical services as soon as possible. You may be suffering from an allergic reaction to Concerta which could be dangerous. These and the symptoms listed above are more common in children and those over the age of 65, so watch these age groups more closely for a negative reaction to their medication. This is especially relevant for those who have never been treated with methylphenidate before.
In some cases Concerta may contribute to temporary slowing of growth in children. Patients who have suffered from this effect have managed to grow to their normal size in time, but you may need to adjust your child's dose to help eliminate this risk. Talk with your doctor about whether or not your child may be at risk for slowing growth and what you can do to help prevent this side effect.
Patients with a history of abusing their medication, drug dependence or alcoholism may not be able to take Concerta. This drug has a history of causing dependency behavior and may be abused by some patients, or used recreationally. Keep this medication in a safe place and do not share your prescription with others. If you believe you are becoming dependent on your medication or you have noticed dependency symptoms in someone you know, contact your doctor about advice on creating a step-down program that can help wean the mediation out of the patient's system safely.
Due to its impact on blood pressure, Concerta should not be used alongside vasoperessors without careful supervision. Use of Concerta with anticoagulants, anticonvulsants and certain antidepressants can also cause an adverse reaction. Tell your doctor about any additional cold or allergy medications you might be taking, especially if they contain decongestants. These medications can increase the effects of Concerta to a point which may be unsafe in some patients.