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Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Ritalin, Ritalin LA, Ritalin SR, Medikinet MR, Concerta ER

Methylphenidate - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Methylphenidate cause?

Common side effects include:

  • Stomach discomfort e.g. stomach pain, nausea, vomiting
    • Take it after food to minimise these side effects
  • Dry mouth
  • Mild headache, body ache
  • Nervousness, not being able to sleep
    • Avoid taking the medication too late in the day as it may keep you awake
  • Dizzy or lightheadedness
    • Stand up slowly from a lying position
  • Loss of appetite - weight loss may occur during the first few months of treatment
Most of these side effects will get better or go away as your body gets used to the medication.

Inform your doctor if the side effects above become severe and bothersome.

Very rarely, this medication may cause

  • Fast or irrgular heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Uncontrolled speech and/or tocs (uncontrolled and repeated body movements)
  • Seizures, confusion
  • Changes in eyesight e.g. blurred vision
  • Prolonged and/or painful erections (for males) lasting up to 4 hours and beyond
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • New or worsening signs of delusions (false beliefs), hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not real) or mania (abnormally high or excited mood)

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Methylphenidate , what precautions must I follow?

Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies currently or in the last two weeks.
  • You have a history of or current medical conditions such as blood vessel disease, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, mental health disorders, glaucoma, overactive thyroid, seizures (fits), hard-to-control or repeated twitching of any parts of the body or you repeat sounds and words (Tourette's syndrome or tics disorder)


In rare cases, this medication may cause the following changes to a person's mental condition, especially in the first few weeks of treatment or during dose changes:

  • Worsening agitation, restlessness, violent behaviour, or
  • New or worsening thoughts of harming yourself or ending your life
  • Other changes in mood or behaviour

Please inform your doctor as soon as possible, or for your family or caregiver to inform your doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.

Do not stop taking this medication on your own without discussing with your doctor.

It is important to note that your doctor has prescribed this medication as he/she feels you will benefit more from taking this medication over the possible risks that it may cause, which have a low chance of occurring, and most people take this medication without any of such problems.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Methylphenidate ?

​Avoid taking alcohol when you are taking this medication as alcohol may interact with your medication and increase the risk of side effects.

Methylphenidate - Additional Information

  • Updated on 7/31/2022 12:00:00 AM
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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